I did not expect to like Lady Priscilla's Shameful Secret but, once again Christine Merrill has made me care about and feel empathy for a character I really wanted to dislike. Priscilla was a bratty bitch in the last book and I just couldn't imagine how Christine Merrill would make me like her. I should have had faith as Ms. Merrill has not let me down yet. Lady Priscilla's Shameful Secret is the final book in her "Ladies in Disgrace" trilogy and picks up eight months after Priscilla's scandalous elopement. Priscilla did have a reason for her elopement, yet nothing has turned out as she thought, and as I got to see her life now and read her side of the story, I found myself beginning to root for her.
Priscilla and Drusilla are the daughters of the Earl of Benbridge—a disagreeable man if ever there was one. Drusilla was never given a season and was the unpaid companion and chaperone to her younger sister Priscilla. Priscilla planned the elopement so that she would be disgraced and banished to the country with her sister where the two of them would finally be out from under their father's tyrannical thumb. The only problem was that by the time Drusilla caught up with Priscilla, Drusilla was already in love. Now Priscilla has been a virtual prisoner in her father's house for the last eight months with a different jailor—her new stepmother. When the story starts, Priscilla is a shell of the girl she once was and her father has just chosen the new Duke of Reighland as her husband.
Robert Magson never expected to be Duke, after all, his uncle was healthy with a son to succeed him…until tragedy struck. Now the country bumpkin is the most sought after man in society. He wants to set up his nursery quickly so he has come to town seeking a wife. He has a few candidates in mind, all of them simpering misses. All except Priscilla, who, when she first meets him, nickers like a horse. She is rude, she informs him outright that she doesn't want to marry but, she is the only woman who captivates him.
After Priscilla's scandal she allowed others to take her confidence and her power, so much so that she just wanted to hide away. It took her being brought to her very lowest point and Robert to stand aside and let her fly before she finally held her head high and took back her power; her self worth. It was a very moving scene and was one that will stick with me and proves again why Christine Merrill has consistently landed on my Keeper Shelf.
Throughout the book, Robert was just his title, he was never the Duke. He was still the overly large country oaf who took refuge in his horses when his schoolmates sent him running home. Oh, as Reighland no one now dared to taunt him but, he never had the confidence that being born to the title gives one. It took almost losing what he loved before he took hold of his own power and finally became THE DUKE of Reighland. I was cheering at that one!
Lady Priscilla's Shameful Secret was a great read and my only complaint was with a continuity issue with names and titles that should have been caught long before the release. Other than that, this trilogy by Christine Merrill should not be missed. All of the books were fabulous and far exceeded any expectations I had going into them.
Reviewed by: Valarie Pelissero