Thursday, September 19, 2019

Review and Q&A - - London's Late Night Scandal

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 . . .

My thoughts:

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 at 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'm looking forward to reading 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? 


  1. I would rather read a historical romance with a conceivable plot and smart characterization!

    1. I agree. :) I think many of us approach historical romance with high expectations, so developing strong smart characters is more important to me.

  2. I prefer a conceivable plot and good characterization. I loved history when I was in school and sometimes look things up when I run across an event mentioned in a book. If true events are used, I like for them to be used properly, unless the author has taken literary license to make her changes to that time period/event to fit her story and makes a note of that in the comments of the book. BTW, Annabelle is a new-to-me author. I'll be look up more about her and her books. Thanks for the review.

    1. Hello Karen! Thanks for checking out my q&a. I hope you find time on your list for London's Late Night Scandal. :)

  3. I also prefer to read a book with a conceivable plot and smart characterization, I'm looking forward to reading London's Late Night Scandal.

  4. I prefer a conceivable plot and characterization. I know it is fiction, but I still like that it could possibly have happened.

  5. I am not a stickler for absolute perfection. On the other hand, I do not want someone in a Regency novel to whip out their tablet to order from DoorDash.

    Ms Bryant is a new to me author.

    I love the sound of this story. I really like stories which are filled with real life like situations. I reckon that even in history there were people who had illness, or injuries which changed lives. But, I do like stories which make it appear that the past was a time of beauty and grace too. In other words, it should be like movie stars are photographed....with enough gauze to make things look a lot better than they are.

    1. I agree. Naturally, no one wants to read about the lack of plumbing or deoderant. ;) I strive to keep the historical aspects very accurate, although I may take some license with getting rid of the lady's maid so the heroine and hero can share a kiss or two.

  6. I prefer a story based in reality with a good plot, twists and turns, and complex characters that beg you to get to know them better. I prefer to escape into a historical reality. Humor and quirky situations certainly do not detract, they actually enhance a story. I am not a big fan of historical stories that are a bit far out enough to cause eye rolls. If I want that, I will go to fantasy or paranormal books . They don't claim to be based on reality and are free to do pretty much what they like.
    PJ, once again thank you for bringing a new-to-me author to my attention. It sounds like I will have a new author to look forward to reading.

    1. Hello Patricia. :) Thanks for checking out this q&a. I agree with you. I don't need an outrageous plot to draw me into a good story...I want relatable characters who struggle with their emotions and eventually find true love. I hope you'll give London's Late Night Scandal a chance.

  7. I like them based on reality. I want a good plot and smart characters. Any time you read a book you are escaping.

    1. Hi Pamela, That's so true. Reading is an escape and it should fulfill expectations with its believability. I respect the reader. No one wants to put a book down because it's so farfetched, it feels insulting. :)

  8. Wait, wait! A 4th book! I am so excited!!

  9. I prefer a conceivable plot and good characterization. I've always loved history when I was in school and reading historical romances reminds me of that love. Sometimes I'm even tempted to check for accuracy. I've heard about this book somewhere else and have added it to my must read list.

  10. I want a conceivable plot and good characters. I love reading about the historical aspects as well.

  11. I love the books Anabelle writes!


  12. definitely a conceivable plot! I love the machination of it all when they weave it all together.

  13. Most of the time I want to read the more realistic and accurate books, but sometimes the other books are more appealing