HOW TO SCHOOL YOUR SCOUNDREL – Juliana Gray
A Princess in Hiding Romance - Book 3
Anarchists killed her father and husband and forced Crown Princess Luisa of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof to flee her country. With her uncle's (the Duke of Olympia) and her governess's help, she and her sisters escaped to hide as working men in England. Luisa has become Mr. Markham, the secretary of the Earl of Somerton. Luisa, having been at the peak of aristocratic order, in her hidden identity as Mr. Markham remains undaunted by the highborn and irascible attitude of her employer. His wife is one of the most beautiful women Luisa has ever seen, but that doesn't stop Luisa from forming a loyal attachment to Somerton.
Leopold, the Earl of Somerton knows his countess doesn't love him; indeed, she is having an affair with the Duke of Olympia's grandson, Lord Roland Penhallow. She loved Penhallow before Somerton arranged for her to become his bride. Since the birth of their son, they have lived separately, but his jealousy remains fixed, and finding proof of her deception becomes paramount so he can deal her lover the punishment he deserves. His own behavior isn't any better than Penhallow's; matter of fact, it is worse. However, Markham, with his loyalty hedged with a strong morality, seems to bring changes in attitude to the scandalous earl.
This is the third in the Princesses in Hiding romance series; if it is the last, I'm miffed the one female miscreant most deserving of comeuppance seems to escape! This volume has a lot going on, a failed marriage making Somerton irrational, a developing relationship, danger for the princess, and a country to reclaim, while the mentor character, the Duke of Olympia, goes to extreme lengths, including dressing as a woman, to arrange the princesses' safety and their return home. Somerton is a hard character to like, but as he overcomes his history and his liking of Markham evolve, he becomes a better man. The reader also watches as Luisa, a formerly entitled princess, develops into a woman worthy of ruling. There are a few paradoxes in the criminal part of the story, but otherwise very good reading.