Your Scandalous Ways

Written by Loretta Chase
Review by Margaret Barr

After her bitter and high-profile society divorce, Francesca Bonnard took revenge on her husband by making herself the most notorious and sought-after courtesan in all Europe, industriously collecting high profile lovers and costly jewelry. In Venice she encounters half-Italian James Cordier, notorious in his own right. Sparks of attraction fly and interest ignites—complications swiftly arise. James is a spy, traveling incognito and pursued by a wrathful and murderous female whose emerald necklace he took from her. Moreover, she is allied with Francesca’s evil ex-husband. Can the besotted European prince courting Francesca’s favors protect her from increasingly ruthless assassins as masterfully as the irresistible James? Succumbing to mutual passion, the courtesan and her inscrutable lover must battle their pasts as well as present threats, never entirely certain whether they fight on the same—or opposing—sides.

Chase has a gift for witty and naughty exchanges between her complicated protagonists, tossing in classical references. She exhibits a rich talent for depicting the Byronic debauchery and sensuality prevalent in 19th-century Venice. This latest offering ranks among her very best works, and seems likely to become a favorite with historical romance enthusiasts.