Title: The Year of Living Scandalously
Series: Book One ~
The Secrets at Hadley Green series
Author: Julia London
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Historical Romance
Review of an ARC copy
Rating: 4 1/2 crowns
~Back Cover ~
When Declan O'Connor, Earl of Donnelly, arrives at Hadley Green to meet with Lily Boudine, the new countess of Ashwood, he knows instantly that the lovely woman who welcomes him is not who she pretends to be. In an attempt to avoid an unwanted marriage, Kiera Hannigan has assumes her cousin's identity and is staying at the estate while Lilly is abroad. When Declan threatens to expose her, Kiera convinces him to guard her secret, and then enlists him in her investigation of the missing jewels, for she now believes an innocent man was hanged.
Unable to deny the beautiful, exasperating Kiera--or their simmering passion--Declan reluctantly agrees. But neither is prepared for the dangerous stranger who threatens to reveal Keira's lies...and Declan knows he must protect Keira at all costs; she is the woman who now owns his heart.
A sumptuous wildly wicked ride is what readers of New York Times bestselling author, Julia London have come to expect. Well, Ms. London never disappoints as she takes us on a classic adventure in her latest historical The Year of Living Scandalously by Pocket Books which released October 19, 2010 winning raved reviews and accolades throughout the literary world.
All Keira Hannigan had to do was go to England and keep an eye on Hadley Green until her cousin, Lily Boudine returned from Italy. There was never a mention of the Irish beauty taking over for her cousins as preempt countess of Ashwood. So why is the beguiling Keira pretending to be her cousin? What trouble has she concocted this time?
Declan O’Conner; Earl of Donnelly is all too familiar with Keira and her antic. Eight years ago her sparkling smile and erotic presence cost the life of one of their dear friends. He has never been able to forget the event or forgive Keira for her part in the machination. But now she has gone too far pretending to be Lily; and he knows trouble when he sees it. There is no way that he will help her out of her sticky situations that she seems incapable of staying out of.
But Keira needs his help and will do anything to gain it. Keira is desperate to clear a dead man's name and prove that he never stole the Ashton's Jewels. Enlisting Declan’s help and secrecy will cost her dare but it will all be worth it if what she believes comes to fruition. Declan is reluctant to help but eventually he cannot in good conscious let her out on her own. Who knows what more trouble the raving Irish beauty could cause?
In The Year of Living Scandalously had a plethora of entertaining characters but if you twist my arm I will tell you that Keira Hannigan jumped off the pages for me. I could almost hear her Irish lilt shout ringing crisp and clear as she tries to uncover a long ago dead and buried secret. The fact that Keira assumes her cousin, Lilly’s identity just at flamed the existing fire between her and that oh so alpha Irish man, Declan O’Connor. Keira was head strong, exciting and not afraid to go after what she wanted; even if it meant getting herself in a bit of trouble along the way. Ms. London writing techniques and skill of fleshing out her character breathing life into them by every magical word demonstrates that she is truly a mischief magic maker of words.
This story is filled to the brim of extraordinary characters that you will love but the one that will keep drawing you back for more is Declan O’Connor, Earl of Donnelly. Declan is a try and true alpha male to the heart. A tortured soul –that every reader swoons over-- about his part in a hideous incident eight years ago, still unable to forgive him. I loved Declan even though at times I would have enjoyed slapping him once or twice.
He still is placing much of the incidents blame on Keira and will not let her forget it. Of course we would expect Declan to do the gallant thing and help Keira in keeping her secret identity a secret. Oh and he does, but for a price. Even though he is a wonderfully crafted character I love the sense of antagonism he gives Keira every time he is near her. You know that he desires her and fights it. This intense sexual, physical and mental pull between the two main protagonists is why I kept reading The Year of Living Scandalously over and over again.
To round out the cast of charming characters are Lily Boudine who is almost a carbon copy of Keira and the reason all this trouble began in the first place. The mysterious “Lord Eberlin” who is trying to destroy everyone and everything associated to Ashwood. Then there are the spunky charismatic people of Ashwood who are delighted that someone has finally taking an interest to take care of them and Hadley Green. Oh, I would be remised if I didn’t mention Keira Hannigan’s lovely family in Lisdoon, Ireland. The Hannigan’s are remarkable loving Irish families that have hearts as large as the Irish Sea; which Keira is grateful for.
The more I read The Year of Living Scandalously I realized that the theme of doing what is right no matter the consequences to your self was the mast thread that ran through this amazing story. Small bits and pieces of accepting a person for who they are; stop judging a person by their cover and just allow people to be who they really are and not who you perceive them to be popped off these pages.
In a Utopian world people would not be judge by the color of their skin, the sound of their voice or nationality, but just like in The Year of Living Scandalous it is just fiction and reality is people –even though it is sad—are judge and perceived by the exterior and not the interior. Maybe, just maybe after reading The Year Living Scandalously you walk away with a feeling of awe and acceptance. But for that to happen and find out how Keira and Declan deal with their adventure you will just have to read The Year of Living Scandalously.