Review – Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies by Shana Galen and Theresa Romain

About the Book:

Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies appears exclusive and respectable, a place for daughters of the gentry to glean the accomplishments that will win them suitable husbands.

But the academy is not what it seems. It’s more.

Alongside every lesson in French or dancing or mathematics, the students learn the skills they’ll need to survive in a man’s world. They forge; they fight; they change their accents to blend into a world apart. And the staff at the academy find a haven from their pasts…and lose their hearts.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                  Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies

My Thoughts:                

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

At Mrs. Brodie’s school, the students are trained not only in the expected tasks a young lady should know, but also, surprisingly different things – like self defense and “creative” calligraphy.  These two novellas tell the stories of two employees at the school, and both are about receiving a second chance at love, one of my favorite tropes.

The Way to a Gentleman’s Heart by Theresa Romain

Jack Grahame and Marianne Redfern were childhood friends, then lovers who planned to marry.  Jack’s family was poor, and when Jack’s father arranged a marriage for him to a wealthy merchant’s daughter, Jack’s sense of responsibility made him accept.  The situation would have been bad enough for Marianne, but the way she found out was truly devastating.  Her humiliation caused her to leave the comfort of her family and travel to town, determined to make a living on her own.  She was lucky enough to be employed at Mrs. Brodie’s Academy, first as a maid, then an assistant cook, and now as the head cook.

Eight years have passed, and Jack has been widowed for two years.  The marriage was not happy, and the details were quite unusual.  He finally comes to visit Marianne, in his own words, to ask her forgiveness.  Marianne is shocked to see Jack, and surprisingly, decides to put him to work assisting her until she employs a new helper.  It’s not long before their old familiar passion flares up, but that is only the surface reaction, as, underneath there are still misunderstandings and mistrust between them.  When Jack is called home, they part on rocky terms, and possibly forever.

THE WAY TO A GENTLEMAN’S HEART is a sweet, yet painful read, dealing with making tough choices when everything is not simply black or white, letting go of pride, and opening your heart to forgiveness and acceptance.

Counterfeit Scandal by Shana Galen

Bridget Lavery and Caleb Harris fell in love and planned to marry eight years ago.  At that time, Caleb was an agent for the foreign office, and when he disappeared, Bridget was informed that he was killed.  Bridget was expecting their child, and accepted a proposal from a man who was smitten with her and agreed to accept the baby.  Unfortunately, her husband’s ineptness landed them both in debtor’s prison, and Bridget temporarily placed her son, James, in an orphanage until she was able to reclaim him.  When Bridget is finally released, her husband has died, and she is forced to seek employment.  She luckily is accepted as a teacher at Mrs. Brodie’s Academy, and saves every bit of money until she has enough to afford her own lodgings, and have her son back with her.

Bridget’s bad luck continues when she discovers that the orphanage where she left James has burned down.  No one is able to tell her where all the children were moved.  Then, to her amazement, she runs into her “dead” fiancé, Caleb, who is staying at the very same lodging house.  It turns out that Caleb did not leave Bridget by choice.  His assignment was extremely dangerous and confidential, and now he is a wanted man, with a substantial bounty on his head.  When Bridget tells Caleb about their son, James, he agrees to help her find him on the condition she not reveal his relationship to James.  Caleb feels he has no future, and has no desire to embroil his former love and his son in his tattered life.  When Caleb is recognized by a prominent underworld figure, it appears all hope is lost.

COUNTERFEIT SCANDAL is a sad tale of true lovers parted by circumstances beyond their control.  It’s heartbreaking to see how Bridget was forced to part with her beloved son after losing the man she loved.  Her life was not an easy one, but neither was Caleb’s, as his life was constantly in peril while he performed his duties for his government.  It seems that Bridget and Caleb deserve a much needed miracle if they are to have any chance of reuniting with their lost son and with each other, but sometimes the sweetest rewards are ones that were the hardest to come by.

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