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An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire

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Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton! England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It m Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton! England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her. After Caro's dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father's business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself? Val--the new Viscount Wrackham--is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he's ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she's never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day. As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he's a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance--before death does them part?


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Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton! England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It m Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem—for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton! England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her. After Caro's dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father's business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself? Val--the new Viscount Wrackham--is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he's ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she's never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day. As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he's a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance--before death does them part?

30 review for An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chloe F

    First I want to say thank you to Netgalley for letting me receive this in exchange for an honest review! I don’t want to say to much, so i’ll just say this was really good. Caro and Val’s romance was so cute and the mystery was so fun. The story was easy to follow and I enjoyed the second chance romance aspect of this. Overall I’d give this book a 5/5.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars Series: A Lady’s Guide #2 Publication Date: 11/16/21 Period: Victorian England - 1867 Number of Pages: 352 I smiled and sighed the entire way through this delightfully witty, romantic, and entertaining book. Our socially mismatched protagonists were secretly betrothed two years ago, but she called it off because she realized he was as snobbish as the rest of his family and her life would be miserable if she married him. Now, her good friend and his cousin have been kidn Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 Stars Series: A Lady’s Guide #2 Publication Date: 11/16/21 Period: Victorian England - 1867 Number of Pages: 352 I smiled and sighed the entire way through this delightfully witty, romantic, and entertaining book. Our socially mismatched protagonists were secretly betrothed two years ago, but she called it off because she realized he was as snobbish as the rest of his family and her life would be miserable if she married him. Now, her good friend and his cousin have been kidnapped and they’ll have to work together to save them. Can they put aside their pasts and work together? Will their love be rekindled? Ooooh – you’ll just have to read it to see. We first met Caro and Val in ‘A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem’, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting their story – and it was well worth the wait. I was instantly smitten with both characters and I thoroughly enjoyed watching them rekindle their love and work out their differences. Miss Caroline Hardcastle is many things – a journalist, a writer of cookbooks, a fierce believer in class equality, a tiny pocket Venus, an excessively wealthy heiress, a loving (but put upon) daughter, a devotedly loyal friend, and very, very independent. When she learns one of her best friends, Effie Warrington, a very popular actress, has been kidnapped, Caro will do whatever it takes to find and rescue her. Caro knows Effie is betrothed to – and madly in love with – Francis Thorn. Caro also knows, thanks to the newspaper column she writes, the men in a woman’s life are the ones who usually cause her harm. Did Francis have something to do with Effie’s disappearance? When she arrives at Effie’s home to learn all of the details, she’s shocked at who is already there. Val is Francis’s cousin and he’s there to ‘save’ him. Caro and Val are hissing at each other from the moment Caro enters the room, so how can they begin to work together to save Effie – especially when Caro thinks Val’s only interest is protecting his cousin and the precious Thorn family name. Valentine Thorn, newly minted Viscount Wrackham, has had a very hard time over the last two years. First, he lost the only woman he’s ever loved because he wasn’t man enough to stand up for her against his brother’s snobbish comments about her and her parents. Then, he lost his brother in a senseless accident. After a year of mourning for his beloved brother, his cousin has been attacked during the abduction of his betrothed. He knows Caro will immediately believe Francis is responsible for harming Effie – but Val knows Francis couldn’t have had anything to do with it and it is his job to protect him. Though they are wary of each other, and Caro doesn’t trust Val, they have to find a way to work together if they are going to save Effie – and Francis. Val has learned a lot in the two years since Caro broke their betrothal and he’s learning he needs to stand up to his family – particularly his father. When their investigation causes Caro to be compromised, their marriage is the only way to save her reputation. Can Val stand up to his father and protect Caro from his class snobbishness? Can Caro learn to trust Val again? Can they trust each other enough to let themselves fully love each other again? I can definitely recommend this highly entertaining, romantic, and witty book. The romance is wonderful and there is even a lovely epilogue. You’ll love all of the characters – and – we spend some time with the protagonists in the next book – Miss Flora Deaver and the Duke of Langham. Sadly, we’ll have to wait until this time next year for their book. It will, I’m sure, be worth the wait. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    ‘England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her. After Caro's dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father's business ‘England, 1867 : As half of the writing duo behind England's most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her. After Caro's dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father's business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution . . . but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself? Val--the new Viscount Wrackham--is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he's ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she's never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day. As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he's a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance--before death does them part?’ ________________ An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire is the second book in Mirand Collins’ A Lady’s Guide series and is a historical mystery and romance. I did not read the previous book in the series and this is the first book by this author that I have read. I do think that my reading was impacted by not having read the first book in the series and so I recommend reading A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem prior to starting this book. Val and Caro were previously involved in a secret engagement which ended on less than amicable terms during the first book and this is a source of great tension between them when they meet again for this investigation. We are given an overview of how things went wrong between them, but much of the substance of their relationship is tied up in their early connection. I think had I been more familiar with their earlier relationship, the resolution between them may have felt more satisfying, but based on just this book things felt rushed over to me. The mystery of missing individuals (and I’ll be vague so as to not give anything away here) was intended to be the most central plot point, but that thread seems to be dropped a bit on more than one occasion. I’m afraid I would not feel the least comforted to know these characters were searching for me if I were missing. Things do get back on course with the mystery though and there is a satisfactory amount of danger here, which will always be my favorite aspect of any mystery. I thought the last quarter of the book was where the story was really able to shine and was the part of the story I enjoyed most. Overall, I found Val and Caro to be cute and I think it was sweet that they got a second chance together. They mystery had a dramatic introduction, which was followed by a bit of meandering, but everything came together in the end and I enjoyed the resolution. I would possibly read more in this series, but I think only after going back to read the first book of the series as I want to ensure I would have all the necessary background information before starting the next book. _____ I would like to thank NetGalley and Forever(Grand Central Publishing) for sharing an eARC of An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire with me. This is my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kasia

    **Copy of this book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I feel like this book is taking itself way to seriously. For a mystery mixed with romance it's surprisingly somber, contrived language makes it difficult to get into and I still can't decide who I disliked more - main heroine or main hero. Still, her words surprised a laugh out of him. "You truly must think me a self-important ass." "I think you are a man." Caro shrugged. "So, perhaps?" Caroline Hardcastle is ahead of her **Copy of this book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review** I feel like this book is taking itself way to seriously. For a mystery mixed with romance it's surprisingly somber, contrived language makes it difficult to get into and I still can't decide who I disliked more - main heroine or main hero. Still, her words surprised a laugh out of him. "You truly must think me a self-important ass." "I think you are a man." Caro shrugged. "So, perhaps?" Caroline Hardcastle is ahead of her times at least 150 years because she is having a mentality of a late XXI century social justice warrior sprinkled heavily with a concerning misandry. She skips boycotting corsets or championing basic women's rights and goes straight to complaining about men and how every bad thing that is happening to women are only because of them. How the romance might be possible in this setup? Well, you just have to create a doormat of a guy that will be there just to agree with everything that main heroine says, apologize to her on multiple occasions, double and then triple his efforts to gain her trust and be ready to strike anyone who ever says a bad word about any woman. Sheesh. How about the mystery? Well, the mystery is an excuse to lament some more about how women are disadvantaged, constantly on the mercy of predatory men. Skillfully done, this whole complaining would be a compelling part of the plot but repeated over and over again and tainted with hate to all men it is just not doing it for me. Solution to the mystery is pushed aside to make more room for romance, introduction of a heroine and hero of the next installment, introduction of a cat (which was pointless for me but I see that cat-lovers will appreciate this part) and pretty much everything else. I was actually surprised that the mystery part didn't get removed from the book completely. Ultimately I wasn't interested in that part of book and it didn't gave me any emotions. Overall, this was definitely not a read for me, but if you find yourself in the moment when some male-bashing would be appreciated then go for it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    book bruin

    3.5 stars This was an entertaining marriage of convenience and second chance romance, with a healthy dose of mystery. Second chance is a tough trope to pull off sometimes, but the circumstances surrounding Caroline (Caro) and Valentine’s (Val) separation really worked. It allowed both characters the time necessary to grow and mature. I did feel that the mystery plot took center stage in the book and I would have preferred more of the focus be on Caro and Val’s romance. As much as I liked Val and 3.5 stars This was an entertaining marriage of convenience and second chance romance, with a healthy dose of mystery. Second chance is a tough trope to pull off sometimes, but the circumstances surrounding Caroline (Caro) and Valentine’s (Val) separation really worked. It allowed both characters the time necessary to grow and mature. I did feel that the mystery plot took center stage in the book and I would have preferred more of the focus be on Caro and Val’s romance. As much as I liked Val and Caro as a couple, I needed more page time showing them reconnecting and getting to know each other for their romance to truly work. Unfortunately, after a strong start, the pacing slowed and the story lost momentum, which made the book feel overly long. I really loved the strong female characters and friendships in the book. I appreciated that Caro and Kate relied on their intellect and ingenuity to get out of sticky situations, instead of waiting to be rescued. I also enjoyed seeing the sparks fly between Flora and the Duke of Langham and am interested to see how their story unfolds in the next book. Audiobook Review Overall 3.5 stars Performance 5 stars Overall 3-3.5 stars Mary Jane Wells is my favorite historical romance narrator. I am always impressed by her ability to perform a wide variety of accents and characters in a clear and unique way. It’s always a wonderful listening experience when she narrates. * I voluntarily read and listened to an advance review copy of this book *

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This was fun and another one that set up the next book REALLY well.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    So this one’s my bad. While I saw this was a romance book, it’s really more of a mystery with romance mixed in. That’s not what I was looking for, therefore my expectations were way out of line. If you want a historical mystery with romance woven in, this is for you.

  8. 5 out of 5

    PlotTrysts

    An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire is a nice follow-up to last year's A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. That one established Caroline and Katherine as a pair of newspaper sleuths who also happened to be ladies, and also introduced Valentine as a duke's second son who had a mysterious romantic past with Caro. Well, this book sees Val elevated to duke's heir, and we find out all about what happened between him and Caro. While they're figuring out their romantic relationship, they're a An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire is a nice follow-up to last year's A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. That one established Caroline and Katherine as a pair of newspaper sleuths who also happened to be ladies, and also introduced Valentine as a duke's second son who had a mysterious romantic past with Caro. Well, this book sees Val elevated to duke's heir, and we find out all about what happened between him and Caro. While they're figuring out their romantic relationship, they're also working on a new mystery involving Val's cousin and his celebrated actress fiancee (!) who has disappeared. This is more romance with a heavy helping of mystery than it is a mystery with a dash of romance. There are historical romance conventions aplenty (including carriage ride makeouts, fake engagements, and awkward family gatherings in theater boxes), but the mystery is well-developed. It's also nice that the mystery is a disappearance, rather than another murder. Since we included it for the first book, rest assured HR lovers - yes, the book is steamy - but not too steamy! 9-Word Summaries: Meg: Solving mysteries together can allow reevaluation of failed relationships. Laine: Ruined by your ex during an investigation? Dual-purpose honeymoon. This objective review is based on a complimentary copy of the novel.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carol lowkey.bookish

    A light and fun historical romcom! This is the second book in the A Lady’s Guide series. I read the first book in the series and really liked Caroline and Val’s characters and looked forward to their story. I enjoyed the enemies to lovers/fake engagement part of this book. Also the witty banter between Caroline and Val. I do wish the enemies part of the story would have lasted a little longer before all was forgiven. The mystery part of the book - what happened to Caro’s missing friend wasn’t comp A light and fun historical romcom! This is the second book in the A Lady’s Guide series. I read the first book in the series and really liked Caroline and Val’s characters and looked forward to their story. I enjoyed the enemies to lovers/fake engagement part of this book. Also the witty banter between Caroline and Val. I do wish the enemies part of the story would have lasted a little longer before all was forgiven. The mystery part of the book - what happened to Caro’s missing friend wasn’t complex enough to make it an engaging part of the story. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want this group of people looking for me if I were lost! The book does pick up at the end with some light steam, found friend, and a satisfying HEA. I received a free review copy from the publisher in exchange for my hones review. 3.5 rounded up

  10. 5 out of 5

    Charlottesville Bookworm Jeannine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The class mismatched couple thing is obviously going to be a consistent theme in this series. This installment benefitted from Caro and Val having more of a backstory. I liked it...and Caro’s reason for walking away from Val was understandable (In the first book, Kate and Andrew’s relationship was very instalove). The mystery meandered a bit in the middle and I thought the timing of the wedding was totally bizarre. I mean, our friend and your cousin are missing, but let’s take a timeout for a rus The class mismatched couple thing is obviously going to be a consistent theme in this series. This installment benefitted from Caro and Val having more of a backstory. I liked it...and Caro’s reason for walking away from Val was understandable (In the first book, Kate and Andrew’s relationship was very instalove). The mystery meandered a bit in the middle and I thought the timing of the wedding was totally bizarre. I mean, our friend and your cousin are missing, but let’s take a timeout for a rushed wedding! The fact that the women figure things out is perfect and the conclusion is satisfactory, even though it’s kind of a stretch that Effie and Frank get married, too. It’s 1867, after all. The aristocracy wasn’t as enlightened as they’re given credit for at that point. It takes a bit longer. Anyway, it’s cute and sweet, and a fast read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samantha W.

    After much deliberation I decided to put this one on the dnf shelf. I'm not a fan of second chance romances, and the mystery of this one definitely was taking too long. Half way through and were no closer to figuring out what happened to the kidnapped actress etc. So, moving on. If I'm only reading 24 books this year, I want them to be fun. After much deliberation I decided to put this one on the dnf shelf. I'm not a fan of second chance romances, and the mystery of this one definitely was taking too long. Half way through and were no closer to figuring out what happened to the kidnapped actress etc. So, moving on. If I'm only reading 24 books this year, I want them to be fun.

  12. 4 out of 5

    lazybookconqueror

    What a light and fun historical romance. I believe this is the second book in a series, and since I didn't read the first one, I felt like I needed a bit more introduction about the characters, and instead I was thrown headfirst into Manda Collins' world. However, the best parts about An Hereiss's Guide to Deception and Desire are Caroline (Caro) and Val. They are so incredibly charming, their banter and attraction make this such a fun and interesting book. Although there is an element of mystery What a light and fun historical romance. I believe this is the second book in a series, and since I didn't read the first one, I felt like I needed a bit more introduction about the characters, and instead I was thrown headfirst into Manda Collins' world. However, the best parts about An Hereiss's Guide to Deception and Desire are Caroline (Caro) and Val. They are so incredibly charming, their banter and attraction make this such a fun and interesting book. Although there is an element of mystery throughout the plot, I think the delivery was a bit of a letdown. There's a ton of build-up and the conclusion wasn't as satisfying. But, if you are a reader looking for a lighthearted fake-engagement/ enemies to lovers, romance, you will definitely have a good time with this one. Thank you so much to the publisher for approving me for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    A Book Shrew

    Brace yourselves, I am absolutely in a historical romance mood, so this was a natural choice to read next. Full review and more at A Book Shrew Several years after their broken betrothal, Caro Hardcastle and Val Thorn are brought back together in the face of a kidnapping. Caro's actress friend and Val's cousin have both been taken, and time is running out for them to be found. The mystery takes them from London theatres to Brighton, in between their marriage of convenience that neither quite wants Brace yourselves, I am absolutely in a historical romance mood, so this was a natural choice to read next. Full review and more at A Book Shrew Several years after their broken betrothal, Caro Hardcastle and Val Thorn are brought back together in the face of a kidnapping. Caro's actress friend and Val's cousin have both been taken, and time is running out for them to be found. The mystery takes them from London theatres to Brighton, in between their marriage of convenience that neither quite wants to admit is what they want. I seem to have a knack for starting these romance series in the middle, but that's okay, since they can each stand alone. This one does seem to have a large amount of background for the two main characters that was shaped in the first book, but it did not leave me in the dark about anything. I was not expecting a mystery to be at the core of this. It was a pleasant surprise, to be honest, even if the kidnapping did feel to hog more of the book's attention rather than the romance I was looking forward to. It wasn't predictable, which I really appreciated. There are several suspects, but not once did I have a concrete guess until the characters themselves did. The book alternates between Caroline's and Valentine's POVs. I enjoyed Val's chapters, but in a shocking twist I was not as much a fan of Caro as I expected to be. What I love about the historical romances written today is that most of them have strong feminist aspects, with women taking control where they can in a society that still highly favoured men. Caro just did not work for me with this lens. I found her to be a bit annoying with her demands to attend meetings and she didn't feel empowering as a character, as I'm sure was not the intent. Likewise with her friend, Kate. They didn't seem to fit. The steam was a little disappointing. It tried to stay more true to the era, which, fair, but also phrases like "the bud of her pleasure" does not do it for me. I didn't quite get the chemistry between the pair of them either. There were moments, for sure, but it didn't really make me swoon like others have. I think that's part of what kept this book from really working for me: there wasn't much of a spark to it. The beginning felt quite distant, and it took a while for it to really get going in terms of story and romance. I don't know that I want to hunt for a copy of the first book in this series, but I am interested in the third one because I definitely picked up on something between those two characters. 3.5 rounded up to 4.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brogan Lane

    'She thought about his words for the barest second. Maybe he was right. One different step along the way and they could have missed out on all this. She'd never been one to believe in the vagaries of fate, but she did believe in love.' Manda Collins is back with a sequel to A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, and it was an absolute treat to read. An Heiress' Guide to Deception and Desire is a second chance, enemies to lovers historical romance with an epic and twisting mystery plot. Four years 'She thought about his words for the barest second. Maybe he was right. One different step along the way and they could have missed out on all this. She'd never been one to believe in the vagaries of fate, but she did believe in love.' Manda Collins is back with a sequel to A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, and it was an absolute treat to read. An Heiress' Guide to Deception and Desire is a second chance, enemies to lovers historical romance with an epic and twisting mystery plot. Four years after their broken betrothal, Caroline Hardcastle and Valentine Thorn must join forces when Caro's friend is kidnapped and Val's cousin is injured in the attack. With the help of Detective Inspector Eversham and Lady Katherine, they follow clues and alibis from London's theatres to Brighton's seaside to discover the answers. As Caro and Val spend more time in each other's company, will their broken hearts heal and their love grow? My most hated historical romance trope was used: the 'oh-no-we've-been-caught-in-a-compromising-situation-we-should-marry-to-avoid-a-scandal.' While I was a little mad, Manda Collins swiftly settled my temper by making Caro and Val's relationship very cute. Because, above all, it was a second chance romance so there was already chemistry between these two characters. Neither Val nor Caro felt displeased nor angry about marrying one another because their feelings for one another hadn't dimmed since their broken betrothal. I commend Manda Collins for doing it right. I really liked Manda Collins' writing style - it flowed so well on the page. The two main aspects of the plot: the romance and the mystery were well balanced. The romance was as developed as the mystery, and it felt like they got equal attention. I really loved the mystery - it was compelling, twisty and intriguing. It was very Penny Dreadful, which I liked, and I thought Collins unfolded the truth steadily and very well as the characters gathered information. I'm greatly enjoying this historical romance series so far. The more I read it, the more I find historical romances with a mystery plot to be comforting. I'm excited for the third book, and I detected some chemistry between two certain characters so hopefully, it's about them!

  15. 4 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Galley provided by publisher In general, I had somewhat mixed feelings over An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire. I guess I thought similarly over the first book in the series, although there maybe it mattered less because I liked the romance more. So, while I did like this one, I never really loved it. The Good — The mystery was, as with the previous book, very compelling, and well-constructed. The mystery is really what kept me reading it, even as the pace of it slowed, I On my blog. Galley provided by publisher In general, I had somewhat mixed feelings over An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire. I guess I thought similarly over the first book in the series, although there maybe it mattered less because I liked the romance more. So, while I did like this one, I never really loved it. The Good — The mystery was, as with the previous book, very compelling, and well-constructed. The mystery is really what kept me reading it, even as the pace of it slowed, I wanted to find out just what had happened to Effie and Frank. — There was no third act break up! Which, for me, was great because there’s no way it might have believably worked here in my opinion. Okay, so maybe if I sat and thought about it, and restructured the entire plot… But with everything as it was, it was great that the MCs just… talked out any issues they had like adults. The Less Good (I Hesitate To Say “Bad” Because I Didn’t Think They Were Bad, Just Less Good) — I never felt like there was any reason to want Caro and Val together. In book 1, they’d seemed like they could have something good, with plenty of tension and past hurts. But—and I hate to say this immediately after saying it was good they communicated—that was dispensed with too early. In fact, it was dispensed with within a day, with respect to how the plot played out. There was never time to feel the tension between them because they’d already moved onto the next stage of their relationship. Much better would have been to have them working together for longer and then realising they’d slowly fallen back in love and forgiven one another. — Actually that’s probably the biggest thing, but come on. It’s a romance novel. I have to want the romance. Instead, I just felt a little ...meh about it. They were alright together, it was readable. It wasn’t amazing, though. — Wait, I remembered one more thing: please stop bashing me over the head with “these men are not misogynists. They believe women are oppressed!”, like I get it. These are the heroes and love interests. You want them to be sympathetic, aka not misogynistic. But I get it after the first mention, no need to flog a dead horse!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natasha

    Marvellously witty and undeniably addictive, the second instalment to the bestselling Historical Rom-Com A Lady’s Guide To Mischief and Mayhem didn’t disappoint, I loved every second of it! It’s 1866 and Caroline Hardcastle has finally found purpose in her life, bringing attention to crimes against women. But her hard earned freedom is jeopardised when her parents offer her an ultimatum—marry into a title…or else. Caro is sure no gentleman wants spinster journalist for a bride no matter how large Marvellously witty and undeniably addictive, the second instalment to the bestselling Historical Rom-Com A Lady’s Guide To Mischief and Mayhem didn’t disappoint, I loved every second of it! It’s 1866 and Caroline Hardcastle has finally found purpose in her life, bringing attention to crimes against women. But her hard earned freedom is jeopardised when her parents offer her an ultimatum—marry into a title…or else. Caro is sure no gentleman wants spinster journalist for a bride no matter how large her dowry. But when her friend goes missing,her best ally is the nobleman she’d once been betrothed to. Since suffering devastating heartbreak, Lord Valentine Thorn has avoided marriage entirely. Only now, with his family’s future on the line does he agree to find a bride, with the condition is heart remains unattached. But when his cousin is entangled in the disappearance of an actress, he’s thrown back into contact with the only woman he’s ever wanted to marry. Inspite of their complicated history, Val and Caro agree to an alliance (vowing to ignore the passion burning between them.) But with danger drawing near can they move on from the past before death does them part? This was an absolutely addictive and entertaining read and I really enjoyed it. The characters were well written, the period details excellent and the romance phenomenal (Val and Caro were destined for one another) and their flirty banter was utterly entertaining. I also enjoyed the mystery aspect which cleverly crafted gorgeously suspenseful. Overall, this wickedly smart and hilariously flirty love child of Bridgerton and Enola Holmes is an absolute must read. I’d definitely recommend to romance and mystery lovers. Also thanks to Little,Brown Book Group UK and Netgalley for the e-arc.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Emro

    Years after breaking off their secret betrothal, Miss Caroline Hardcastle and Lord Valentine Thorn, now Viscount Wrackham, had no expectations of seeing each other again, but when Miss Effie Warrington is abducted, they must work together to find her. And soon realize that their feelings haven’t changed – but maybe they have. This was a well-written, nicely paced, fantastic read! When I read the previous book, I felt that the romance was overshadowed by the mystery and while it was an enjoyable r Years after breaking off their secret betrothal, Miss Caroline Hardcastle and Lord Valentine Thorn, now Viscount Wrackham, had no expectations of seeing each other again, but when Miss Effie Warrington is abducted, they must work together to find her. And soon realize that their feelings haven’t changed – but maybe they have. This was a well-written, nicely paced, fantastic read! When I read the previous book, I felt that the romance was overshadowed by the mystery and while it was an enjoyable read, it wasn’t exactly a romance, well that is not the case with this book. Ms. Collins hit the perfect balance between romance and mystery, making this second-chance romantic mystery a five-star read for me. This book has wonderful characters, steamy love scenes, a heartwarming second chance at love, great secondary characters, a very well-done mystery, and finally a lovely HEA. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book and highly recommend it, it is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a standalone title. *I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    This was a fun, easy read. I would have liked a little more from the romance - as is the case with most historical mysteries, the romance took a bit of a backseat to the larger story - and I especially would have liked to have seen a little more about what drew Caro and Val together in the first place, since so much of their story is tied to their previous engagement. But this was fun and I liked the characters a lot.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Marit

    I don't know what about this didn't work for me but ... I just couldn't do it. Everything was there - the slightly new spin on a long-used plot, the tension between characters, great setting, etc. It just didn't work for me. Reading this was like wearing shoes that you have always wanted, but end up being slightly too small around your toes. The anticipation, the excitement, the confidence that you will do lots of fun stuff while wearing them -- all of that fades to the background as you fixate I don't know what about this didn't work for me but ... I just couldn't do it. Everything was there - the slightly new spin on a long-used plot, the tension between characters, great setting, etc. It just didn't work for me. Reading this was like wearing shoes that you have always wanted, but end up being slightly too small around your toes. The anticipation, the excitement, the confidence that you will do lots of fun stuff while wearing them -- all of that fades to the background as you fixate on the annoying pain in your toes and the fact that you wasted so much energy on a pair of shoes that just don't work. I don't know if that makes sense. I am bummed, but on to the next one, eh?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    An absolute delight!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria Rose

    I really enjoyed the first in this series so was quite eager to pick up this one, and found it to be just as interesting and engaging as the previous story! Caroline Hardcastle has a bit of scandalous reputation, what with writing a column for ladies in the newspaper run by her friend Katherine. As such, she doesn't mind delving into matters that might cause her more trouble, including investigating the disappearance of an actress friend. Unfortunately it brings her into the same circle as her e I really enjoyed the first in this series so was quite eager to pick up this one, and found it to be just as interesting and engaging as the previous story! Caroline Hardcastle has a bit of scandalous reputation, what with writing a column for ladies in the newspaper run by her friend Katherine. As such, she doesn't mind delving into matters that might cause her more trouble, including investigating the disappearance of an actress friend. Unfortunately it brings her into the same circle as her ex-boyfriend Lord Valentine Thorn (a secret relationship that never made it into the public eye) as his cousin is involved in the disappearance as well. This is a lighthearted romance, with an interesting mystery, delightful characters, and excellent worldbuilding. Caro feels rather antagonistic towards Val (with good reason) as he'd chosen his family over her, but over the course of the story she realizes she wasn't fair to him, just as Val also realizes that his family put her in an awkward position. They are able to reach a detente that does much to restore their feelings for each other, and in turn, helps them become an effective team. Along with secondary characters from the first story and new ones introduced here, they effectively solve the mystery and find themselves with their own HEA. I hope there will be more in this series as I find it to be quite fun, inventive and enjoyable to read. A copy of this story was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rivka

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for this earc This book was as cute as the first one! I really enjoyed second chance romance for Val and Caro. When we first met them it was obvious that they have history and even though we got to see some of it I wish we saw the good too not just the bad things that happened during their courtship. But I did like that this time around their relationship is more mature and there is a lot more communication going on between them. I loved that Val actually stood Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for this earc This book was as cute as the first one! I really enjoyed second chance romance for Val and Caro. When we first met them it was obvious that they have history and even though we got to see some of it I wish we saw the good too not just the bad things that happened during their courtship. But I did like that this time around their relationship is more mature and there is a lot more communication going on between them. I loved that Val actually stood up to his father. I loved that Caro didn’t chance herself and Val was able to appreciate her as she is and stood by her side all through the mystery part of the story. I really enjoyed that they didn’t jump straight into “love” after not being together for 4 years and actually took their time to get to know each other again. Was the “engagement” scene a bit random? Yes. But did it work out in the end? Absolutely Can’t wait to see what’s next in this world

  23. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes. Val, the new Viscount Wrackham is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succ Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the bestselling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem. As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes. Val, the new Viscount Wrackham is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he’s ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she’s never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day. This is a romantic comedy, mystery, multiple kidnapping case. Caro and Val make for a knowing couple in this hilarious and mysterious novel. Manda Collins is a talented author who knows what her audience wants. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    3.5⭐ Thank you so much to Forever for providing an arc copy of this!! All thoughts and opinions are still my own. Another really fun, sweet, and humorous addition to this series! I adore Caro and Kate and loved being back with them to solve another mystery. This series is so addictive and fun to read. I love how Manda Collins balances the mystery and romance elements - both feel like focal points and fully fleshed out. This book/series feels like a classic whodunit mystery with a modern update and 3.5⭐ Thank you so much to Forever for providing an arc copy of this!! All thoughts and opinions are still my own. Another really fun, sweet, and humorous addition to this series! I adore Caro and Kate and loved being back with them to solve another mystery. This series is so addictive and fun to read. I love how Manda Collins balances the mystery and romance elements - both feel like focal points and fully fleshed out. This book/series feels like a classic whodunit mystery with a modern update and I'm completely hooked. My favorite aspect of this sequel was definitely Caro's character. I love how strong and self-assured she is in a time that didn't really allow women much agency. But Caro takes control of her life and situation in any way she can, I loved following her throughout this book. And I loved the chemistry between her and Val. I like that Val isn't your typical historical romance hero, he's not a rake or cold and aloof, he's a sweet cinnamon roll who is completely head over heels for Caro (even though she can't always see it). Their dynamic and banter was fantastic and I was definitely rooting for them the whole way through. My one complaint about this book is that things reconcile a little too easily or quickly at times. There are a lot of great themes brought up in here about class and wealth and I really appreciated those discussions. But there were definitely times that people saw their error of their actions or were forgive a little too quickly for me to fully buy into - for example Val's father admitting his mistake within the same chapter. I wish a little more groveling/reflection was added in. This also applies to the romance itself. As much as I loved the characters together, things moved FAST. Like in book 1, this starts as an enemies to lovers situation, but the enemies portion is very quick. And while I love a good marriage of convenience, it definitely sped up the romance even further. I just wanted a little more time spent with the romance before the I do's. But overall, I had such a good time reading this book. The series is a fun, witty, feminist romance full of characters and tropes I love. If you love equal parts romance and mystery, definitely add this series to your list! And I'm so excited we're getting another book in this world next fall! (Langham was such a great side character, I can't wait for his book!!)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susan Gorman

    Caroline Hardcastle and Lady Katherine Eversham are summoned to their friend Effie Warrington’s home. Effie has been kidnapped and her fiancé Francis Thorn was left unconscious and bleeding at her doorstep. Caro discovers that her former fiancé Valentine Thorn has arrived at Effie’s home ahead of them. Loved the heated and entertaining conversations between Caro and Val as they work together to find Effie and then Francis Thorn. Manda Collins creates an emotional, entertaining second chance roman Caroline Hardcastle and Lady Katherine Eversham are summoned to their friend Effie Warrington’s home. Effie has been kidnapped and her fiancé Francis Thorn was left unconscious and bleeding at her doorstep. Caro discovers that her former fiancé Valentine Thorn has arrived at Effie’s home ahead of them. Loved the heated and entertaining conversations between Caro and Val as they work together to find Effie and then Francis Thorn. Manda Collins creates an emotional, entertaining second chance romance for Caro and Val. Both characters have grown since they ended their engagement. Caro is very independent and politically savvy. She a newspaper columnist with a huge following, a cookbook author and she hosts salons. Val is the new Viscount Wrackham and is feeling pressured by his father to marry. Caro is the only woman Val has ever loved and he deeply regrets not standing up to his father and brother when they insulted Caro’s family. He has never forgiven himself and this endeared him to me. Manda Collins chooses to have Caro and Val’s story play out slowly during the first part of the novel. This choice worked for me as the couple had so much to work through—old hurts, new feelings and family concerns plus the kidnapping. I liked that neither character was perfect. Val owned his mistake and knew he needed to speak up to his father before telling Caro his true feelings. And Caro needed to forgive Val before they could move forward. Manda Collins kept me intrigued with many characters, twists and turns in the storyline. The differences between the social classes is threaded throughout the novel during this time of moral and political reforms. The combination of the romance and kidnapping mystery worked for me. An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Danger is well plotted whodunit, the romance between Caro and Val tugs at your heartstrings and I screamed when the identity of the kidnapper was revealed! Thank you Manda Collins for another fabulous read!

  26. 4 out of 5

    flavia

    *ARC kindly provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited to start reading this book and get the story of what had happened to bring the present animosity between Caro and Val that we got a glimpse at in A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, and I was not at all let down. An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire is centered around Miss Caroline Hardcastle trying to find one of her friends after she has been kidnapped in broad daylight. Bu *ARC kindly provided by Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited to start reading this book and get the story of what had happened to bring the present animosity between Caro and Val that we got a glimpse at in A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem, and I was not at all let down. An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire is centered around Miss Caroline Hardcastle trying to find one of her friends after she has been kidnapped in broad daylight. But Caro finds out that her friend was engaged to be married with none other but Frank Thorn, the cousin of Lord Valentine Thorn, the new viscount Wrackham and her old betrothed. Both Caro and Val are obliged to turn their backs to their past feelings in order to work together and find clues for the mysterious disappearance in which they found themselves reconnected. At the same time, Caro is trying to assure her parents that she doesn’t need to marry while Val takes the opportunity of their closeness to show that he has changed. This book was such an amazing read, it had the right amount of romance and mystery once again and the addition of new characters was a great too. I liked how we got to see the previous couple, Kate and Andrew accompanying our new protagonists in this new adventure. And I loved to see the development that Caro and Val’s relationship went through, they were so adorable, and I liked how they got something so good out of their past. I cannot wait for the next title in the series since the author reveled the name of the couple that is going to be centered around!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (read_with_steph)

    The second installment in Collins' "A Lady's Guide" series is just as good as the first. Perfectly merging romance and mystery, this book has everything you could want. It also managing to stay astoundingly feminist for a historical fiction novel, which is always a challenge in period reads where dated gender roles often make me uncomfortable. Here, that's not the case. We get ambitious, independent women, making a place for themselves in a society that wishes they remained at home. This time ar The second installment in Collins' "A Lady's Guide" series is just as good as the first. Perfectly merging romance and mystery, this book has everything you could want. It also managing to stay astoundingly feminist for a historical fiction novel, which is always a challenge in period reads where dated gender roles often make me uncomfortable. Here, that's not the case. We get ambitious, independent women, making a place for themselves in a society that wishes they remained at home. This time around, we see Lady Katherine and Miss Caroline looking into the abduction of their friend. Unfortunately, her betrothed is a relative of Caro's ex, and it thrusts the two together once again. The two ladies manage to get themselves into all kind of trouble, and Caro and her ex get themselves into a different kind of trouble! I love how true to the series starter this one felt. It was a totally different plot, but it was so easy to tell these books were by the same author, in the same universe. I can't wait until the third book! Thanks to Forever for my eARC! All thoughts and opinions are my own. 5 stars - 9/10

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Domokur

    4.5 all the feels stars! After finishing Kate and Andrew's book and feeling all of Val and Caro's tension, I knew I had to pick this one up immediately. I love that this book had a little bit of mystery but a whole lot of feeling. Val and Caro are thrown together once again trying to solve a crime. One of her friends has gone missing and his cousin is involved as well. The two of them must work together to figure out what really happened. Val and Caro are like two fireworks when they meet, you ca 4.5 all the feels stars! After finishing Kate and Andrew's book and feeling all of Val and Caro's tension, I knew I had to pick this one up immediately. I love that this book had a little bit of mystery but a whole lot of feeling. Val and Caro are thrown together once again trying to solve a crime. One of her friends has gone missing and his cousin is involved as well. The two of them must work together to figure out what really happened. Val and Caro are like two fireworks when they meet, you can feel the tension rolling off them in waves. They have a past and even though they say they have moved on, neither of them can do that. Especially when they are still in love with one another. Watching them work together and become more and more attached just made my heart swell. Val knew what he had to do to keep Caro this time, and no one and nothing was going to stop him. I just adored the two of them. Thank you to GCP, Forever, Netgalley and Manda Collins for an early copy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel | What’s Rachel Reading

    I truly enjoyed An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire! I’m still newish to historical romances so I wasn’t sure what to expect! This is the second in its series but works fine as a standalone. The plot was pretty balanced in the mystery and romance. Manda Collins did a great job at weaving a story with strong main characters and a historical/mystery/romance plot. I absolutely loved Caro and enjoyed following her throughout the book. Val is so sweet and I loved the banter. I do wish there wa I truly enjoyed An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire! I’m still newish to historical romances so I wasn’t sure what to expect! This is the second in its series but works fine as a standalone. The plot was pretty balanced in the mystery and romance. Manda Collins did a great job at weaving a story with strong main characters and a historical/mystery/romance plot. I absolutely loved Caro and enjoyed following her throughout the book. Val is so sweet and I loved the banter. I do wish there was more chemistry between them. Overall, An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire is a quick, sweet, historical romantic mystery with twist and a little steam. Thank you to Forever for the gifted copy!

  30. 4 out of 5

    tasnim♥️

    First, I want to say thank you to Forever Publishing and Netgalley for letting me receive this in exchange for an honest review! A little backstory: We met our heroine, Miss Caroline Hardcastle who has a pretty scandalous reputation and currently works for the newspaper. But when her friend gets kidnapped, she becomes reluctant allies with her (secret) ex-boyfriend, Lord Valentine Thorn, as his cousin was abducted as well. I'm usually hesitant with sequels because I'm afraid they won't live up to First, I want to say thank you to Forever Publishing and Netgalley for letting me receive this in exchange for an honest review! A little backstory: We met our heroine, Miss Caroline Hardcastle who has a pretty scandalous reputation and currently works for the newspaper. But when her friend gets kidnapped, she becomes reluctant allies with her (secret) ex-boyfriend, Lord Valentine Thorn, as his cousin was abducted as well. I'm usually hesitant with sequels because I'm afraid they won't live up to the prequel, but my goodness did this book deliver. I am obsessed with second chance romance, and their love story was so angsty, and their mystery was so fun and easy to self-insert in. The only thing I wanted was for them to be enemies for a few chapters longer but that's just the toxic part in me talking. This book was such a fun and easy read, especially if you are in a reading slump. It has the perfect balance between romance and mystery, and I cannot recommend it enough. So excited for the third book!!!!!

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