Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal by Jayne Fresina

Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal by Jayne Fresina
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (377 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

When a Perfectly Proper Lady…

Lady Mercy Danforthe always has a plan. It’s what makes her such a successful matchmaker, and why she’s obligated to spend a great deal of time generously organizing the lives of her friends and family. But there’s one man beyond her help. One man whose recklessness she can’t rein in; whose chaos she can’t contain. Her ex-husband, Rafe Hartley. Her one—and only!—mistake.

Flirts with a Reckless Rogue…

Rafe has never forgiven Mercy for running out on him. Their hastily annulled marriage may have one lasted three hours, but that doesn’t mean he needs her help finding a proper wife. Someone needs to teach little Miss Know-It-All a lesson about keeping her adorably freckled nose out of other people’s business. And it just so happens that Mercy “Silky Drawers” Danforthe still owes him a wedding night…

A Scandal’s Never Far Behind

What goes around, comes around, especially for a mysterious lady in black. Imagine my surprise, shock and delight when I figured out that this book picks up where another had left off, but years later. There is no doubt that this is a standalone read but when I realized that this Mercy Danforthe is the same one from The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne it tickled my fancy to realize that this young girl is all grown up and is still as opinionated and full of herself as before. What kind of trouble is she going to get into now?

What a tangled mess of yarn. It’s as true now as it was then – things that happened in our youth shape our decision making process in the future, for better or worse. I remember Mercy as being outspoken and quite a little lady of action. That inner motor, that drive to do and to make a mark has been honed and perfected in the Lady Mercy of the present. Readers will have no trouble at all figuring that out.

What they won’t realize although I had a sniggle of memory from before, is why she is the way she is. I blame it on her brother. Readers will be quick on seeing that as well. It’s tragic, really. You know the old saying, “attention for being bad is better than no attention at all”? That sums up the backdrop that drives the overall motive of the story. It started out that way but became a way of life. It’s pitiful! But don’t let Lady Mercy hear you say that, she’d be affronted. She has things all planned out and all the logical details dance to her whim. Or so she likes to think. As the tale goes on, a reader gets to understand that Mercy isn’t shallow but very passionate, caring and still has her bonnet hung on one man. The worst sort of man – Rafe.

Rafe is borderline anti-hero. He has a veneer, a role he plays and he makes sure no one sees anything other than what he wants them to see. The rest see what they want to, and that’s just fine with him. Except, there’s this delightful older woman who sees in him something much more and it was gratifying to see that he took her words to heart. One of them will rue the day but half the fun is in figuring out who, why and when. As a reader gets to know him, the nuances that make up the man begin to show and he’s actually a pretty good guy. He’s really confused, confounded and tied in knots whenever Mercy is on the scene but that’s part of his charm. I suspect readers will pick up on the clues long before Rafe, the man who makes denial an art form, figures out his true feelings. Until then he has the misguided notion that Mercy should find him a bride. That has ‘disaster’ written all over it and I had a ton of fun watching that intent unravel.

When Mercy and Rafe do experience that long delayed wedding night, it’s well written and does not go according to plan. Nothing between them actually does which is perfect.

Speaking of which, I mention Mrs. Pyke. What an odd duck. Ungrateful wench too. Both Rafe and Mercy had dealings with that woman and I’m still of undecided mind if she was a helpful secondary character to have, or a hindrance. I felt bad for the kids and I kind of expected someone to say or do something, but they never did. Not really. It got my dander up.

Other secondary characters were much better received and I thought they did a splendid job of highlighting both Rafe and Mercy’s personalities not to mention prodding the plot and/or conflict along as needed. Most were interesting and gave the scenes flavor.

The most silly, endearing and fun scene came towards the end. I cracked up at the part when someone fainted and Lady Ursula made her demands. Those couple of pages were well written, pure genius and had me grinning from ear to ear. The best part was the reward of a satisfying happy-ever-after. Well worth the journey.

Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal is an eventful book about a busy lady who learns the value of being true to herself and that perfection is way overrated. It’s entertaining, well told and dare I say, cute. It’s light on the suspense and there’s no dark drama. Sometimes, airy but with substance is exactly what I need and on the day I read Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts with Scandal, it was perfect.


  1. Thank you for the great review!

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