The Harlot Countess by Joanna ShupeThe Harlot Countess on April 28, 2015
Pages: 333
Format: eBook
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Maggie, Lady Hawkins, had a debut she’d rather forget—along with her first marriage. Today, the political cartoonist is a new woman. A thoroughly modern woman. So much so that her clamoring public believes she’s a man…

FACT: Drawing under a male pseudonym, Maggie is known as Lemarc. Her (his!) favorite object of ridicule: Simon Barrett, Earl of Winchester. He’s a rising star in Parliament—and a former confidant and love interest of Maggie’s who believed a rumor that vexes her to this day.

FICTION: Maggie is the Half-Irish Harlot who seduced her best friend’s husband on the eve of their wedding. She is to be feared and loathed, as she will lift her skirts for anything in breeches.

Still crushed by Simon’s betrayal, Maggie has no intention of letting the ton crush her as well. In fact, Lemarc’s cartoons have made Simon a laughingstock…but now it appears that Maggie may have been wrong about what happened years ago, and that Simon has been secretly yearning for her since…forever. Could it be that the heart is mightier than the pen and the sword after all?

The description of this book hooked me. I love second chances where someone has been done wrong. That betrayal, and how to come back from it, is my favorite trope.

Maggie has a nice debut Season, but really there’s only one man who she cares about. Simon, the Earl of Winchester. And when she’s caught in a scandal, he turns his back to her. Literally. Forced to marry an elderly lord to save face, she’s shuttled off and forgotten about. Or is she?

Ten years later, Maggie is widowed and has made a name for herself as the Half-Irish Harlot. She is known for throwing wicked and wild parties. If only the Ton knew why she did. Maggie is secretly the political cartoonist Lemarc, and when people come to her parties, they let slip the best gossip, ripe for the picking for a political cartoonist.

She keeps her pseudonym a secret from all but three trusted people. But by making a few cartoons of Winchester as “Winejester” he’s decided to hunt down this Lemarc fellow and get him to stop drawing him as a caricature of himself. Little does he know the woman who broke his young heart is the same as the artist.

I loved this story. I really did, however there’s a bit of a suspense plot that seems unnecessary, and late in the game. I also wish Maggie had stopped the whole, “being with me will be terrible for your reputation” sooner. Because of that lasting through until the end, I felt the ending was abrupt. I would have liked a bit more of them being happy.

Part of the mystery involves a loose end that I hope will be solved in the next book. That being said, I’m really looking forward to the next book.

***I got this book via Kindle Unlimited

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