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A Most Scandalous Proposal – Ashlyn Macnamara

on March 3, 2013

Most Scandalous ProposalA Most Scandalous Proposal
Ashlyn Macnamara
Ballantine Books
2012, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Miss Julia St Claire and Miss Sophia St Claire have been groomed from birth to make the most advantageous matches they can. Their mother was jilted by an Earl and had to settle for someone out of the aristocracy and she’s fought ever since for her place in society. She’s determined that her daughters both make fabulous marriages to the highest born and wealthiest among the Ton. But for the last five years, Sophia has only had eyes for one man, who has barely acknowledged her existence. Now it seems he has become the Earl of Clivesden and he’s in the market for a wife. Sophia is beside herself until it seems that the new Earl is paying court to Julia!

Julia has absolutely no interest in the new Earl of Clivesden – she already abhors him for the way he has treated her infatuated sister and she has absolutely no interest whatsoever in becoming his countess. Her childhood friend, Benedict Revelstoke had already warned her that Clivesden was setting her in his sights and she’s doing the best she can to extricate herself from every situation concerning him but it isn’t easy when her mother is absolutely determined to see her daughter a Countess. When Sophia is inadvertently compromised and by another Earl no less, Sophia and Julia’s parents see opportunity… to have both their daughters married to Earls and well settled in society…even if both of them are unwilling to go into the matches being made for them!

Julia knows that she just cannot, cannot marry Clivesden. She goes to Benedict with a scandalous idea to do something that would ruin her in all good society for the rest of her life. But it would save her from something she could not tolerate and it actually just might give her, and Revelstoke, what they both desperately need.

I’ve been really interested in historical romances lately, every now and then I get on a big aristocracy kick and love reading these types of books set among the Ton. I’m not much of a girly girl so I doubt I’ve have done too well back in this time but there’s something about all the dresses and the balls and the men that’s simply fun to read.

Julia and Sophia have been groomed from birth to make the best possible match that they can. Their mother has used almost every penny that they have in order to give her daughters the best chance at an advantageous marriage. Unfortunately, it seems that she forgot to consult her daughters because neither of them are particularly interested in marrying men that might be titled, but that they don’t like. Sophia has been head over heels in love with a man who doesn’t treat her well but when he becomes the new Earl of Clivesden he begins paying court to Julia. Julia has absolutely no intentions of every marrying him and she struggles to keep her relationship with her sister and work out what to do when it seems that her parents are going to take her fate into their own hands and announced both their daughters engagements at the one function – Julia to the Earl of Clivesden and Sophia to the Earl of Highgate, a reclusive man who inadvertently compromised her and is now bent on doing the right thing.

The story of Sophia and the Earl of Highgate feels more like a companion plot to the one of Julia but I have to say, it’s the one that interested me the most in this novel. Julia was the sort of woman that, even for her time, you could see had no problem doing what was necessary to get what she wanted. She proved that when she put her plan to Ravelstoke in order to get herself out of the engagement to Clivesden that she did not consent to. Sophia however, was a different sort of character altogether and the way in which she and the Earl of Highgate met I found really interesting. They were caught together alone when Sophia was unwell, which in those days meant that her reputation was tarnished even though nothing had occurred. There were ominous circumstances surrounding the death of the Earl’s first wife and he’d lived a reclusive life ever since, rarely venturing into society. However he was a good man, older than Sophia and very kind, very sure of the sort of life he wanted. He proposed to her in order to save her reputation and to give her a future and the two of them both found themselves falling in love, despite the circumstances of their betrothal. I liked Highgate a lot and I really enjoyed all of the scenes with him and Sophia.

All in all this was a pretty fun read and I’d definitely read future books from the author.


Book #288 of 2012

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