Review: Summer of Scandal by Syrie James

Posted October 4, 2018 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 10 Comments

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I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Summer of Scandal by Syrie James
Summer of Scandal

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Dare to Defy #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Avon
Released on September 11, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Author
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The Delight

An American heiress who is more than she seems escapes the demands of the London season into Cornwall with her sister to consider a worthy proposal, but she encounters a scandalous earl instead.  I was ready to be delighted by this slow burn Victorian Age romance with an unconventional romance pair.


Summer of Scandal is book two in the Dare to Defy series.  I didn’t read book one, but instead jumped in here.  I had no trouble, but this is a consecutive companion story with Madeleine’s sister Alexandra as the heroine of book one, Runaway Heiress, and the family situation carrying through each book.

As I said earlier, this pair is unconventional.  Madeleine is a college educated, secret authoress who has strong opinions about women’s rights and equality while Charles is an earl who prefers his inventions and has a tarnished reputation that he uses as a buffer.  Madeleine knows the story of a scandal from his early years and it makes for a rocky start between them.  Then they are thrown together when she goes to Cornwall to visit her sister and do some thinking about the marriage proposal her mother is pressuring her to accept.  They both have to consider whether doing their duty is as important as being true to self and following their hearts.

This was a book that paced slow and took its time getting through a friends to lovers slow burn romance that has a mild whiff of the forbidden and a love triangle since both consider themselves promised elsewhere.  I enjoyed the story and was agonizing with this pair in the end especially when Charles’ past made him hurt Maddie.  It was tough watching them both strain against parent expectation and try to convince themselves that they couldn’t be together when they were so right for each other.  They had mutual respect, connection and understanding.  They were attracted, but even more they were friends.

Now, I will say that this one did have dragging moments.  There was a lot of scenes with the pair becoming friends and enjoying their activities singly, with each other, and in a the group.  Not that I minded getting to know all the others with the sisters and friendships or minded the activities, but I did feel it stalled out a few times waiting for something to happen.

I had a shaky moment in the very beginning when I really thought the heroine and I were not going to get along.  Maddie rushed in like a terrier with attacking Charles because he wasn’t a raging feminist (nor was he even remotely a chauvinist) and he screwed up when he was young in an event that amounted to a scandal though all has long since been over and forgiven by those involved.  But, she realized she was up on a high horse and he did apologize for offending her and say he messed up in his past.  It took her a bit, but she simmered down and I could enjoy her pluckiness and the journey she took to knowing herself and her future.

The almost love triangle was not that big of a deal.  It did play into the conflict, but it wasn’t a true love triangle in that Charles was only considering Sophie out of duty and readers are able to see for a while the true lay of the land.  Charles, like Maddie, had to decide whether he would stifle his own desires to marry where he feels love and dreams to invent helpful devices that will save lives for parent approval and expectation and whether he is truly beyond the past and can trust a woman with his heart.

It was a slow mover, but it did wind tight to a great crisis point that had me riveted and cheering them on.  I enjoyed Charles and Maddie’s story and I want to go back for Lexie and Thomas.  If you enjoy Victorian era slow burn slightly spicy romance between an unique pair.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Romance Roundabout #300 HR
New Release #149


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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3 years ago

the cover has an old feel but it looks good and different, it’s nice to have a heroine like that!

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Melliane

Yes, it sure does. I love the cover and those gorgeous colors that scream summer like the book. She turned out to be a fabulous heroine and I loved seeing her skills and interests highlighted and not just the romance.

3 years ago

Glad you enjoyed it despite the love triangle shenanigans. That can work in the right hands but often just annoys me. You’ve just reminded me that I haven’t read a romance in a very long time. I need to read one soon.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Laurie

Yes, I do avoid true love triangles like the plague because they do get into the sort of angst I don’t like. Fortunately, this one wasn’t like that and was more a couple people being pushed to marry others for duty.
Yay, glad to give you the itch for a romance, Laurie. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
3 years ago

I can’t imagine living in such a time and being pressured to get married to someone you don’t want to.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, the arranged marriage and marriage for convenience thing are definitely scary prospects in real life especially back then with the wife becoming the property of her husband.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I am glad she simmered The cover freaks me out a little.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago

Yeah, she was spitting and hissing a bit, but then finally got some perspective.

Haha! yeah, it does look a little like they’re ready to topple over that cliff. 😉

Lover Of Romance
3 years ago

I really want to read this one, but I do struggle with the slow moving books. So maybe grab it in audio??!! But I love the cover, so I am really tempted to buy it in print. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts darling.

Sophia Rose
3 years ago

I checked out a few other reviews and not many mentioned it being slow so maybe you’d be okay with it. Though, I think this would be a fun one in audio with the shucking and jiving this pair get up to.