Narrator: Emma Powell
Series: Muses of Mayfair #1
Published by Audible Studios on January 23, 2012
Genres: Adult, Historical, Historical Romance, Romance
Length: 10 hrs, 46 min
Source: Audible Purchase
One title to change his life...
A disgraced son with a dark reputation, William “Ferguson” Avenel is content to live in exile–until his father dies in the scandal of the Season. With rumors of insanity swirling around them, his sisters desperately need a chaperone. Ferguson thinks he’s found the most proper woman in England–and he won’t ruin her, even if he secretly desires the passionate woman trapped beneath a spinster’s cap.
One chance to break the rules...
Lady Madeleine Vaillant can’t face her blighted future without making one glorious memory for herself. In disguise, on a London stage, she finds all the adoration she never felt from the ton. But when she’s nearly recognized, she will do anything to hide her identity–even setting up her actress persona as Ferguson’s mistress. She’ll take the pleasure he offers, but Madeleine won’t lose her heart in the bargain.
One season to fall in love...
Every stolen kiss could lead to discovery, and Ferguson’s old enemies are determined to ruin them both. But as their dangerous passion ignites their hearts and threatens their futures, how can an heiress who dreams of freedom deny the duke who demands her love?
Oh boy did I enjoy Heiress Without a Cause! This is the first installment of the Muses of Mayfair series. Three women, all heiresses, and all essentially on the shelf, have unconventional interests which they engage in. These interests would cause quite the scandal in the ton. 😉
Heiress Without a Cause specifically revolves around Madeleine, who has a love of acting. She’s so talented that she won a role and has been performing on stage under an alias. However, when the theater manager becomes greedy and threatens Madeleine into performing past their agreed timeline, she’s at risk of being ruined.
Enter Ferguson, the newly minted Duke of Rothwell. He’s returned to London from exile following his father’s death. He needs someone to chaperone is two younger sisters after their debut into society. His aunt suggests Madeleine and she seems the perfect fit. Until he recognizes her on stage. Rather than break their arrangement, he adds to it – having her pretend to be his mistress in an attempt to save her from possible ruin.
On the tangled webs we weave, right? I admired Madeleine for being unconventional and living her passion, if only for a little while. And I appreciated Ferguson for trying to do the right thing and/or make things right by both Madeleine and his sisters. These two did fight the pull between them. Hard. Madeleine wants to enter her spinsterhood via a blaze of glory which is why she’s defying reason and acting. Where Ferguson’s concerned, she has to get past feeling as though she doesn’t deserve to be the priority in someone’s life, seeing as her parents abandoned her. Ferguson has so many worries. He not only has a title he never wanted and the responsibilities it carries, but he also has to deal with his scandalous reputation as well as rumors of his family’s sanity.
The character growth in these two comes via the work they must do in order to learn to trust one another. Trust each other with their hopes, dreams, and especially their hearts. I enjoyed watching them banter, fuss and fight, and fall irrevocably for the other.
The supporting cast was quite fun, too. Madeleine’s friends and family, as well as Ferguson’s were well-drawn and engaging. They added those deeper layers to the story, which enhanced it.
I’m trying to remember why this was only a 4-star read and I think it’s because some of the elements were a bit too fantastical and/or resolved too easily. But they didn’t detract from my overall delight with Madeleine and Ferguson. The narration was splendid. The pace was perfect and all the proper tension and emotion were conveyed. Even the voices were well done. I will continue this series in audio. It was a satisfying introduction to SRamsey and Emma Powell (narrator) and I’m eager to see how the other muses’s stories turn out. 🙂
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: