Review – The Virgin Who Ruined Lord Gray by Anna Bradley

About the Book:

Behind the doors of the Clifford Charity School for Wayward Girls, there lies a secret society of brilliant, fearless women who are bringing justice to London’s most corrupt aristocrats, one nobleman at a time…

Other young ladies might occupy their spare time with drawing or needlework, but Sophia Monmouth spends hers scaling rooftops and shadowing suspicious characters. Her objective: to gain information that will free a friend wrongly accused of murder. She hasn’t bargained on being spotted and followed back to the Clifford School by a mysterious earl who holds almost as many secrets as she does.

Tristan Stratford, Lord Gray, earned the nickname the Ghost of Bow Street because no man has ever escaped him. Sophia—all soft curves beneath her disguise—is a unique challenge. Determined to learn the truth about the Clifford School, he joins Sophia in a scheme that leads from Newgate’s cells to the pinnacle of power. But when desire is at odds with justice, succumbing to temptation may lead them both into the heart of danger…

CLICK HERE FOR DIRECT AMAZON BUY LINK: The Virgin Who Ruined Lord Gray (The Swooning Virgins Society Book 1)

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Tristan Stratford was formerly known as the Ghost of Bow Street, due to his successful career as a Bow Street Runner.  Now, due to the death of his brother, he is forced to assume the title of the Earl of Gray, and give up his fulfilling career.  Before he departs for Oxfordshire to assume his duties, which include marrying a local lady hand picked by his demanding mother, he becomes embroiled in a tangled web, with a most intriguing young woman.  And it all began by his looking out his window and noticing what he thought was a boy perched on his neighbor’s roof….

Sophia Monmouth was an orphaned street urchin when she was chosen by Lady Clifford to become a student at the Clifford Charity School for Wayward Girls.  Lady Clifford is a unique and somewhat mysterious woman, one whose students are involved in more than ladylike pursuits.  When one of their own is falsely accused of murder, Sophia is tasked with finding the truth.  The initial investigation has led Sophia to Peter Sharpe, the servant to a lord living next to Gray.  Her agility allows her to scramble up to the pediment above his door, where she can keep watch.  When Sharpe leaves, she follows, unaware that she was spotted by Gray, who is now following her.

The ensuing chase has Sophia confident of escaping her own pursuer, until she realizes that he’s the Ghost of Bow Street, and is quite capable of keeping up with her.  Gray realizes that he’s pursuing a beautiful young woman, not the boy he originally thought, and also that she’s heading back to the Clifford School.  It doesn’t take long for Gray to find out Sophia’s identity and the reason for her pursuit of Peter Sharpe.  He is initially appalled because the murderer she is intent on proving innocent is accused of killing another Bow Street Runner, Henry Gerrard, one of Gray’s dearest friends.

From the onset, it’s clear that Gray and Sophia are on opposing sides.  Their initial meetings are rife with Sophia’s snarky comments, which Gray secretly appreciates, as he fights his increasing desire for the unusual young woman.  Circumstances change, and Gray comes to see that Sophia’s friend is, indeed, innocent, and that there is a whole underlying conspiracy, one which touches both the nobility and the Runners.  Now working together, Gray and Sophia become closer, grow to admire each other greatly, and give in to the sizzling passion between them.

The relationship between Sophia and Gray is so wonderful – they share a playful and warm camaraderie, which extends beyond the bedroom.  I love seeing the softer side of both of them, as they have had pasts which have somewhat hardened them.  This is the first in the new series, the Swooning Virgins Society, but that only pertains to the fiction they read.  In real life, Sophia is fearless, brave, determined, yet vulnerable enough to open herself up to love.  Gray is equally brave, intelligent, and so protective of Sophia.  Their romance is genuine, strong, and sweet while being very steamy.  There are some fearful and heartbreaking moments, as Gray and Sophia save each other, both physically and emotionally.  I love every part of THE VIRGIN WHO RUINED LORD GRAY, and I am so impressed with Anna Bradley’s excellent writing, which delivers everything I want to read in a historical romance.  I can’t wait for the upcoming installments in this series, and I hope to learn more about the mysterious Lady Clifford and her “wayward” young ladies.    ~Rose

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