Once Upon a Scandal by Julie LeMenseOnce Upon a Scandal by Julie LeMense
Series: Once Upon a Wager #2
Published by Crimson Romance on June 22, 2015
Source: NetGalley, Word Slinger Publicity
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 279
Format: eARC
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Caught up in a scandal of her father’s making, Jane Fitzsimmons is now an outcast in the society that once prized her refinement. When Lord Benjamin Marworth offers to help redeem her good name, she leaps at the chance.

Too bad his plan requires her very public demise.

To the ton, Benjamin is a dandy and a rake, but that’s merely a convenient disguise to spy for the Crown. Can he save both England and Jane by faking her death and reincarnating her as a French cousin who can ferret out the stolen war secrets he needs? Or will she discover Benjamin’s own dark secrets in the end?

It’s a proposition steeped in scandal if they’re caught — but love just might be worth the risk.

In a lot of ways, Once Upon a Scandal is a typical romance. She’s beautiful and spirited; he’s sexy with secrets. She, however, is dirt poor and shunned by (most) of her previous friends due to a her father’s scandal and death. He, while seemingly a rich playboy, is actually a domestic spy, keeping an eye on the rich and powerful and it’s that bit of intrigue that makes the novel a step above ordinary for me. Benjamin enlists Jane’s help, and she, feeling like she really has nothing to lose, agrees. Jane, with the help of Benjamin and an old friend, reinvents herself to help lure the person who stole secret documents relating to the war out into the open.

I guess this is the second in the series, but I felt we were introduced to the characters and they’re backgrounds well. I assume the first focused on a different couple and featured Jane and Benjamin as secondary characters.

The attraction between them and his appreciation not only of her beauty, but her intelligence and bravery is clear, even if it of course take most of the book for them to realize that it can work. It is a romance after all. And they are well-suited.

There’s chemistry and a couple PG-13 scenes. We’ve a few bad guys, although the real culprit is not discovered, or even really hinted at, until near the end. This isn’t a mystery though, the author doesn’t have to play fair with clues, she can dole out whatever information she wants – the point is the love story, not who the traitor might be.

Once Upon a Scandal made me smile. It’s a light book, even with it’s bits of danger, and the ending was perfect. If you enjoy historical romances, even occasionally, I’d recommend picking this one up.


About Julie LeMense

A Georgetown University graduate with a degree in English Literature, Julie LeMense has been a Regency romance addict since she read her first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. These days, she prefers the complex characterizations and plotting of Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas and Meredith Duran, but is always excited to find new authors.

A member of the Romance Writers Association of America, Julie is currently working on her next two novels, as the ghosts who live in her old, gilded age-era home try to sneak their way into her stories.


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