This is a quote from my review of the first book in this series, The Importance of Being Scandalous:
I’m just going to put this out there and hope for the best, I WANT JASPER AND JULIA TO END UP TOGETHER. From about the 50% mark I got this in my head and couldn’t let it go. I went to Goodreads, no synopsis. I went to the author’s website, no synopsis. I can’t think of a better hero for Julia and I will be so upset if someone else sweeps her off her feet and into his arms.
Welp, I got my wish. The hero in A Scandal By Any Other Name is indeed Jasper and his heroine is Julia. YES!
Jasper De Vere, Viscount Bellamy, has lost his grandfather and is grief-stricken over his death. At the ceremony that would officially have him step into his grandfather’s shoes as the Duke of Albemarle, Jasper panics and takes off. He leaves everything behind and heads toward his best friend’s home in the countryside. With Nicholas and his new bride, Amelia, off on their honeymoon, he should have the time he needs to come to terms with becoming the head of his family. Instead he runs into a tantalizing, interesting woman who happens to be Nicholas’s relative and is staying at the very same residence he is headed toward.
Julia Bishop was born with a rare spinal condition. Her life has been filled with surgeries, and schedules and medications. She’s endured cruel whispers and dirty looks and knows that most people can be cruel about things they don’t understand or about people who they view as different. But she has always had the support of her father and a closeness with her sister, Amelia, that has helped her get through all the pain of her childhood. Then one afternoon, while out riding on her sister’s estate, she quite literally runs into her brother-in-law’s best friend. They’ve never been formally introduced, so it’s easy for her to give a false name and pass off her limp as an injury from their horses colliding. She just wants to live in the moment with a beautiful man for as long as she can, this is one adventure she is determined to have.
Hmmm…. I just finished this book about an hour ago and I’m still thinking about what I liked, and what I didn’t. I enjoyed these two characters so very much in the first book. Jasper and his laughing, joking, reckless ways and Julia who is stubborn and defiant in the face of so many people’s scorn. I couldn’t wait to get to their romance! Then in the first chapter Jasper runs away from his duty like a child and I was kind of like hmmmm… that’s interesting. Then he runs into Julia and she gives a fake name and identity and I was like hmmmm… that’s interesting. Not how I was expecting this romance to begin, but okay.
Jasper and Julia did have chemistry and I enjoyed their back and forth banter. Julia throws herself wholeheartedly into being scandalous, thinking that this may be her only chance at a great love affair. Jasper is into it too, until he finds out that the woman who he has been whispering sweet nothings to is actually his best friend’s sister-in-law, not his cousin. Then he backs off to a degree and tries to do the right thing by her. That is when their romance truly takes off. All of their fears come forward, his about having to live up to the impossible standards of his grandfather, and Julia’s having to trust that Jasper won’t look at her differently when he discovers her scars and the things she views as ugly. I really do think this author handled Julia’s disability well. Julia has understandable fears and hesitancies that force this couple to take it slow and get to know each other. I liked that it was Jasper who put the brakes on full on sexy times until Julia truly trusted him completely.
There is almost no outside conflict to this relationship. This is all Julia coming to trust that Jasper would want something more than temporary with her, and Jasper finally finding something that forces him to have to live up to his responsibilities. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. There were times I set this book aside and thought about picking something else up. As much as I wanted to love it, there was something keeping me from devouring it whole in one sitting. Maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was the lack of outside conflict, I’m not completely sure. I am hoping that despite the name of this series being A Tale of Two Sisters that Jasper’s sister Ruby will have her own HEA soon. She’s an interesting character that I would like to get to know better. Final grade-C+
“The world answers to us, Julia. Not the other way around.”