Tasty Book Tours Presents: The Spinster's Guide To Scandalous Behavior + Giveaway

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The Seduction Diaries #2
Jennifer McQuiston
Releasing Nov 24th, 2015
Avon Books

When her eccentric aunt suddenly dies and bequeaths her the key to a falling-down cottage in Cornwall, Lucy Westmore is surprised. After all, she scarcely knows her aunt, and her memories of Heathmore are murky, at best. But even more surprising is the part of Lucy’s inheritance that doesn’t come with a key: an old leather journal that provides the details of her mysterious aunt’s life and-for better or worse-gives Lucy all the instructions she needs to live the life of a scandalous spinster.

Lord Thomas Branston has spent the last five years in Cornwall, hiding from his painful past. Nothing has been tempting enough to lure him back to London…until now. He alone knows the real value of the property, and he’s determined to buy Heathmore before Miss Westmore ruins everything and sells it off to the highest bidder.

Emboldened by the guidance in her aunt’s diary, Lucy refuses to sell the property, not even when Lord Branston’s offers escalate, or when the house turns out to be truly uninhabitable. Lucy has no intention of giving up her one chance for independence. And Thomas has no intention of abandoning his suit.

But is it the property or the spitfire of a spinster that’s got his heart all tied up? And what is he willing to offer for both?

Excerpt #2
Take her aunt for example. According to the first volume of her aunt’s diary, she’d taken herself to Cornwall without her parents’ permission and lived for more than four decades as a scandalous spinster. To Lucy, that sounded like the right kind of ruin, one that was earned outright, rather than merely presumed. But judging by the tears welling in Lydia’s eyes, her sister’s definition of ruin was rather different.
“You mustn’t tell anyone,” Lucy warned, suddenly realizing that between her hair and Lydia’s knowledge of her plans, a good deal of havoc could be wrought. “I still need to find a bit more money if I am to do this properly, and that means I need to hide this from Mother, at least for the near future.” She looked pleadingly at her sister. “Do you promise not to say anything?”
“You are really going to Cornwall, then?” Lydia choked out.
“Not yet. Soon, though. When I can earn a bit more money. And I won’t be gone forever.” Lucy sat down beside her sister and placed a hand over hers. “I only want to have a look at my property, to make the decision for myself. In fact, I predict I will be back before the Season has even properly started.”
 But Lydia pulled her hand away. “And what good would coming back do, with your hair shorn and your reputation in tatters?” she asked bitterly. “Did you even think this through before you charged into it?”
Lucy bit her lip, the question hitting a little too close for comfort. No, she hadn’t thought it through. She’d simply read her aunt’s diary entry last night, and woken up this morning determined to find something to sell. As per usual, she’d set her sights on a grand goal and ignored the smaller difficulties, such as how to explain—or hide—the evidence of what she had done. She might be impulsive, but she at least had enough self-awareness to look back now and recognize her usual pattern of impetuousness.
“I probably should have done a bit of research into how much I might earn first,” she admitted. “And I should have waited to visit the wig makers until I had enough money to leave immediately after I had done it.”
Lydia’s face turned red. “That is what you see as the lesson learned here? For heaven’s sake, Lucy, how can you be so … so … blind? I would give anything to be in your position, you know. To have a chance to find a proper husband, and to find real happiness.” A tear rolled down her cheek. “And yet you are throwing it all away for a rat-infested cottage?”
Lucy felt a spark of irritation. Why couldn’t Lydia see her side of it? For as long as she could remember, this threatened Season had hovered above her head like a guillotine. And now, with the encounter with the visiting coach, it was clear her fears were well-founded. She had only ever consented to suffer through the drama of this Season to silence her parents’ expectations. It wasn’t as though she had any intention of procuring a husband anyway—especially not one who only wanted to give her a ring in exchange for ten thousand pounds.
My Thoughts
The Spinster's Guide To Scandalous Behavior could be seen as a feminist manifesto... Regency style.

Lady Lucy Westmore is a woman determined to live life as she sees fit.
Unimpressed by the "sell one's self to the highest bidder" meat market. 
Otherwise known as The Season.
Young Lucy has chosen, much to the chagrin of her parents, to dedicate herself wholeheartedly to a life of cause laden spinsterhood.
The seeming green light in Lucy's plan for singlehood, comes in the form of the gift of a cottage; on the heels of the death of her aunt.
Knowing ownership of said property is her ticket to the life of her dreams.  Lucy is enraged when she learns that her aunt's fortuitous bequest has been sold; without her consent, by her father.

The farthest thing from Lord Thomas Branston's mind when he makes an offer for ramshackle Heathmore Cottage, is the feisty blonde dynamo who is it's true owner.  Or the untamable tsunami of emotional upheaval that said dynamo is about to bring into his world, his mind, and his heart.

The Spinster's Guide To Scandalous Behavior while a romance, goes about the act of romancing in a decidedly atypical fashion. 
With both its leading man and leading lady wanting nothing to do with the trappings of love and or matrimony, and the diary of Lucy's confirmed spinster aunt, Miss E, providing anecdotal advice and musings to her 'single lady in training' via her diary.
This is a story that finds its feet through the author's masterful usage of situational drama, setting, a vibrant supporting cast, and engagingly witty exchanges between Lucy and her Lord.

The cottage and the neighboring town of Lizard Bay, play such a major hand in providing the two stalwart singletons with reasons to come together that they (meaning the places) soon become characters of a sort in their own right.

The happily...that readers experience here is less one born of passion in the carnal sense, and more of a connection on a soul deep level.  Both Lucy and Thomas soon come to find that they each are the missing piece to the other;  when they first come to the realization that they are working toward the shared goal of saving both the cottage and the town that they both hold so dear.

This is a wonderful, light, and refreshing read that is unafraid to tackle the very weighty subjects of:  woman's rights, personal liberty, and alcoholism.

This is the second installment of a series which may be read both individually and/or as part of its respective collection.

I received the above referenced work in conjunction with Tasty Book Tours,
Edelweiss, and Avon publishing.  The review given and all opinions expressed herein are mine, and have in no way been influenced by outside parties.T



A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Thank you for hosting!

    Crystal, Tasty Book Tours


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