I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Esther Hatch
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Publish Date: May 1, 2020
This book is perfect for those that like: Historical Romances, Hints of Downton Abbey, and Men Who Start Letter Writing Campaigns While Pining.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: Secret Identities, Bad Wigs, or Dirt Literally Being Swept Under Rugs.
From Goodreads: Lady Patience Kendrick was born to a life of privilege, and with the London Season looming, she finds herself facing unprecedented pressure to adhere to the rules of society. Unfortunately, the free-spirited young woman is anything but proper. Patience’s elder brother, a former military man, bemoans his sister’s antics – but when he accuses her of incurable frivolity, it is simply more than she can bear. Determined to prove her brother wrong, Patience undertakes a drastic experiment: she will disguise herself as a maid and demonstrate her ability to work as hard as anyone.
Taken on as household staff by her brother’s former general, Patience soon learns that willingness and ability are two very different things. While her plan sounded promising in theory, the reality is that she is out of her depth – and the irresistibly charming son of the house isn’t helping matters. Patience soon finds herself embroiled in a charade far more complicated that she imagined. With both her pride and her heart at stake, she is determined to prove her brother wrong – even as her plans spiral delightfully out of control.
I’ve been waiting for A Proper Charade to come out since I finished the last sentence of A Proper Scandal (one of my FAVORITE books of last year), which is just my jumbled way of telling you that:
1. This is a sequel
2. It might be one of my favorites of THIS YEAR.
Even though this is a sequel with characters from A Proper Scandal, Mr. Woodsworth and Miss Morgan specifically, you can absolutely read it on its own.
Truthfully, when I heard there was a sequel coming, I immediately thought it would be centered around Lord Bryant, a sleazy (but maybe not really?) character from A Proper Scandal and I could not contain my glee. He is that guy who is TOO charming but you know deep down has a real soft soul and is hiding something. GIVE THIS TO ME EVERY DAY, Y’ALL. This book is NOT about him (weeping noises), although he does show up again. ::waggles eyebrows::
No, this book centers on Lady Patience Kendrick and Mr. Anthony Woodsworth. (Aren’t those names delightful?) They are complete opposites in terms of personality and yet both stubbornly set on their plans of what they have each come to think of as the only path to happiness. All the while not seeing what’s right in front of them the whole time. It’s a delicious unfolding of two people realizing that happiness can’t be planned- no matter how many to-do lists Mr. Woodsworth creates. Sidenote: you know the Planner Person in me swooned when I realized that Mr. Woodsworth was a List Maker. I mean, WARN a person before just throwing that into a story. GAH.
Lady Patience, on the other hand, is Not a List Maker but is still very much set on a certain path for her future. One that allows her to hide from her real life and yet it is in this hiding that she finds her true self. Oh, don’t get me wrong, most of her decisions and justifications are in fact ridiculous, but she is super charming and you can’t help but root for her in all her plans. AND she has curly hair. This may be a silly thing to point out, but as someone with naturally curly hair, I am ALWAYS here for leading ladies with actual curly hair.
Now, here’s where I confess that I’m not a huge Historical Romance Reader, but what draws me into this particular genre of romance are the possibilities for:
1. Heroines breaking the rules in a very rule-structured society
2. Stoic Men who suddenly Feel Feelings
This book has both and combines them with some legit laugh out loud scenes, a few very close breathy conversations, and some angsty “will they or won’t they” moments that made me swoon.
Y’ALLLL. This book just makes me smile thinking about it. And it doesn’t hurt that I kept picturing Mr. Woodsworth as Johnny Flynn’s Mr. Knightley the entire time*.
Overall, this was a fantastic follow-up to A Proper Scandal and I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy a bit of humor in their Historical Romance. A Victorian Rom-Com of sorts.
*If you want to know which actor the author herself pictured while writing this, along with more behind the scenes of this book, you’re in luck! I had the fabulous honor of guest hosting on the Hallmarkies Podcast this past week to interview Esther Hatch about this book. We had a blast discussing this latest installment as well as what’s next in the Proper Series. A book about my favorite, Lord Bryant? Maybe?? Spoiler Alert- YESSSS. EEP.