Would an English nobleman of the highest power risk his reputation and forsake his title for the love of a woman? Would that same woman, if she returns his love and respects his character, allow him to do so?
Throughout history, kingdoms, empires, and dynasties have thrived or perished by the power of reputation. During the Regency era, one’s reputation bespoke of important personality traits and epitomized an individual’s societal worth. Reputation, like a calling card, signified honor, intelligence, character, and status woven tightly together in a single word that possessed the power to travel far beyond any glittering ballroom.
In my new Regency historical romance, Duchess If You Dare, the importance of reputation is explored from both sides. The Duke of Aylesford is a man of the people, forever in the public eye and obligated to maintain a dignified reputation. Scarlett Wynn, the heroine, has a humbler beginning, and while, at first, her reputation may not weigh the same in the public’s opinion, it acquires equivocal power once Aylesford falls in love with her.
Maintaining a pristine reputation in the eyes of society has always been a difficult task, but for a duke or duchess, the endeavor proved vital to aristocratic existence. Reputation was an ever-present shadow that reminded one how easily public opinion could be swayed. His and Her Grace were held to the highest regard with an expectation of perfection everyone else wanted to achieve.
Still, while a powerful dukedom is built on a foundation of respectability, a duty-bound duke is not exempt from the mercy of love’s whims. Whether or not to uphold obligation and ignore matters of the heart presents a difficult dichotomy of circumstances. In that manner and in my story, romance and reputation are pleasantly contradictory.
As an everlasting theme, my historical romances remind readers that when hope prevails, love often conquers hardship, even when faced with a challenging decision.
Anabelle Bryant is the USA Today best-selling author of historical romance, including the Maidens of Mayhem, the Midnight Secrets series, and the Bastards of London series. With an MA and ABD in earning her Ph.D. in education, she has studied at Rutgers University and Kean University in New Jersey. When not in front of a classroom, she can be found in front of her laptop writing Regency romance and pursuing daydreams. Readers can connect with her at AnabelleBryant.com.
About the Book
From the glittering ballrooms of the ton to the city’s grittiest corners, London has no shortage of wrongs in need of righting—and the Maidens of Mayhem are prepared for the challenge. United by secrecy and sisterhood, these daring women from all walks of life aim to fight injustice wherever it takes them—even into the arms of unexpected love … .
Scarlett Wynn’s tragic childhood taught her that life can be cruel to women with little power. So when a local seamstress disappears, Scarlett vows to find out why. Armed with a weapon and her courage, Scarlett scours London for clues—and crosses the unlikely path of Ambrose Cross, the Duke of Aylesford, at an unlikely place: an upscale brothel. The duke is trying to solve a mystery of his own, and Scarlett is sure they can help each other—if she can resist the attraction that draws them together.
As duke, Ambrose is duty-bound to protect his family name from scandal no matter the cost. But Scarlett’s fearless spirit forces him to look beyond his world of privilege. Scarlett is as intoxicating as she is dangerous, igniting a fire in him like no other. But when the pair learn both mysteries they’re trying to solve are tied to a string of missing women, the tangled scheme they uncover may put their lives, and their growing love, in mortal danger—and lead them to search their hearts like never before.