Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: The Harlot Countess (Wicked Deceptions #2) by Joanna Shupe

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?

Lady Hawkins has a secret. Quite a few of them actually. She is an artist and a political cartoonist. But no one can know. Mostly because her favorite target is a highly influential man in Parliament and her first love. The Earl of Winchester is a man that she loves to hate and hates to love. Her secret has been kept under wraps for ages. At least until the Earl asks her to help find this mysterious cartoonist and Lady Hawkins is dead set in sending him on a wild goose chase. 

Once again, Joanna Shupe did not disappoint. I read the first novel in this series a few days ago and fell in love with Shupe's writing style, flair for dramatics and her spunky characters. I won't lie, I was a bit tentative about reading another in the series ... I loved the first one so much that I was afraid the second wouldn't be as good and it would mar my feelings of the first novel. But I was wrong (don't tell my husband, I've got him convinced that I'm never wrong). I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Actually, it would have been a 5 star book for me if I hadn't picked out the bad guy so early on. While knowing who is behind a big plot in the book is disappointing, the writing kept me interested and still dying to know how everything would play out. Is it fair that I took off a whole star just because I knew what was going to happen? Probably not, but when you're reading a book of this caliber and there are hardly any issues, you have to kind of nit-pick just to make it fair.

Like I said, the characters were amazing, I absolutely adored Lady Hawkins right from the beginning. I loved reading about her spunk and backbone when women of that time period were mostly marionettes. And the Earl of Winchester ... I loved to hate that dude, just like Maggie. Ugh. He was such an ass. But watching his transformation was one of the best parts of the book. The story wasn't too heavy but at the same time, it wasn't weak either. I have to pick up and put down books all day because of things going on and not once did I forget what was going on or who was who but I did find myself carving out time to read when I really didn't have it just so I could see what was going on. Such a good storyline. Love!

While you don't necessarily need to read these books in order, it wouldn't hurt to do so. There are a few jokes and situations that you get more insight into if you've read the first one. I'm super excited to see what number three has in store for readers. I'm pretty sure it's going to be spectacular. I'll be first in line to get that one, I'm sure.

All in all, it's a super amazing book and if you love historical romance novels, this is one for you. I can almost guarantee that you'll adore Joanna Shupe as much as I do!

Available: April 28th, 2015

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