Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Review, Q&A, and Giveaway - - The Scoundrel's Daughter

The Scoundrel's Daughter
by Anne Gracie
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens - Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Alice, Lady Charlton, newly-widowed and eager to embrace a life free of her domineering husband  is devastated when a scoundrel appears, brandishing letters that could ruin her. To prevent their publication he wants Alice to find a noble husband—a lord!—for his daughter, Lucy.

Alice is forced to agree to his blackmail but when Lucy arrives, she has absolutely no interest in her father's scheme. A lord, she says, will only look down his nose at her—and she's having none of that!

Desperate to retrieve the letters, Alice enlists the aid of her handsome young nephew, Gerald, who in turn seeks the help of his former commanding officer, James, Lord Tarrant. James is soon beguiled by the marriage-averse lady and sets out to teach her about love.  Meanwhile, Gerald and Lucy strike sparks each time they meet.

PJ's Thoughts:

Overflowing with the wit, humor, passion, feel-good romance, and fully-dimensional characters for which Anne Gracie is known, The Scoundrel's Daughter launches Gracie's new series with a story that kept me fully entertained from start to finish.

Anne Gracie has a talent for creating characters that leap from the page and make me forget that they are actually fictional. I become attached to them, invested in their happiness. I feel their frustration, their pain, and their joy. Alice, the main female protagonist of this story is one such character. My heart hurt for all she had been through in her first marriage but I was so proud of her for the life she built following her husband's death. To open her heart again took tremendous courage. And she didn't only open it to James but also to Lucy, a young woman she had every reason to both dislike and distrust. Lucy is another character to whom life has not been kind. I really enjoyed the evolution of her character and loved the relationship that developed between these two women. 

James won my heart from the moment he went to fetch his daughters. And those girls. Oh my gosh, they had me cheering, crying, and snort laughing from the get-go. Little Debo, in particular, commanded every scene she was in. I can't be the only one who would love to see her as the heroine of her own story someday. It would have been easy to let the girls overshadow the romance aspect of the story but Gracie excels at giving them just enough time without allowing that to happen. While I loved seeing both Alice and Lucy bond with the girls, it was the adult relationship that formed between James and Alice, the care, patience, and passion he gave her when all she had ever known was pain and humiliation, that made my heart so happy.  

And then there was the secondary romance between Lucy and Gerald, Alice's nephew (the only member of her late husband's family who treats her well). Where the relationship between James and Alice was emotional and heart-tugging, Lucy and Gerald's was the polar opposite. It was obvious from their first hilariously exasperating encounter that these two were going to set off enough sparks to start a forest fire. Theirs is an enemies to lovers relationship with all the snappy dialog and sizzling chemistry that entails. I loved it!

Then there's the society villain, a woman who deserves a royal set-down if ever there was one. And how deliciously fun it was to watch it delivered! 

I've read The Scoundrel's Daughter twice and I'm already looking forward to visiting these characters again. Like many of Gracie's titles, it's a book destined for my comfort reads shelf. 


Q&A with Anne Gracie

Hi Anne! Welcome back to The Romance Dish! It’s always fun to celebrate the release of a new Gracie novel.

Thanks so much, PJ — I'm always very happy to visit. Thanks for inviting me.

The Scoundrel’s Daughter launches your Brides of Bellaire Gardens series. What should readers expect from this series?

The Brides of Bellaire Gardens is a series about women who live on Bellaire Gardens which is a large, (fictional) private garden square in London, only accessed by the residents' back gates. Each of the women is trying to live down her father's/mother's/family reputation and make a life on her own terms. And of course, each of them will eventually become a bride. (Photo of Bellaire Gardens inspiration below)

In The Scoundrel's Daughter, Alice, our main heroine—there are two—is a 38 year old widow, thankful to be released from an unhappy marriage and planning never to marry again. Our hero, James, Lord Tarrant has his work cut out to change her mind about that, but he's up to the challenge. Alice has also been blackmailed into bringing an 18 year old out into society — a girl she doesn't know and, in the beginning at least, doesn't like. There's also the scoundrelly blackmailer to be dealt with.

Will we see more of James and Alice, or other characters from The Scoundrel’s Daughter, in future books?

In the second book in the series, The Rake's Daughter (out next year), we do see some of the characters from The Scoundrel's Daughter — they meet up in their beautiful shared garden, of course, but Alice also takes the two sisters in the second book under her wing and chaperones them on occasion.

I enjoyed the additional romance in The Scoundrel’s Daughter. Will a secondary romance be included in each of the books in this series or is that limited to book one?

Thanks, I'm so glad you enjoyed it. A secondary romance (Lucy and Gerald) was necessary in this one, because though Lucy and her scoundrel father were the catalyst for the story, it is Alice's romance that is the main focus of the book. But I didn't want to leave Lucy and Gerald hanging.

I also enjoyed the contrast in the two romances. Lucy and Gerald's romance is a kind of enemies-to-lovers story with a lot of sparks and banter and a good dose of mischief, whereas Alice and James's romance is more of a second chance of love — more emotional and intense.

Here's a snippet — It's the scene where Gerald, the younger of our two heroes, suddenly recalls where and when he had originally met Lucy, the scoundrel's daughter. She, of course, isn't admitting a thing . . .

“I knew I’d seen you before," Gerald said. "You’re that goose girl!”
She raised a slender, incredulous brow. “I’m the what?”
“That goose girl!”
She gave him a puzzled look, fingered the fluffy trimming on her cloak and said, “It’s swansdown, not goose feather.”
“I’m not talking about the blasted cloak. You’re that goose girl. I know you are, so don’t try to wriggle out of it. We met on the Brighton road, not two weeks ago. You were carrying a goose. I knew I’d seen you before, and it only just came to me.”
I? Carrying a goose?” She sounded utterly incredulous. She glanced at his aunt and Tarrant, as if inviting them to join in her incredulity. “What were you doing on the Brighton road, Lord Thornthwaite, when this goose and I supposedly met you?” Her voice and expression were serious, but her eyes glinted with knowing mischief.
“I was—” he broke off and felt himself redden slightly. He hadn’t told anyone how a goose and an impertinent chit of a farm girl caused him to lose his race. If it got out, his friends would never let him hear the end of it. “It doesn’t matter. What I want to know is why a common goose girl is attending the theater with my aunt.”
“Is she?” The wretched girl looked around eagerly. “Where? Point her out to me.”
Aunt Alice had a sudden coughing fit and buried her face in her handkerchief.

I did think of having two romances in the second book as well, which is about two half-sisters, but then I realized that each girl deserved her own full romance. There might be a secondary romance in book #3, but no promises yet.

What books are you cuddling up with on these cool Australian nights? Any new titles or authors you recommend?

If you want a book with a lot of laughs as well as a yummy romance, snap up BIG SEXY LOVE by Kirsty Greenwood. It's a contemporary romance about friendship, learning to take chances and, of course, love. It's also one of the funniest books I've read in years — seriously, it's laugh out loud in so many places.

I'm also a big fan of Kylie Scott — who also writes contemporaries. Try her YA book TRUST, or her series about members of a band — the STAGE DIVE series.  Very sexy, great dialogue and wonderful characterization.

One of the things I most enjoy about your writing is the vividly depicted characters who leap from the pages of your books. The Scoundrel’s Daughter shines with a memorable cast but it’s little Debo, the youngest of James’ three daughters who steals every scene she’s in. You captured her personality so beautifully. Was she inspired by a real-life person? And do these wonderful characters of your creation steal your heart as completely as they do the readers’?

Thank you — I love it when a character just steps onto the page fully formed, and little Debo was one of those.  She's not inspired by any real person, although I've known a few imperious toddlers in my time. <g>  She took me by surprise in that scene where she first appears to readers and to her father, being very much herself, and as the book progressed she continued to demand her own little spotlight. And yes, she did steal my heart, as no doubt you could tell.

There's a snippet here, where James meets his daughter for the first time — she's four.

Characters like Gideon in The Perfect Rake, and Lady Beatrice, Daisy and Freddy in The Autumn Bride, and others in other books also appeared in the same way, fully formed and refusing to leave until they have a bigger part in the story — or a story of their own in some cases. When it happens, it's like an unexpected gift.

However sometimes one of these unexpected characters doesn't fit into the story, or maybe would derail it completely, and in that case I have to prune them firmly back. Gives another meaning to "killing your darlings". <g>

What fills the hours when you’re not writing? Have you discovered any new hobbies or interests?

Not really. I make jewelry — really it's just stringing beads together — and I almost keep the garden weeds under control. We've been in Lockdown for much of the last year — one time it was for nearly four months, where we couldn't go anywhere except to shop for food, medicine etc. So I read a heap. And wrote. And cooked and ate and walked my dog and . . . occasionally thought about doing housework. <g>

I also got into a new writing habit where 5 days a week I meet up with a couple of writer buddies and we write for a couple of hours while we're on FaceTime. It's a bit like working in an office together — we can see and hear each other working, but once the timer is on, we don't talk, and we don't watch each other. It kept us being positive and productive — and of course, broke down a lot of the isolation caused by LockDown and Covid. 

Where can readers connect with you online?

I'm on FB and twitter and Instagram. Plus I blog regularly with the Word Wenches as well as having my own more personal blog, which also has occasional craft-of-writing posts. And I have a newsletter of course. You can sign up for it and the blog on my website.

Anne Gracie links:




FB AuthorPage:




What’s next?

The next book in the series is called The Rake's Daughter and it's about a pair of half-sisters, one legitimate, the other illegitimate. The illegitimate one is the heroine of this story, and the hero is the man who insists that London society will not accept a bastard girl of beauty and no fortune. Izzy, my heroine, vows to prove him wrong.

And with any luck I'll find the time to write another Christmas novella to self-publish. I did that for the first time last year with The Christmas Bride, which was a spin-off of the Chance sisters series, and I had a lot of fun doing it.

Thanks so much for graciously answering my questions today.

Thank you, PJ for hosting me — I'm delighted to be here.

Would you like to add anything or ask our readers a question?

Yes, and of course I'll be giving away a book. I'd love to ask readers, what's your favorite romance trope?  (For instance Convenient Marriage, Enemies to Lovers, Beauty and the Beast, Second Chance at Love, Mail Order Bride, Friends to Lovers, Lovers Reunited, Chick in Pants, a Bad Boy (Rake) romance,  Secret Baby, Fake Betrothal. . . and many more.)

One randomly chosen reader who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, August 27 will receive a print copy of The Scoundrel's Daughter.

*No geographical restrictions

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited


  1. This sounds amazing!! My favorite trope is friends to lovers. Beauty and the Beast is a very close second.

  2. I enjoyed the review and the excerpt! My favorite trope is marriage of convenience.

  3. I love a Beauty and the Beast trope, give me a scarred tortured hero ...

    1. Have you read Christina Britton's A Duke Worth Fighting For? It just released and has that exact type of hero (also socially awkward on top of everything else).

  4. Sounds like a wonderful new series. I do like some angst so enemies to lovers is one of my favorites.

  5. What an interesting interview. This novel sounds captivating. Second Chance at love would be my favorite trope.

  6. Loved learning about this book, the author and life. So many great tropes to enjoy. Lovers reunited trope is wonderful.

  7. Fabulous interview, PJ and Anne! My favorite trope is the one from this book... Second Chance at Love - a heroine who has been hurt (physically or emotionally) before and has to learn to love again. The heroes in those stories are usually strong, patient and extremely loving! So looking forward to this read. I pre-ordered it months ago and was pleasantly surprised when it showed up on my Kindle! I love when that happens!!! I'm using it as a carrot to get me motivated to get my work done today! Thank you Anne for endless hours of love and Happy Ever Afters!!!

    1. Thanks, Irisheyes! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

  8. Thanks for the interview. I like several tropes, such as enemies to lovers, fiends to lovers or brother's best friend.

  9. I do enjoy a marriage of convenience where the couple finds they are compatible in m any ways.

  10. I enjoy most tropes, but a special favorite is enemies to lovers. Usually there is a lot of fun banter between the couple when they are enemies.

    1. Plenty of fun banter between Lucy and Gerald!

  11. Marriage of convenience is my favorite troupe

    1. One of my favorites too. Have you read Anne Gracie's Marriage of Convenience series? All four books are wonderful!

  12. WOW! OK, I ordered the book yesterday and it will be here shortly. I am excited. HOORAY. I love Ms Gracie's writing, so I knew I would love this story.

    My favorite - maybe second chance at love, or beauty and the beast. Actually, any well written book - does not make any difference what the trope is.

    Thanks for this wonderful interview and review. You have made my day.

    I hope everyone is well and safe and happy.

  13. Marriage of convenience is my favorite trope.

  14. I always love your reviews. My favorite trope is enemies to lovers.

  15. I enjoy most any trope, but I'd say the "friends to lovers" is probably my favorite. There's something about a couple knowing each other so well BEFORE the romance that I really love.

    1. I'm reading a friends-to-lovers story right now that has that exact vibe. Watch for my September 25th review of Wrong for Him by Christi Barth.

  16. This sounds like a delighful read. Marriage of convenience is my favorite. Thanks PJ for a wonderful review.

  17. I love an enemies to lover trope as there is always a lot of emotions to portray! I would love to win your book!

  18. I love enemies to lovers and second chance.


  19. I love, love, LOVE Anne Gracie's books. They're always like a hot cup of cocoa on a chilly day, but like Mexican cocoa with just enough spice thrown in to make it exciting. I'm so happy to know there's a whole new series awaiting.

  20. What a wonderful interview. I linked to the excerpt and Debo is a delight. I used to check in on Word Wenches all the time, but the links from many of the posts put me down a rabbit hole, sometimes for hours. I miss it, especially since all are authors I enjoy. I signed up for it and will be checking in again.
    My favorite tropes are Beauty and the Beast and the related wounded hero/heroine. That being said, there are few I do not enjoy. The dual romances sound like they balance and complement each other well.
    PJ, thank you for having Anne Gracie visit.

  21. Thank you so much, PJ, for this wonderful review — I'm thrilled to bits that you enjoyed my book. And thank you everyone here for the lovely comments. I <3 The Romance Dish. .

  22. Beauty and the Beast - I can never resist it! Happy book birthday!