Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander

Today I'm thrilled to be hosting a tour spot for Victoria Alexander's The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding. Published by Zebra / Kensington, Shocking Secret was released on November 4th. It's the fourth book in the Millworth Manor series, and upfront, let me say that it confirms my decision to auto-buy Victoria Alexander. She's one of my go-to historical romance authors for very good reason!

For the rest of the stops on the tour, check out Tasty Book Tours.

The Book

The bride and groom cordially request your presence for a wedding at Millworth Manor… 

Guests will include Jackson Quincy Graham Channing, New York City banker, and Lady Theodosia “Teddy” Winslow, wedding planner to the finest families in England.

Introductions shall be followed by light conversation, dancing, flirtation, arguing, reconciliation, and an impulsive kiss that both parties are quite certain they will never repeat.

 Until they do.

 A mutually beneficial fake engagement will be accompanied by all manner of very real complications, scandalous revelations, nefarious schemes, and one inescapable conclusion: That true love—unlike the perfect wedding—is impossible to plan…

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding is available now!


“First, you should know about your family, Jackson,” Father began.

“He does know about his family,” Mother said under her breath.

Father ignored her and continued. “There are Channings all over England, mostly distant relations and you needn’t be overly concerned with them.”

“Although it is nice to know they exist,” Lucy said.

“Exactly.” Father nodded. “And I dare say you’ll meet them all eventually.”

“I really don’t see –“ Mother began.

“Quiet Mother.” Jack nodded at his father. “Go on.”

“For the most part, they’re not especially important although admittedly some of them are most amusing. Eccentric is probably the kindest description.” The colonel lowered his voice in a confidential manner. “There is Cousin Wilfred on my father’s side. He was quite convinced he could fly. He couldn’t of course. Pity, as it turned out.” Father shook his head in a regretful manner. “But as I was saying, you needn’t bother concerning yourself with anyone aside from the immediate family. At least for now.”

“The immediate family?” Jack said.

“You my boy, have an uncle, my twin brother, Nigel, and an aunt, his wife Bernadette. They have three daughters, charming girls all of them. They’ve grown up quite nicely, all things considered. Oddly enough, I am not the only brother whose wife preferred to let his offspring believe he was dead.”

Lucy stared.

“Although in Nigel’s case, he did rather deserve it. But that’s neither here nor there at the moment.” Father’s brow furrowed thoughtfully. “Let me thin. The eldest girls are older than you and are twins. One is married, the other a widow and about to be married again. The youngest, Delilah, is also a widow. So you can see how the revelation that I have a son changes, well, everything. Especially the future. The family’s and yours.”

“Basil.” A warning sounded in Mother’s voice. ‘This is not how I wanted –“

“It no longer matters what you want Elizabeth. You’ve had what you wanted for far too long.” Father cast her a hard look.

“I’m not certain I understand,” Jack said slowly. “I know I am as shocked by your existence as you are by mine. And this does change a lot, for any number of reasons. But while it certainly is significant, in a personal sense, I fail to see what effect my having a living father, and you having a son has on your future or mine. Not that I don’t like the idea mind you,” he added quickly. “It would be different if we were having this, oh, reunion I suppose is the only word for it, when I was ten years old or even twenty. Burt I am an adult. I have a position of responsibility at the bank and a sound, solid career ahead of me there. My future is well planned out.”

“Exactly,” Mother said under her breath.

“It might well have been planned out yesterday or this morning or even a few hours ago but now…” His father’s gaze me his. “Now your future is entirely different.”

Jack drew his brows together. “I still don’t see-“

“My brother is the Earl of Briston.” Father paused to allow the others to grasp the significance of his pronouncement.

“Jackson, your uncle is an earl,” Lucy said with delight. “How very interesting.”

“It’s more than merely interesting my dear girl,” Father said. “I know it’s not the same in your country-“

“We don’t have earls for one thing.” Mother sniffed.

“But in my country”-he met Jack’s gaze-“your country as well titles and property are often tied together in what is called an entailment. Are you familiar with it?”

“Vaguely.” Jack nodded. “We deal on occasion with English financial institutions and I’ve seen reference to it in correspondence. It has to do with inheritance doesn’t it?”

“Exactly.” His father studied him closely. “A title is tied to a family’s property, they are passed on together. In our case, Millworth Manor, the estate that has been in our family for generations, as well as some other properties, are tied to the title. The title can only be inherited by the closest male relative. If my brother died, I would be next in line to be the Earl of Briston. If I died..”

Lucy gasped.

Mother sighed.

Jack stared. “Are you saying that I would be the next earl?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Father nodded. “And thank God, too. We were all afraid Millworth and the title would eventually go to Wilfred’s son.” He shuddered. “And believe me no one wanted that.”

My Review

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding is probably the wordiest title of any book I've read this year. I enjoy Victoria Alexander generally so I had to give this one a shot.

I can't say I was pleasantly surprised because I *was* expecting to like this book, but the plot did catch me a little off guard. Most of the book involves the fake engagement refered to in the blurb and trying to navigate it while Theodosia and Jack learn about each other and themselves. 

This book wasn't heavy on conflict - there was some busy about other romantic entanglements and some difficulties around Jack's parents and Theo's mom but overall, I felt that this was a pretty gentle romance. I did like that this one seems to take place alongside other romances in the series - I haven't read any of the other books in the Millworth Manor series but I'm definitely tempted to pick one up now. Dee's tale is especially intriguing to me.

Jack was very charming, and completely romantic. He may just be one of my favourite Heroes (capital H totally earned) and definitely my favourite banker, possible of all time. I cannot really recall too many heroic bankers, to be honest. The things he says to Theodosia are absolutely, perfectly wonderful. Theo's efforts to remain solvent following her father's demise are admirable and I really respected her for all the hard work and ingenuinity she displayed. I loved the child-parent dynamics in this book - grown children realizing that their parents aren't exactly what their children believe them to be - very true! 

This book has a lovely thread of Christmas running through it, and there were some really entertaining scenes around the family celebrations.

I also thought that the gender attitudes displayed in this book are, while progressive at times, also conservative at times and very appropriate for the time period. So often everyone in historical romances are ultra-progressive and display our modern sensibilities through and through, so it was nice to see the men, in particular, grappling with more period-appropriate notions of gender roles.

Bottom line:

The Shocking Secret of a Guest at the Wedding was a pleasant read. I enjoyed it and recommend it for fans of historical romance. There wasn't anything here that really had me racing through the pages, but rather this was a gentle and sweet story that would be great accompanied by a roaring fire, some Christmas music and a cup of hot chocolate. 

4 stars
For fans of historical romance, low conflict romances, very charming heroes

About Victoria Alexander

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in a very old house in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two allegedly grown children and two bearded collies. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it's never too soon to panic.

Find her on the web:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Trust me when I say that you'll want to get in on this giveaway - I'm confident either of these books would be a welcome addition to your bookshelf!

1 comment: