Thursday, December 2, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: Unmasking Sin by Mary Lancaster

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

Mary Lancaster’s latest Regency Romance release is Book 3 in her Pleasure Garden series, Unmasking Sin.

This series is tied together by the somewhat scandalous attendance of the heroine of each novel at a masked evening of entertainment at the Maida Pleasure Gardens. It is a place for dancing and slightly risque fun for members of London Society, but it is also frequented by the lower classes and criminal elements and a good deal of drinking and carousing goes on. Each of the heroines has her own reasons for going there, which do not include finding a lover, but...

Lady Rebecca Cornish is this novel’s heroine. Although in her early twenties, she has already been widowed twice, earning her the title of Black Widow. Her reputation is further tarnished by accusations that she murdered her most recent husband (and probably first husband as well.) Rebecca is being besieged by her late husband’s uncles who are waging a campaign to see her prosecuted and to take away her son to be raised more respectably.

To that end, they have hired solicitor/investigator Ludovic Dunne to find proof that she killed their nephew. Dunne has a solid reputation for this kind of work and he trails Lady Cornish to the Pleasure Gardens, expecting to find she has slipped out for an assignation.

Instead, he finds a composed, extremely beautiful woman, whose vulnerability and fear he senses. He continues to investigate, but shortly realizes he is on the wrong side of this investigation. He works to uncover the truth, which he is certain will exonerate her, but in the process loses her trust.

The plot centers on finding out who is behind the rumors and what they stand to gain from them, rehabilitating Lady Cornish’s reputation, and, at the same time, unearthing the reason for Dunne’s crusading efforts against injustice of all kinds. Along the way, they fall in love.

This is a fast-paced adventure with strong male and female leads. The good guys are very good. The bad guys are nasty villains. It’s a fun Romance for whiling away a few hours.

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