London's Late Night Scandal
by Anabelle Bryant
Midnight Secrets - Book 3
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
In Anabelle Bryant’s novel of unexpected romance, a lord and lady learn that not all emotions can be expressed in the light of day . . .
Chief Officer of the Society for the Intellectually Advanced, Lord Matthew Strathmore, Earl of Whittingham, takes his position very seriously. Not only does it distract him from the painful aftermath of a gunshot wound to the leg, earned most honorably, it is important work. So he feels duty-bound to question esteemed scientist Lord Talbot about a suspect article. Matthew dashes from London to Oxfordshire, despite wretched weather that only exacerbates his injury, reminding him he is far from the dashing gentleman he once was . . .
Theodosia, Lord Talbot’s granddaughter, has inherited his gift for inquiry, enjoying her pursuits safely away from the artifice of London society. But her identity as the true author of Talbot’s article is about to be exposed. And if Matthew expects a dour bluestocking, surprises abound. Not only do Theodosia’s botanical concoctions soothe his leg, he’s clearly attracted by her delicate beauty. But dare she hope for more? It will take an urgent trip to London for both to discover how passion and lasting love can ignite under the cover of darkness . . .
Add another author to my auto-buy list. I thoroughly enjoyed this story by Anabelle Bryant and can't wait to dive into more of her books. Matthew and Theodosia are wonderfully complex characters, obviously made for one another. Bryant gives them intriguing layers, challenging obstacles, and heartrending baggage to overcome before skillfully guiding them to their happily ever after and I was with them every step of the way. I adored their banter, their intellect, and their slowly evolving passion. I appreciated the care and sensitivity the author used in depicting Theodosia's grandfather's debilitating disease while also showcasing the reality of the marked difference in how people react to those suffering from dementia and other similar conditions. There's one scene in particular where Matthew's behavior had me in tears - the good kind - and convinced me he was worthy of both Theodosia's love and mine.
Bryant's prose is beautiful and evocative, stealing my breath with its mental images and eliciting emotions with ease. Take this passage, during the time when Theodosia is fighting her deepening feelings for Matthew:
First her parents, and now Grandfather. She couldn't bear to fall in love and be broken again. Loneliness didn't hurt nearly as much if nothing was a risk.
Or this one, during a visit to the British museum:
Winter's distant sunlight poured through the high windows positioned near the crown molding. The noises surrounding them - discreet conversations and nearby footfalls - faded away. The moment became timeless, as if divinity entered the room, fragile and precious for its rarity.
Is it any wonder I can't wait to read more from this talented author?
London's Late Night Scandal is the third book in Bryant's Midnight Secrets series but stands on its own. Feel free to begin with Matthew and Theodosia's story. In the meantime, I'll be over in the corner, losing myself in the first two books of the series: London's Wicked Affair and London's Best Kept Secret. I can't wait!
Q&A with Anabelle Bryant
Hi Anabelle! It was such a delight to meet you at RWA this summer. Thanks for visiting with us today at The Romance Dish.
Your newest novel, London’s Late Night Scandal, will release next week and I’m so excited for everyone to have the opportunity to read it. Please tell our readers what they can expect from this third book in your Midnight Secrets series.
London’s Late Night Scandal is the story of a scholarly woman and a wounded earl who discover life together is the answer to all their heartache. Naturally, the course to this discovery is difficult, but while Theodosia and Matthew immediately realize their affinity for the sciences makes them uniquely similar, they fight their physical attraction until the heart wins out. This novel was my first with holiday elements and I believe the subtle touches of Christmas added another layer of romantic warmth. It can be read as a standalone novel.
I adored Theodosia and Matthew. Which of their scenes together did you have the most fun writing? Which was most difficult?
I enjoyed the snappy conversations between Theodosia and Matthew. Their growing relationship is revealed through the novel as their conversations become more meaningful and intimate. Creating the push and pull of their relationship and highlighting it through, not just their interactions with each other, but also their decisions and reflections was always important to me. I had a lot of fun writing the initial scenes when Matthew is pursuing Theodosia and she’d rather he left the estate and never returned. She chose her brain over her heart…but her heart never stood a chance.
It was difficult at times to write the scenes involving Theodosia’s grandfather’s condition. While I wanted to keep it factual, I strove for tenderness and I’m pleased with the result.
I enjoyed the scientific (medical, botanical, etc.) tidbits scattered throughout this book. What did you discover during your research for London’s Late Night Scandal that most fascinated you?
We have so many remedies and conveniences that we all take for granted. Something as simple as healing chapped lips was a great undertaking during the Regency era. While I researched botanical cures and herbology, I was surprised to read how many minor ailments people suffer with today, were prevalent in the early 1800s and just as much of a nuisance.
Your bio indicates that you’re an avid traveler. What place have you visited that most “speaks to” your soul? What location is at the top of your travel wish list?
I want to answer England, since I’ve visited twice and write about that time period but my heart’s connection is to Paris if I’m speaking from a traveler’s perspective. Something about Paris enchants me and I can’t wait to the next opportunity I have to visit.
I’ve never traveled to Greece and it’s at the top of my travel wish. Any location with a rich culture and history is an immediately temptation for me.
What’s next from Anabelle Bryant?
If you’ve read London’s Best Kept Secret, you’re acquainted with the Earl of Lindsey, a nobleman who is more rogue than titled gentleman. He’s a character who insisted on his own story so look for the fourth Midnight Secrets book in 2020.
Let’s do a fun five to help readers get to know you.
Title at the top of your books waiting to be read: The Secret History of Georgian London by Dan Cruickshank
Favorite fall dessert: Pumpkin pie with fresh whipped cream
Favorite subject to photograph: Interesting places, doors, windows
Favorite stress reliever: Quiet. I like to sit in a room with absolute quiet and just breathe.
Favorite French fries: LOL! It's true. I love French Fries. My favorite fries are from Little Mac's on the NJ boardwalk.
Thank you for visiting with us, Anabelle! Do you have anything else to add? Would you like to ask our readers a question?
Thanks so much for reading. I do have a question. I strive to write historical romance based in history and reality, but I often wonder if that matters to readers. Would you rather read a historical romance with a conceivable plot and smart characterization or an outlandish one that is pure escapism?
Oooh...that's an intriguing question. What say you, readers?
Oooh...that's an intriguing question. What say you, readers?