Thursday, October 11, 2012

ARC Review: The Birthday Scandal by Leigh Michaels

The Birthday Scandal
Author: Leigh Michaels
Publication: Montlake Romance (October 9, 2012)

Description: The wealthy Duke of Weybridge knows that everyone loves a good surprise…and a good scandal. He has bounteous amounts of both for the guests—particularly for his nieces and nephew, Emily, Isabel, and Lucien—at his extravagant seventieth birthday ball. They think his promise to improve their lives means a generous stipend. But he’s got different gifts in mind: finding them the perfect matches. His task won’t be easy, because the Arden siblings have given up on love.

Bachelor Lucien spends more time merrymaking than looking for a proper wife. His sister Emily, broken-hearted when her betrothal ended in disgrace, committed herself to an early spinsterhood. And Isabel’s marriage has been troubled from the moment it began—with a terrible betrayal on her wedding night.

Though witty and strong-willed, the siblings are no match for their uncle’s wily machinations. And as the celebration approaches, his romantic scheming ignites illicit liaisons and irresistible temptations, sparking enough rumors to keep the ton abuzz until his next birthday.

My Thoughts: This was a fun romance. An over-bearing father and a scheming great-uncle gang up on siblings Emily, Isabel, and Lucien to give them much improved lives. Emily has been living in seclusion since her fiance was killed in a duel with the brother of the woman he compromised. She got very tired of her father throwing more men at her but is now struggling to survive with a limited income and limited opportunities. She's bored! Her sister Isabel has been estranged from her husband since her wedding when he chose to support his friend in the duel which she felt was a betrayal of her sister. They have spent the past year avoiding each other. Their brother Lucien has been living in London on a small allowance and dodging the young women his father has been throwing at him.

All meet together at their great-uncle's in hopes of bettering their lives. Also at the castle is the Duke's American heir. Naturally, Emily takes one look at him and takes an instant dislike to him. However, since she is determined not to marry but is interested in taking a lover, she thinks he would work quite well in that role. He isn't opposed but his sense of honor won't let him completely compromise her. Along the way they fall in love.

Isabel is surprised to find that her estranged husband has also been invited to the house party. He is willing to compromise with her and offer her an adequate income ... if she will supply him with an heir. As he seduces his wife, she begins to fall in love with him. But her mistaken perceptions about his possible mistresses keep her from trusting him. 

All three are surprised to find that their father is on the verge of offering for the nineteen-year-old daughter of a neighbor. Lucien is trying to think of any way to stop this marriage because he doesn't want to subject anyone to his father and ends up falling in love with the girl himself. 

All of these romances are being played out at a house party and involve lots of clandestine meetings, unsuitable suitors, grasping debutantes, and gossiping society ladies. While the eventual resolution of the romances was never in doubt, it was fun to read about each couple's journey. Leigh Michaels makes each of the characters, with the possible exception of the the protagonists' father, likable and well-rounded people. 

Favorite Quote:
When Philip had kissed her, she had been puzzled by his actions and a bit put off because he had tasted of stale wine. Now, though Gavin was doing things she had never dreamed of, she was too swept up in the moment to wonder what might be next. And his mouth was the most luscious flavor she had ever tasted, something exotic but so perfectly attuned to her tastes that it seemed she had always know it and been waiting patiently to sample it again. 
I got this ARC from Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.


  1. okay this sounds complicated but really good. Onto the TBR list it goes.

  2. Oooh, this sounds completely awesome! It's a different sort of historical romance. Great review!


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