This sensual and entertaining tale evokes the delightful world of historical England and gives a glimpse of some of the strictures placed on young females and the stringent repercussions of errors. I found Wilhelmina to be a little obtuse about her attractiveness and oddly naive about her allure but it was enjoyable to read about her interests and her participation in the ‘Ladies Reading Society’ with their radical interests. The glimpses of Bellingham’s depravities are chilling and it is disturbing to realize that his actions were performed with disregard for the dictates of decent behavior that he felt his status gave him license to disregard. I enjoy the vivid scenes that this author evokes and look forward to reading other tales in this series.
“Compromising Willa” by Diana Quincy is part of the historical romance Accidental Peers series and centers on Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope, a twenty-three year old female who has had her share of notoriety. Grey Preston, the Duke of Hartwell, having been abroad, is unaware of the scandal that surrounds the female who he considers “like a Gunter’s lemon ice--tangy, tart and delectably frosty” but he is definitely intrigued by her feisty personality. Unfortunately, they both have a past history with Augustus Manning, the recently elevated Earl of Bellingham, and their relationship and growing attraction is soured by his inimical presence. Grey has not gotten where he is by being faint of heart and he is determined to win the woman he has come to care for, no matter what the obstacles are.
England, 1805 Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope is ruined and everyone knows it. Back in Town for the first season since her downfall, Willa plans to remain firmly on the shelf, assuming only fortune hunters will want her now. Instead she focuses on her unique tea blends, secretly supporting a coffee house which employs poor women and children. If her clandestine involvement in trade is discovered, she'll be ruined. Again.
No one is more shocked by Willa's lack of quality suitors than the newly minted Duke of Hartwell. Having just returned from India, the dark duke is instantly attracted to the mysterious wallflower. His pursuit is hampered by the ruthless Earl of Bellingham, who once jilted Willa and is now determined to reclaim her.
Caught between the clash of two powerful men, a furious Willa refuses to concede her independence to save her reputation. But will she compromise her heart?