Lady Be Bad
By Megan Frampton
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Reviewed by Janga
Reviewed by Janga
Lady Eleanor Howlett is the eldest of the five daughters of the Duke of Marymount. Despite their high status, the Howlett family’s reputation is threatened by the scandal created by Della, ducal daughter #2, who ran off with the dance instructor hired to teach Eleanor and her sisters. The burden on Lady Eleanor to behave properly and marry well grows heavy indeed as her parents view her as the means of saving the family from disgrace. They have arranged her marriage to Bennett Raybourn, Lord Carson, eldest son of the Marquis of Wheatley. The marriage will be an exchange: Lord Carson needs the substantial dowry that comes with a daughter of the Duke of Marymount to shore up his family’s financial stability, and Lady Eleanor’s family needs the unblemished reputation of Lord Carson and his family to stave off social ruin. There is nothing wrong with Lord Carson. He is an estimable young man, pleasant, courteous, and correct. But Lady Eleanor finds him underwhelming, and she longs to be overwhelmed. Convinced that she herself is hopelessly average, she is saddened by the thought of an average life with an average spouse.
In a bookshop, Lady Eleanor collides with a nameless man who is overwhelming, intriguing, and decidedly improper—all the qualities that this duke’s daughter wants but believes she can never have. Shortly thereafter, she is formally introduced to the younger brother of her almost betrothed, Lord Alexander Raybourn. He is the man in the bookshop. Alexander is his brother’s opposite. There is nothing average about him, and there is little that is proper. Because several years earlier when Alexander gambled and lost an unentailed property and almost emptied the family’s coffers, his father sees him as worthless. Alexander vows to prove him right. He spends his time charming women, collecting erotic books which he delights in adding to the family library under his father’s unsuspecting nose, and thinking himself inferior to his competent brother. However, he and Bennett are close, and when Bennett, too busy with estate matters to spend time with his prospective bride, solicits Alexander’s help in getting to know Eleanor, Alexander cannot refuse.
Thrown into one another’s company, Alexander and Eleanor prove a perfect match, once they move beyond superficialities. He thinks she is beautiful—even when she wears the spectacles her mother forbids her to wear in public. He offers her the adventure and joy that she never expected to find. The attraction between only grows more potent. But everyone expects Eleanor to marry Lord Carson. Can these two who are meant to be find a way to defy convention and claim their happiness without hurting their families in the process?
I’m a fan of Megan Frampton’s witty humor. I loved her Dukes Behaving Badly series, and the new series promises to be just as delightful. The story had me from the first bookshop scene in the opening chapter. It combines physical humor with amusing dialogue, and the book just got better and better. Frampton not only makes her readers laugh, but she also makes them feel the darker emotions beneath the humor and leaves them with things to think about. Eleanor is truly a woman of her time. Eleanor’s conforming to her parents’ plans for her is more than her playing the good daughter. She also recognizes the effect her actions will have on the lives of her three younger sisters. I really enjoyed the sororal elements of this book: the various family roles, the strengthening bonds among the sisters, and their responses to Della. Equally interesting is the relationship between Alexander and Bennett and Alexander’s journey to self-discovery. Family dynamics generally are an essential part of the story, and yet that emphasis never detracts from the engaging, sigh-worthy romance. Alexander and Eleanor are so good together—funny and vulnerable, sweet and sexy, smart but without all the answers.
When I finish a book looking forward to a reread and eagerly anticipating the next book in the series I know I have another keeper in my hand. Such was definitely the case with Lady Be Bad. Megan Frampton has penned one of my favorite romances of the year. Lady Be Reckless, Olivia’s story, releases on February 27, 2018. I’ve already pre-ordered it, but Della’s story is the one for which I am most eager. Oh, yes, I am hooked on this series!