Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal - Grace Burrowes (Sourcebooks Casablanca - May 2012)

Series: Duke's Daughters (Book 2)


And she's been perfectly capable of keeping them...until now. When she's threatened with exposure, she turns to investigator Benjamin Hazlit to keep catastrophe at bay. But Maggie herself intrigues Benjamin more than the riddle she's set him to solve. As he uncovers more and more of her past, Maggie struggles to keep him at a distance, until they both begin to discover the truth in their hearts...

Good book.  Lady Maggie is the Duke's oldest daughter.  She is also illegitimate, though he did adopt her.  She has been an important part of their family all along.  Maggie is very independent and is determined that she won't marry.  She has her own household and is a bit of a financial genius.  When her reticule (purse) goes missing with some very personal items in it she hires Ben Hazlit to find it.  Ben has worked for her family before and Maggie has always intrigued him.  In order to find her missing property they will have to spend time together and he suggests a fake courtship to prevent rumors.  But the more time they spend together the more Ben wants to make it real and Maggie is afraid to.

Maggie's independence is something she has worked hard for.  Even though she loves her family and knows that she is loved by them, she still feels disconnected.  She has distanced herself from them in order to protect them from her scandalous background.  She is very conscious of being the daughter of a courtesan and lives a life that she keeps clear of any hint of impropriety.  When her bag with some very personal letters goes missing she hires Ben to find it.  But her stubbornness prevents her from telling him everything he needs to know to find it.  She consents to his fake courtship, but is frustrated by the way that he acts as if it is real.  She doesn't plan to ever marry as she doesn't want her background to reflect badly on a spouse.  She is drawn to Ben in a way that she has never felt before.  She would like nothing better than to make it real also but feels it is impossible.  I loved her closeness to her family.  She was determined to protect them and therefore didn't tell them what had been going on.  I felt that she didn't give them the credit they deserved, as they would have solved her problem without her having to go through everything she went through.  Her feelings for Ben were growing stronger every day but she still had problems trusting him enough to tell him everything.  When she could separate herself from her problems, I loved seeing the wonderful relationship that was growing between them.  Finally allowing herself to trust Ben completely not only solved her problem but knocked down the last of the barriers between herself and her family.  She also allowed herself  to fulfill her own dreams.

Ben has been working as an investigator to various members of society for a long time.  He prides himself on his ability to do what needs to be done with discretion and honor.  When Maggie comes to him for help he nearly turns her down because of her refusal to give him all the necessary information.  But he is fascinated by her and also senses that the secrets she keeps are tearing her up.  He uses the fake courtship as a way to meet with her without arousing suspicions but soon finds that he is more interested in Maggie herself than in finding her property.  I really liked his ability to see beneath the prickles to the woman beneath.  He saw in her the same kind of loneliness that he suffered from and found that he wanted to make their "courtship" real.  His frustration at her secretiveness was real and he found himself doing things he didn't usually do while trying to help her.  He was also very protective of her which started him realizing that she meant more to him that just a job.  I loved his support of her and how he accepted how much her independence meant to her.  The resolution of her problem was handled perfectly by Ben and her family.  

I really enjoyed seeing more of the Duke's family.  From being such a pain in the first books it becomes more obvious that the Duke loves his family very much.  I really enjoyed seeing more of his relationship with his wife and how devoted they are to each other.  I loved the way that they worked together for the benefit of their family.  I also enjoyed seeing the relationship the brothers had with Maggie, their obvious love for her and how they wanted her to be happy.  

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