Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Scandal Takes the Stage by Eva Leigh

Scandal Takes the Stage
by Eva Leigh
Series:  Wicked Quills of London #2
Pub. Date:  Oct. 27, 2015
Publisher:  Avon
Pages:  384
Format:  eARC
Source:  Edelweiss / Avon

My Rating:  
Sultry Scale:

Eva Leigh’s smart and sexy Wicked Quills of London series continues, with a playwright and a Viscount . . . together they may create a scandal worthy of the stage, but can their love last after the final curtain falls?

Successful playwright Maggie Delamere has no interest in the flirtations of noblemen like Cameron, Viscount Marwood. She once paid dearly for a moment of weakness . . . and vows to rebuff the wildly persistent—and irritatingly handsome—scoundrel at every turn. But when pressure to deliver a new play hampers her creativity, an invitation to use his country estate as a writer’s retreat is too tempting to resist...

For years, Cam has admired Maggie’s brilliant work, and he can’t pass up the opportunity to discover if the beautiful, mysterious playwright is as passionate and clever as the words that flow from her quill. He’s never offered a lady his bed without being in it, but if it means loosening Maggie’s pen—and her inhibitions—he’ll do exactly that. 

But soon Cam’s plans for seduction become a fight for Maggie’s heart. He’s more than the scandalous, carefree rake society believes him to be . . . and she’s the only woman who has ever noticed.

We first met Cam, Viscount Marwood, in Forever Your Earl, where he was best friends with Lord Ashwood. Cam is a rake, a rogue, a pleasure-seeking reprobate. His father despairs that he will ever do his duty and marry to provide the coveted heir. Despite the love between his parents and between Ashwood and his wife, Cam is jaded - he believes that love is too rare for him to find so he will never marry. I enjoyed Cam, he went through a great deal of personal growth in this book. I would have liked to connect with his character more. As much as I liked him, I would have loved to see some playful banter or some of his wicked behavior before he became so obsessed with Maggie.

Our Wicked Quill in this book is Maggie Delamere, playwright. Maggie has a tragic past, having been ruined by a member of the aristocracy and cast out by her family. We see a good deal of similarity between Maggie's past and the burlettas she writes for the Imperial Theater. She sees aristocrats as villains and avoids them like the plague. Now that her best friend has become the Duchess of Ashwood, and she has Lord Marwood dogging her steps, she can't stay as removed from the upper class as she would like. Maggie has to mature herself in this story, enough to see that not all aristos are evil. I liked Maggie, and enjoyed seeing her creative process. However other than her writing, her character seemed a bit detached. She was not really connected to anyone except during sexytimes with Cam... otherwise she just seemed to interact with people without a genuine relationship connection (whether it was Lady Ashwood, a theatrical, or Marwood).

Overall the story was entertaining and has all the hallmarks of modern historical romance... a rogue, a commoner, possible scandal, and steamier sex than you see in traditional historicals. While I enjoyed this story, I did not enjoy it to the extent that I loved Forever Your Earl. That book had such great banter, innuendos, and sexual tension, that I really missed those elements in this installment. However, I think the next Wicked Quill book is going to focus on the noble woman writing lady porn, so I think we may get some of that back and I am looking forward to reading it.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

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About the Author

EVA LEIGH is the pen name of a RITA® Award-nominated romance author who writes novels chock-full of smart women and sexy men. She enjoys baking, Tweeting about boots, and listening to music from the ‘80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Author Interview

What made you decide to write about historical romance rather than one of the other romantic subgenres? 

My first love in romance was historical romance, and that continues to this day. I love the combination of history and romance, learning about different times and customs, then combining all that with a tale about two people falling in love. There’s always some corner of history with a fascinating tale, plus I’m very interested in learning and writing about women in male-dominated fields.

Are you a historical guru, or do you have to do research for each book? If you research each story... tell us a little about it. How long does it take and what types of information are you looking for? 

A little of both. I have foundational knowledge about history, but I certainly don’t know everything! That’s when I turn to my research library and the internet to fill in the gaps. It can take a few minutes to weeks to get precisely the information I need. Plus the research definitely shapes the plot of the story, so I want to make sure I get everything right!

For those who have not yet read your books, can you tell us who (or what) are the Wicked Quills of London? 
The Wicked Quills of London is a series about three women writers in Regency England. Each heroine has her own specific specialty. Eleanor Hawke, the heroine of Forever Your Earl, owns and edits (as well as contributes to) a popular scandal rag called The Hawk’s Eye. Margaret Delamere, from Scandal Takes the Stage (November 2015), is a playwright. And Lady Sarah Frampton, the heroine of Temptations of a Wallflower (May 2016), secretly writes anonymous erotic novels.
A woman writing professionally during the Regency period is an extremely daring and subversive act—she’s getting paid to speak her mind! So I wanted to capture that sense of audacity and determination in these books. 
Have you planned out the entire series for the Wicked Quills characters, or are you still developing it? Can you give us a sneak peak at what the future holds for the series? 

All the books have been written, though I’m currently in revision stages for Temptations of a Wallflower. Each book is set in a different realm of writing. For example, Scandal Takes the Stage is, as you might expect, set within the world of the theater, so we get to see a different side of Regency England. With Temptations of a Wallflower, the heroine is a duke’s daughter, so it’s doubly scandalous that she writes erotic novels—plus her hero is a vicar! I loved writing him.
Do you have any interesting, funny or just plain weird writing quirks? 
My husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, is deeply involved in my writing process. We hammer out the story together, and then I go off and write it. He’s my beta reader and gives me thorough notes before my editor sees it.
Also, I listen to a lot of ’80s music when I work! 
If you could live in any other time period, when would you live and why?
Honestly, I would rather visit a time period rather than live in it. I like my contact lenses and ability to vote! But actually walking around during the 18th century or Regency for a day or two would be amazing, just to see what life was really like. 
What do you have in the works now? 
Revisions on Temptations of a Wallflower are my top priority right now! A naughty vicar is extremely important to me. 


Wicked Quills of London Series