Review: Accidentally His (Designing Debutantes #3) by Sabrina Jeffries


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books, Zebra (January 23, 2024)

From As a viscount’s heir, Rafe Wolfford is obligated to take a wife someday. But she must be the right sort of wife—not too independent, and not inclined to delve into his escapades as a spy. The forthright, perceptive Lady Verity is altogether the wrong choice. But Rafe’s courtship is merely a ruse to discover whether Verity or anyone else associated with Elegant Occasions is leaking crucial information to the French. That mission is all that
matters—until fate, and desire, intervene.

After enduring one disastrous engagement, Verity won’t easily open her heart again, preferring to devote herself to Elegant Occasions. Rafe is charming, handsome, and kisses like the very devil, but she knows he’s harboring secrets. Still, when her ex-fiancé tries to ruin her reputation, Rafe offers his hand. For the sake of her family and business, Verity has little choice but to accept. Yet turning this arrangement into a true marriage will require daring and trust—which neither will embrace easily, making surrender all the sweeter . . .


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I found this story to be a bit disappointing at times, less to do with the plot, and more to do with the characters themselves.

Let's start with Rafe shall we? Despite knowing Verity's past and how she was made a fool of by an ex-suitor, he still goes into his mission with the intention of trying to "woo" her even though he knows he won't offer for her. On the surface that would have been fine, however, Rafe goes to extremes with it. He flirts with her, he teases her, he does, which is fine. But then he does other things with her. Things that would absolutely ruin her if they were discovered. He does this apparently because he is attracted to her, which is understandable, but that is not how a gentleman should have behaved, especially when they carried on in all sorts of places where they could have been (and by rights should have been) caught.

Instead, Verity's ex-suitor is brought back seemingly for the sole purpose of compromising her. Which serves no purpose other than to force Rafe to offer for her (and I'm sorry no amount of him claiming he actually wanted to marry her will convince me he felt anything but lust for that woman). But instead we are told that, you know... he has deep feelings all of the sudden.

And that brings me to Verity herself. She was not what I was expecting after the two prior books. This is someone who helps run a business, A woman who is a stickler for propriety, but then gets so distracted by the thought of a man that she neglects to realize that three impressionable young ladies have disappeared, in all likelihood to go spy on men who are currently swimming naked just over the hill? A lady who is so headstrong that despite knowing the danger if she is caught decides to do whatever she pleases anyway? I guess she was so caught up in the pleasure that she didn't care how badly it would refelct not only on herself, but on the business that she and her sisters worked so hard to build. After all, how can can a fallen woman chaperone other young women with the taint of her scandal following her around? Not to mention the fact that she keeps making it a point to say how cynical she was towards all men after what happened to her in the past. But I guess Rafe is just so good-looking that she can't help herself.

Now just because I said I had more of an issue with the characters, doesn't mean that the story wasn't without its issues as well (but even these I feel are more character based than anything else).

To begin with, we are led to believe that Rafe is some sort of "super spy" having been "trained" since he was a child by his uncle (I said "trained" because up until he was older Rafe had no idea that was what was happening, he thought they were playing games). And yet, Verity was still able to identify him from all of the times he had snuck into Elegant Occasions events no matter what disguise he had been wearing. And I'm not sold on her "I never forget a face" explanation either. I also found it hard to believe that all this time Rafe has been struggling with something his uncle had said, and within minutes was able to figure it out because of Verity. Especially when the reveal had to do with a treasured piece of his childhood.

Now while I will admit that the big reveal as to who was behind things was a bit surprising, I had some issues with this plotline as well. To begin with, if Rafe had such deep feelings of love towards Verity, why didn't he tell her who it was once he had worked it out? Or at least found a way to add extra footmen or something around the house while he was away. He didn't even have to tell them the real reason, he could have just said he was worried the person may be out to cause his wife harm.

All of those things considered, I am glad that I finished with this trilogy. And even though I wasn't completely sold on this series, I do think it will work for others, and I will certainly 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.

Post a Comment