~ Book Review: A Spinster’s Guide to Danger and Dukes (Ladies Most Scandalous #3) (ARC) ~

Expected publication March 28, 2023

Author: Manda Collins

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady in danger must be in need of rescue, but whether she wants to be rescued is up for debate—for fans of Evie Dunmore and Netflix’s Bridgerton from the bestselling author of A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem!

England, 1867: Miss Poppy Delamare is living a lie. To escape an odious betrothal, she fled to London where she’s been hiding as the unassuming secretary Flora Deaver. However, when her beloved sister is accused of murder, Poppy cannot leave her to the wolves. Only a most unexpected—and unwelcome—collision interrupts her journey home . . .

Despite a rather dismal first meeting, Joshua Fielding, the Duke of Langham, has no intention of abandoning a lady in need. But he’s not above asking a favor. A fake betrothal will give Poppy and her sister the power of the dukedom and protect Langham from the society misses intent on becoming his duchess.

Yet the longer the ruse goes on, the more Poppy and Langham realize how false their first impressions were—and the less pretend their engagement feels. But before Langham can propose in truth, their search reveals a tangled web of lies and betrayals. With time running out, can Poppy and Langham find the real culprit—before Poppy becomes the next victim?

A Spinster’s Guide to Danger and Dukes is the third novel in the Ladies Most Scandalous series. The novels in the series could be read as standalones, but I believe they read best in order. The previous stories give some nice foundation for the world, but this could easily be understood on its own. This story follows Poppy Delamre who is also known as Flora Deaver, secretary to Lady Katherine Eversham. She is called back home when her sister, Violet, is accused of murder and Poppy is determined to prove Violet’s innocence. While trying to get to Little Kidding, she runs into the Duke of Langham, Joshua Fielding. The rest of the novel explores Poppy’s complex family dynamic, the mystery of the murder, and her getting to know Joshua.

The setting in the countryside was the first element that stood out to me as stories like this typically take place in a more city-like setting. To spend time together and to keep up appearances in society, Poppy and Joshua have a fake engagement. I love these scenarios to bring the characters together as they are a great way for the characters to naturally get to know each other in their own way through a forced proximity scenario. Even though the two spend time together through the ruse, they open-up to each other in their own ways. I loved that Langham had a genuine desire to help Poppy, which helped the situation not seem very forced. They had great banter and chemistry, but there were parts of their relationship that were rushed. As the story also includes the mystery aspect, there was not a smooth integration of both together.

As for the mystery, this part tended to outshine the romance a little, for me. I still loved the romance, but I found the mystery done slightly better. It was cozy and “fun” where it was easy enough to put together clues, yet you still wanted to read to find out more. I loved the complex family dynamics and the general drama for both Joshua and Poppy as they were unique, yet they were nicely explored in a natural manner. The entire story went nicely with the other two in the series with some cameos from the other characters yet remained great as a standalone. I love this type of set-up as readers on both sides can enjoy the story equally. Overall, this was a fun addition to the series and a unique standout compared to the other two novels yet still went together nicely as part of a series. I look forward to reading whatever Manda Collins comes up with next!

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

3 thoughts on “~ Book Review: A Spinster’s Guide to Danger and Dukes (Ladies Most Scandalous #3) (ARC) ~

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