The Four Hundred Series, Book 2
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, A Daring Arrangement, and this one was just as good. This is historical but unlike the Regencies I usually read, this one is set during the Gilded Age in New York City, and the cover is refreshingly modern. I’m pretty sure my husband has that shirt…
Lady Eva Hyde is sailing from England to America when she meets Phillip, a gorgeous man on board the ship. Due to inclement weather, they are the last two standing on the final night at sea and enjoy dinner together along with quite a bit of champagne, followed by a rather clandestine meeting in his room. Eva has never felt the kind of attraction she has for this man, and he is rather swept away as well. Much to his chagrin, Eva disappears before he awakens and he cannot find her nor anyone with the name she gave him on board.
Eva is in New York to work. Her father is a world famous architect who has succumbed to an Alzheimer’s type disease. Eva has studied with him for most of her life, and when this job came in – to design the finest hotel in New York City, she leapt at it. Her father had made many bad investments, leaving them penniless and she was desperate to earn some money. But women are not welcome on a construction site as she well knows, so she is going to pass herself off as a representative of her father, who she claims has fallen ill but should be in NY in a matter of weeks. Plus there is the problem of Eva’s romantic past – her father had arranged a marriage for her three times, but one after another of her fiances met an untimely death, earning her the nickname “Lady Unlucky.” She had nothing to do with their deaths but still…
To her horror, the man who is building the hotel is, of course, Phillip. The attraction is still there, stronger than ever, but the work must come first and that is not going to be easy. I loved the whole feminist angle of this story almost as much as the romance, especially when I read the author’s note that explained the impetus for the book came when she found out that a woman architect, Julia Morgan, had designed Hearst Castle in the early part of the twentieth century.
The passion felt real, the odds of this couple getting together were almost insurmountable, and the characters rang true. The tidbits about the history of New York were just an added bonus. This was a terrific one night read for me, I really loved it.
4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
A SCANDALOUS DEAL by Joanna Shupe. Avon (April 24, 2018). ISBN 978-0062678911. 384p.