Kickass bluestockings? Smarter than smart? Not afraid to speak their minds? Bring on the women from Manda Collin’s latest series “Studies in Scandal” ! “Ready, Set, Rogue” is a great introduction to this brand new series and is focused on the story of Ivy- the linguist and the Marquess of Kerr-Torquil (Quill) Beauchamp.
Quill is not a happy little Marquess when he discovers what his late Aunt Celeste has requested in her will- she has bequeathed her home to a bunch of bluestockings, who will be participating in a scholarly competition, with the winner inheriting Beauchamp House. How preposterous! Not if Quill has anything to with this madness! So off he goes and storms his way over to Beauchamp house ready to prove that these women are nothing other than money hungry tricksters, who have obviously schemed and tricked his aunt into leaving her home to them. On his way over, due to his broken carriage wheel, he encounters Ivy by chance at a pub and learns that she is indeed one of the bluestockings also making her way to Beauchamp house. Upon arrival at the house, they are both met by the rest of the ladies: Daphne- the mathematician, Sophia- the artist and Gemma- the archeologist and of course we can’t forget their lovely chaperone Lady Serena (Quill’s cousin) and her son. And so begins their first night together as a group until Ivy discovers a letter addressed to her from Lady Celeste, confessing that she suspects she is being poisoned and hence murdered! Despite not seeing eye to eye with each other, Ivy enlists Quill’s help in aiding her to catch Lady Celeste’s murderer. With their heads together to solve this mystery, the deeper they delve and spend time with each other, Quill realizes that Ivy really is genuine, and he can’t help his depth of feelings for Ivy and her brilliant mind!
I really enjoyed reading this lighter romance as it has a unique plot, a great subplot and awesome secondary characters (Daphne! And oooh Serena as well! I really want to see her get a happy ending). A few things I noticed about this romance was how everyone interacted together as a group for most of the book, away from society, the ton and all the rules! It was very refreshing!. Quill and Ivy do get their alone time too for their relationship to blossom, but for some readers, it may not feel like Quill and Ivy really demonstrate why they grow to love each other as lots happen very quickly for them! For me, because this already had a precedence as a light romance, I didn’t really think about it too much. The scenarios that Manda Collins cooked up for them to fall in love was believable enough for me to believe in them as a couple. Quill is also a lovely beta hero who has a go with the flow attitude. I did notice that there were a few things mentioned about his father (sounded like a tortured past!) but this wasn’t expanded on or explained in depth -another example of how light the scenarios can be.
If you looking for an easy read with a lot of substance, no heavy drama, lots of feminism and a murder mystery as a bonus, you won’t regret it if you pick this up! Manda Collins has a great writing style which is easy to read, flows well and she writes her period speak really well! I was immediately drawn into historical England and lost myself completely in this story! I can’t wait for Daphne’s story coming up next!
*Thank-you Manda Collins, Netgalley & St. Martin’s Press for the ARC.