Ready Set Rogue by Manda CollinsReady Set Rogue by Manda Collins
Series: Studies in Scandal #1
Published by St. Martins Press on January 3, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Advance Reader Copy
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When scholarly Miss Ivy Wareham receives word that she’s one of four young ladies who have inherited Lady Celeste Beauchamp’s estate with a magnificent private library, she packs her trunks straightaway. Unfortunately, Lady Celeste’s nephew, the rakish Quill Beauchamp, Marquess of Kerr, is determined to interrupt her studies one way or another...

Bequeathing Beauchamp House to four bluestockings—no matter how lovely they are to look at—is a travesty, and Quill simply won’t have it. But Lady Celeste’s death is not quite as straightforward as it first seemed…and if Quill hopes to solve the mystery behind her demise, he’ll need Ivy’s help. Along the way, he is surprised to learn that bookish Ivy stirs a passion and longing that he has never known. This rogue believes he’s finally met his match—but can Quill convince clever, skeptical Ivy that his love is no fiction?

This was a fun idea for a book! Lady Celeste died, bequeathing her estate to 4 bluestockings whom she has never met. The logic being that she had spent her life as an introvert and scholar herself, and she wanted her collection appreciated. However, her nephew Quil the Marquess of Kerr is furious. He knows that the only reason his aunt Celeste would do something so outlandish is if the ladies had swindled her.

But once he meets them all, he realizes that they’ve never met his aunt before, let alone each other. He holds fast to his belief though, just knowing something fishy is going on. Well, he’s right, sort of. Something is going on, but it isn’t anything like he thinks.

Miss Ivy Wareham is a linguist, and the prospect of diving into Lady Celeste’s library is extraordinary. She meets Quil on the way up to Beauchamp Estate and while the two are instantly attracted to each other, she is sidetracked by his calling her a fortune hunter and con artist. Her frustration with Quil only deepens when she finds a letter from Lady Celeste to her detailing the plot that she believes she was poisoned and wants Ivy to enlist Quil’s help. Ivy doesn’t want to share with him, but realizes she’ll need his help.

Quil and Ivy start by questioning the servants, and in following one of the leads, they find themselves taking shelter from a rainstorm in a cottage. This is where I started to see continuity problems.

***Heads up, spoiler, but only a minor one***

I had an advanced copy, and you always know that it’ll be hit with another round of edits before publication. That being said, this book has a huge issue.

About 40% in, they kiss, and (spoiler) more. Then Quil thinks to himself that he can’t believe he did that when he’d known her less than 24 hours. But it had been a week or two. So, hopefully that was picked up by the editors since I read an ARC. I wouldn’t normally point out something like that, but it’s like a page or two of him saying how just yesterday he’d misjudged her, and he’d only known her for a day, so it’s super obvious. Really, he’d been avoiding her for about a week at that point, plus the first 2 days I believe, and a day or two after she calls him out for avoiding her. And later on when he mentions it to his cousin, Lady Serena, her response is that it hasn’t even been Ivy’s first full day! So it really pulled me out of the scenes. This was referred to throughout the book a few more times. The thing is, if this had been Ivy’s first day, I don’t think it works as well as having that week or so pass.*

The idea of the ladies having one year to study their respective fields and having one of them “win” the estate was never fully explained. I hope that it is expanded in the next book.

Moving on from editing though, the idea and the characters were great, I enjoyed the book, and while I was kind of saddened by who the killer ended up being, I get it. I can’t wait to read the next book, though, and I hope this series continues on the way it started-with strangers who become friends, and a happily ever after for each.

*I am giving this book a 4 star rating on the assumption that it was edited to fix the timeline an continuity issues.

***ARC courtesy of St. Martin’s Press