Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Infamous by Minerva Spencer: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Infamous by Minerva Spencer

Infamous is the third book in Rebels of the Ton series by Minerva Spencer. It’s a Regency romance set in the early 19th century England and the world of its aristocrats.

It’s a series only in a loose sense. The people featured in this book made only a brief appearance in the epilogue of the previous book and vice versa. However, most of the characters have been introduced in Spencer’s previous series, Outcasts, and are familiar to readers of that. I haven’t read them, and as the author assumed familiarity, it left me feeling a bit of an outsider throughout the book.

The book begins a decade before the actual events. Celia, the pet of the ton is also its meanest person. Egged on by an equally mean duke, she creates a scandal that forces two people, Lucian and Phyllida, to marry. But the scandal destroys her too and a decade later she’s living retired life as a companion of an old lady. She’s learned her lesson and is transformed, but when she’s forced to spend Christmas at Luce and Phil’s manor, old hurts surface. As does her old attraction to Richard, Luce’s twin brother.

Richard hasn’t been bothered by the scandal, living his dream life as an entomologist and travelling around the world. His sister’s Christmas wedding forces him to return home, only to find Celia there, the woman he was attracted to a decade earlier. But her sister’s fiancĂ© is the same horrible duke that ruined Celia’s life—and Lucian’s too.

There are two romances in this book, with own point of view chapters for every party: Richard and Celia, and Luce and Phil. Despite having been married for a decade, the latter are strangers to each other. Celia’s sudden presence forces them to take stock of their marriage and build a better relationship. I was more invested in their romance. I found it sweet and a bit heart-breaking too.

Richard and Celia were a more typical couple. Since Richard didn’t feel ill-done by Celia, there wasn’t a great baggage between them. Their romance was built during time spent together. They were good scenes, but at some point I began to grow bored, as they didn’t really drive the plot forward, making the middle part of the book slow and too long.

There was only a minimal plot outside the romance. The dastardly duke made his move at the end of the book, but until then no one tried to do anything about him, not even to stop an innocent girl from marrying him. Plot-wise, then, this was a bit of a disappointment. But the writing was good, people were interesting and there was a happy ending for everyone involved, so it left me feeling good.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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