Invitation to Scandal - Bronwen Evans
A review for The Romance Reviews.

INVITATION TO SCANDAL is historical romance at its best! Bronwen Evans writes a tale of love, betrayal, honor and strength, and it kept me riveted from beginning to end.

Rufus is out to clear his father's name and to rid his family of the shame they've had to endure since his father's death, but his plans take an unexpected turn while trying to find a smuggler who may hold the key to the information he needs. Instead of the criminal named "The Dark Shadow", he finds a hellion of a woman who beguiles him more than he cares to admit--especially since he knows she hiding something.

Rheda has dealt with scandal since her father died, but she's out to make a life for herself without having to be at the mercy of a man. So, when a rakish devil named Rufus comes sniffing around trying to find out more about her secret identity--"The Dark Shadow"--she's determined to stay away from him although her body heats at the sight of him like no other man. Can love bloom in the face of deeply guarded secrets?

INVITATION TO SCANDAL completely surprised me. I didn't know it from the first chapter, but I was soon entranced by Rufus and Rheda in such a way that I finished the book before I even realized it.

Rheda's character really resonated with me. She was left with a younger brother at the early age of 17 and she had to fend for the two of them. She may not have made the best choices, but she was strong, determined, and totally fierce. But underneath it all, there was a vulnerability to her that made me wish for someone to protect her as much as I respected her independence.

The chemistry between Rufus and Rheda was sizzling from the instant they meet. Rufus being the rake he was, was intrigued by a woman who would actually turn him down. So, that was fun to see. But it was obvious their relationship was an inevitability.

This romance was not all love and roses. The plot in this book was fantastic. Intermixed with the romance were secrets and deceit, treachery and betrayal. The story had twists and turns that had me continually changing my theories. But when the big reveal came, even I was shocked with how deep the villainy went.

Overall, INVITATION TO SCANDAL was a fantastically absorbing read. It had everything I could have asked and then gave me even more. The ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger, so I'm hoping to get more of these characters very soon!