Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Forever (February  22, 2022)

From Goodreads.com:  Lady Serena Wynter doesn’t mind flirting with a bit of scandal—she’s determined to ignore society’s strictures and live life on her own fiercely independent terms. These days, she chooses to pour her passions into charitable causes with the vibrant group of ladies in her Wednesday Afternoon Social Club. But there is one man who stirs Serena’s deepest emotions, one who’s irresistibly handsome, infuriatingly circumspect, and too honorable for his own good...


Charles Townshend, former boxer and consummate gentleman, worries Serena’s reckless nature will earn her the ton’s scorn…or put her in serious danger. Though Charles isn’t immune to the attraction between them, a shocking family secret prevents him from ever acting on his desires. But it seems Lady Serena doesn’t intend to let his penchant for propriety stand in the way of a mutually satisfying dalliance.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I absolutely LOVED the interaction between Charles and Serena in the first book so I was super excited to get the chance to read this one. 

However, it felt like something was missing. For one thing, I didn't feel like I connected with either of them this time around. They still had the same back and forth, push and pull relationship they always had, but instead of coming across as passionate, it instead came across as stilted. Well, at least until Serena gets it in her head that she wants Charles as her lover, then she comes across as well.... a bit desperate and obsessed. Charles tells her repeatedly that he cannot be with her that way, and yet she continues to pursue him and push the issue. Honestly, I'm surprised he wasn't completely turned off by her behavior. 

Another issue I had with this story is that three of the side storylines did very little to actually add anything to the story.

First, we have the fact that there is a newcomer to the London gaming halls - who looks nearly identical to Charles. While he believes the man to be his half-brother, we never really find this out for sure. As Serena points out, plenty of people look similar. What I find hard to believe is that they look enough to the point that Charles is accidentally mistaken for him (admittedly by someone who was drunk), but no one else notices this resemblance other than Serena and Charles? Not even his closest friends? Then instead of Charles being forced to confront his possible parentage and his half-brother, said brother is conveniently labeled a cheat and run out of England. Again. 

Then we have the arrival of Charles' family, including his mother and the girl she hopes Charles will marry. And except a brief mention here and there, there was seemingly no point to even mentioning her. His mother doesn't force the issue in the way most meddling mothers would have, and the girl herself doesn't do anything to try to ensnare him either. It was as though she was added in as a potential love interest for someone else (which does end up happening at the end).

Finally, there is the storyline surrounding the child that Serena and Charles come across whilst searching for a property that would suit Serena's latest charity venture (another thing that is mentioned once and then seemingly forgotten about). Serena initially takes charge of the boy until she can find a suitable family to take him in - and then promptly (but understandably) grows so close to him that she inevitably doesn't. I would have liked to have seen her at least make an attempt more than just writing a list of potentially acceptable families - maybe she visited them and found out they weren't suitable? Another thing is that like Charles pointed out the ton would have taken one look at the boy (and the fact his eyes were the same color as Serena's) and immediately ruin her reputation by claiming the boy was hers. 

So they would see a child with the same color eyes and immediately make the jump that he was Serena's illegitimate child, but those same people didn't see Charles' supposed half-brother and make the connection that Charles himself was illegitimate? 

All of that being said, one of the things that did pique and keep my interest throughout this novel is Phoebe. She is the seventeen-year-old niece of one of the other characters who by the end of the story is dancing will a well-known rake. And if there is one thing I am a sucker for it's a rake-to-husband story, so I will be keeping an eye out for that one. I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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                                       Say You'll Be My Lady  is available from Amazon.com