A Breath of Scandal by Elizabeth Essex, is an historical romance that takes place during Napoleon’s initial exile. Antigone Preston’s father has suddenly died, and she, her sister Cassandra, and their mother are in shock and grieving. Soon, Antigone finds out that her mother has betrothed her, without her consent, to a much older neighbor. Mrs. Preston claims the betrothal is necessary to keep the family from the poorhouse and to arrange a suitable entrance into society, and marriage for Cassandra. Antigone is horrified, but finally agrees to pretend to be betrothed and then break it off, once Cassandra’s future is secured.
However, fate intervenes when Antigone meets Captain William Jellicoe at a party. She is attempting to hide in the library, and so is Will, who has recently returned from the war. They bond over stiff drinks that Antigone finds hidden in a cabinet, and soon find themselves having wild adventures around the countryside. After bar brawls, horse rides, bloodied noses, and hours of conversation, their bond is unmistakable, but they have plenty of obstacles in the way, before they can ride off into the sunset.
Antigone and Will are both colorful, likable characters, full of verve and honesty. The story moves along quickly, and their courtship is unique and full of laughter. Will isn’t afraid of Antigone’s brain or brawn, and Antigone appreciates Will’s honor, honesty and loyalty. My only complaint is that Antigone’s mother is too caricatured, and I found it hard to believe that she was the wife of Antigone’s father, and mother to Antigone and Cassandra. Her utter lack of morals and love is hard to believe.
Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed the latest novel in the Reckless Brides series by Elizabeth Essex, and I would recommend it to anyone enjoying a good romance full of humor and interesting characters.