Author: Minerva Spencer
A mean girl reformed…
Once the reigning beauty of her social set, Celia–whom the newspapers dubbed Lady Infamous–has fallen on hard times and is practically destitute, her reputation in shreds. When Celia is forced to attend a society wedding as a companion to an elderly guest, she must confront the clique she once commanded; the gentleman she’d once hoped to marry–who is now wed to a girl Celia relentlessly taunted; and the powerful man who ruined her life a decade before–and is threatening to do so again…
A hero transformed…
Then there is Richard, the studious boy Celia used to ridicule, who is now gorgeous, wealthy, and more-than-a-little famous. As a youth, Richard was infatuated with Celia. He still seems intrigued, but Celia has acquired a shocking secret along with her hard-won humility. Will it put an end to the love blossoming between them? Does she have the courage to find out?
Infamous is the third novel in the Rebels of the Ton series, where each novel can be read as a standalone. Unlike Notorious (#1) and Outrageous (#2), this novel expands the main “cast” by including the stories of two couples that are closely intertwined compared to the other two that did one. The story begins in 1818 at the Duke of Sanford’s ball where the four main characters and the fifth important one are all introduced. Readers are first introduced to twin brothers, Richard Redvers and Lucien Redvers, the Earl of Davenport. Lucien is courting Celia Trent with plans to propose, while Richard is attracted to Celia, but does not act on it for his brother’s sake. Celia is intangled with Sebastian Fanshawe, the Duke of Dowden. Their connection is left somewhat vague at the beginning, but becomes more apparent as the story moves forward. Last, there is Phyllida Singleton, who is Richard’s friend and sometimes dance partner. The story flashes forward ten years and all the characters are now in different places in their lives, but will be thrown together again.
Celia Trent is now Celia Pelham, a widow, who now works for Lady Yancy. She has been invited to attend the wedding event of Sebastian to the youngest member of the Redvers family, Antonia. As an employee, Celia has no choice but to attend, as well, when she accompanies Lady Yancy. Lucien is now married to Phyllida while Richard is happily single. With open-ended feelings left to the be resolved with Celia, the story becomes more complex among these six characters. The novel includes the perspectives of Richard, Celia, Lucien, and Phyllida as all of the relationships are explored. Through the story, the reasons for how each character got to each place in their current lives are discovered. Celia regrets her past, but she needs to find out if the ones she wronged will forgive her. I love how each character has their own emotional journeys and reasons for their thoughts/decisions. It was greatly enjoyable to read about all of them and it was difficult to choose which couple I enjoyed the most, as they were both very gratifying.
Even though there are multiple moving pieces in the novel, the author did an excellent job about seamlessly moving from one to the next. Each couple is going through their own journey to try to find their way together while attending Antonia and Sebastian’s lavish Christmas wedding/party with multiple other guests and events taking place. Even though Lucien and Richard were briefly introduced ten years earlier during Outrageous, I loved that the tie in between the novels. Eva and Godric, the main characters from Outrageous, also make brief cameos in this novel. I liked how the novels connected while still being independent to give readers the option to read the novels as a complete series or as standalones. Celia’s arc as a reformed mean girl who is trying to make amends from those she wronged was a very compelling tale. Not only did she jilt Lucien, she was cruel to Phyllida and Richard in her past. As a reader, I greatly enjoyed how Celia involved Lucien ending up with Phyllida and how Richard plays a role in the intricate web.
Overall, I love how the story became about two couples who are each struggling to be happy together. When I read the prologue where both brothers liked the same girl, the story could have become a love triangle story, so I appreciate that the author took it into a new direction. Everyone in the story is not who they initially seem with some hiding more of themselves. The secrets are revealed in their own time in a natural way that both made sense and did not overwhelm the reader with too much occurring at once. There are many heart-breaking moments in this story that are nicely balanced with lovely heart-warming ones. The novel is very captivating and was difficult to put down as I became invested in each subplot. The series continues to interest me and I cannot wait to read the next novel, Dangerous, which will feature Lady Euphemia Marlington and Adam de Courtney!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Kensington Books, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**