~ Book Review: Infamous (ARC) ~

Expected publication date: March 21, 2023

Author: Lex Croucher

Twenty-two-year-old aspiring writer Edith (“Eddie”) Miller and her best friend Rose have always done everything together—from climbing trees and sneaking bottles of wine, to extensive kissing practice. But Rose has started talking about marriage, and Eddie is horrified. Why can’t they continue as they always have?

Then Eddie meets charming, renowned poet Nash Nicholson––a rival of Lord Byron, if he does say so himself––and he welcomes her into his world of eccentric artists and boundary-breaking visionaries. When Eddie receives an invitation to Nash’s crumbling Gothic estate in the countryside, promising inspiration (and time to finish her novel, a long-held dream), she eagerly agrees. But the pure hedonism and debauchery that ensues isn’t exactly what she had in mind, and Eddie soon finds herself torn between her complicated feelings for Rose and her equally complicated dynamic with Nash, whose increasingly bad behavior doesn’t match up to her vision for her literary hero.

Will Eddie be forced to choose between her friendship with Rose and her literary dreams––or will she be able to write her own happily ever after?

Infamous is my second novel by Lex Croucher after enjoyed Reputation. Edith “Eddie” Miller is a 22-year-old aspiring writer who has been best friends with Rose ever since childhood and promised each other they would never marry. This changes when Eddie and Rose meet Nash Nicholson, a poet and Eddie’s idol, at a dinner party. Nash invites Eddie to his Gothic estate to assist her finishing her novel. Through her time at the estate, the reader gets to know Nash better along with Eddie trying to figure out her friendship with Rose after their stances on marriage seem to change. While I loved to hate Nash as he was horrible yet captivating, I felt a lot of time was spent getting to know him better which overshadowed the real love interest, Rose.

With the story told mainly from Eddie, the reader relies on her perspective of the other characters and situations. The novel begins with Rose and Eddie together as platonic friends with some unconscious romantic undertones, so it was interesting to see how Eddie and Rose both attempt to acknowledge that the feelings may mean something more to them. Their chemistry was apparent from the beginning and the repression was felt. When Rose gets engaged to Albert, this affects her relationship with Eddie and the reader gets to see how the connection between Eddie and Rose changes. I wish the reader was given more exploration into Rose and Albert’s relationship and how it all relates to her relationship with Eddie.

Eddie is a fairly dense woman as it takes her awhile to see the reality of everything around her. While I am sure Rose has her internal reasons, even as a fictional character, about why she would want to ultimately be with Eddie, I felt the reader needed a little more from Eddie’s development. Eddie does get some good growth in the novel, but I feel it never quite reached its full potential. Aside from the romance’s progression, there is also Eddie’s writing career. This was an interesting aspect of the novel as the author herself is writing about an aspiring author. This was a well-done element of the writing as it interesting to see how the author herself would write about her creation’s writing journey. Overall, there were pieces of the story that were more well-written than others, but it was still an interesting tale. I enjoyed Reputation a little more, but I would still read more from the author in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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