This book is the third in a loose series of Regency romances. In the author's previous book "A Promise to Return (Mills & Boon Historical)
," a young French girl, Sophie Vallois, saved the life of the hero of that book, Nicholas Grey Viscount Longworth. She persuaded her brother Antoine, who was learning medicine, to treat Nicholas after he had been shot, left for dead, and lost his memory while on a secret mission in France.
Although Sophie was a minor character in "A promise to return" Gail Whitiker liked her so much that "I had to bring her back" and "Courting Miss Vallois
" set three years later was the result.
During that book Sophie Vallois was in turn rescued on more than one ocasion from potentially disastrous situations by the kindness of another beautiful young lady called Lady Annabelle Durst. Since Annabelle is attractive, sweet-natured and well connected - she is the daughter of an earl - it was rather surprising that at 24 she was still single. At the start of "Brushed by scandal," in which it is Annabelle's turn to be brought back for her own story, we get an idea of why this might be: she is far too involved with looking out for other people to pay attention to herself.
Another character in "Courting Miss Vallois" was Sir Barrington Parker, a member of the gentry who acts as an amateur fixer and investigator. They didn't meet in that book, but the author felt that they had a lot in common and she wondered how they would react if one of them was called on to investigate an alleged scandal involving the other, or a member of their family.
That happens in this book when fingers are pointed first at Lady Annabelle's father's "godson" and then at her father the Earl himself ...
A reasonably interesting story, part light romance, part detective mystery. A little anachronistic in places - for example there are a few lines of dialogue like "he made a mental note to ask his secretary" which have much more the feel of the 20th or early 21st century than the early 19th.
This book has many of the usual regency cliches but is not nearly as formulaic as some. There are several well-painted characters and I enjoyed seeing what Gail Whitiker made of them.
This doesn't have as much meticulously researched period detail as you will find in the best novels describing this period. If you're looking for another Georgette Heyer, let alone Jane Austen, leave this one alone. However, if you want a little light entertainment, something to read for an hour or so's relaxation you may well enjoy it.