Review: The Lady Plays with Fire (Goode's Guide to Misconduct #2) by Susanna Craig


Print Length: 293 pages
Publisher: Zebra Books (April 23, 2024)

From As the daughter of a clergyman, Julia Addison knows she’ll never be able to fulfill her lifelong dream of acting on the stage. But writing forthright reviews of the Season’s most popular plays for Mrs. Goode’s Magazine for Misses, popularly known as Goode’s Guide to Misconduct is surely the next best thing. Even better, she’s got a ticket to Ransom Blackadder’s latest irritating satire about English society. Best of all, she’s sharing a theater box with the gruff but handsome Lord Dunstane, which is enough to make Julia call for an encore . . .  

Graham McKay, the Earl of Dunstane, rarely leaves his home in the Scottish Highlands. Why would he? Nothing about London has ever held his interest—until he meets Julia. But when Graham realizes she is the critic who panned his last play—and she discovers he is in fact the man behind Blackadder’s wicked pen—will it bring down the curtain on their romance—not to mention the magazine that published the humiliating review? Or can an unexpected collaboration set the stage for a scandalous love affair?

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was a cute read, however, I had more than a little trouble believing that there was anything but friendship and a healthy dose of lust between these two. Sure they had chemistry, and some of the back and forth banter was entertaining, but on the whole I wasn't buying them actually falling in love with each other to the point they wanted to marry. And it certainly didn't help matters that he proposed to her after sleeping with her. 

The main issue that I had with this one is that (much like what happened in book one), when Graham finds out the truth about Julia (especially after he opened up to her about his double-life), it is simply glossed over. This time, we are told that it is because Graham is in love with her and not only does he not care that she is the columnist he was out to get, he regrets asking his secretary to even look into her identity to begin with. I not only wanted, but I needed them to at least have a heart-to-heart about it much more than what we got. 

I will say the drama that unfolded at the end was interesting and did add a bit of flair to the story, but overall, it wasn't enough to bump this one up higher for me. However, I would read the next in the installment (should there be one) as I am invested in the other Misses that write for the column. 

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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