A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce

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In 1830s London, scandalized whispers surround the pub known as The Sleeping Dove. A hidden bordello, the rumors say, catering to straying nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations. Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true–she plays piano at the Dove, known only as “The Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful. Tales swirl as to her real origin: some patrons claim that she was an orphan prodigy, others go so far as to name her concubine to the King.The society ladies call the reluctant Duke of Lennox “The Uncatchable,” not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died and it has been little else but a burden. He spends his days mired in responsibilities and his nights pursued at endless balls by fortune-hunting debutantes. He is morose, serious, and tense. When a friend brings him to the Sleeping Dove in an attempt to lighten his mood, the consequences of those good intentions are far greater. When the Duke of Lennox finds himself at the Bawdy Bluestocking’s piano, they begin to play a dangerous melody. Though Elias cannot resist courting Josie, she has a past to protect, a shaky future, and no time for frivolous nobility with soft hands. When the Duke uncovers the truth, will he wish he had never begun the tune?

Publisher and Release Date: Montlake Romance, October 2013

RHR Classifications:

Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 5 Stars

Review by Lizzie English

This book was fantastic on all levels, and it was something that I did not expect. It doesn’t take long for the action to start as Elias Addison, Duke of Lennox, is dragged to The Sleeping Dove by one of his friends. The Dove is a house of ill repute where money gets you any lady you want; except for the one that immediately catches Lennox’s eye, the establishment’s pianist. Intrigued, he can do nothing more than pay for some time with her and the pleasure of her conversation.  All it takes is a few minutes before “the Uncatchable” Duke of Lennox is enamored with the lady that they call the “Bawdy Bluestocking”.

Josephine Grant runs a book shop by day and at night she’s the piano player in a brothel. She took on the shop after her father’s death, and with it came debts. Because of this she takes the money she earns from the club to keep her father’s business afloat. Josephine isn’t who she says she is which draws in the Duke of Lennox. He’s intrigued by the “Not Ms. Grant” and will do anything to try to get her to reveal her true identity. Josephine will stop that from ever happening, with her name change comes a dark past that she doesn’t want anyone to know she went through.

The romance is lovely, Elias and Josephine have fantastic chemistry, especially considering Josephine tries to push him away so much. All she wants is to be able to run her bookshop and save some girls from their awful lives as prostitutes. Elias admires her tenacity and her desire to be her own person. However, Elias does over step some bounds by assuming that just because she is in love with him he is entitled to rule her life. Josephine pulls away from him at this point, and soon her life is thrown off kilter as her secrets come to light. Elias will do anything to be with his “Not Ms. Grant” and proves that throughout the book. With his over stepping bounds Josephine does make some rash decisions when it comes to their love and has to realize that she shouldn’t have any doubts.

The characters of the novel are ones that will stay with you. It’s easy to remember the Uncatchable Elias Addison and the Josephine-Not-Grant. The plot, while it can be a bit predictable, is still enjoyable. I found myself really invested in trying to figure out what was going on with Josephine’s past – which, when eventually revealed, came as a bit of a surprise. But it was a good surprise that explained her character and made her actions toward Elias all the more understandable.

2 thoughts on “A Man Above Reproach by Evelyn Pryce

    • It’s really good! I read it ages ago, took forever to do the review, but I was able to remember it so well! You’ll enjoy it!

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