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The cure for a willful wife... Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn't marry. But that doesn't stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend's brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel' The cure for a willful wife... Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn't marry. But that doesn't stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend's brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel's heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it's enough to make Dru's formidable resolve crumble... ...is a smitten husband. She's sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there's the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru's affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they're to save their future—and their very lives—they'll need to trust in each other and their growing love.


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The cure for a willful wife... Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn't marry. But that doesn't stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend's brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel' The cure for a willful wife... Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn't marry. But that doesn't stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend's brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel's heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it's enough to make Dru's formidable resolve crumble... ...is a smitten husband. She's sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there's the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru's affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they're to save their future—and their very lives—they'll need to trust in each other and their growing love.

30 review for Notorious

  1. 4 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    Notorious is by one of my favorite historical romance authors, Minerva Spencer, so the fact that I didn't like this story is crushing for me. I can't tell you how excited I was to read Notorious. I am a big fan of her "Outcasts" series (and I highly recommend reading Dangerous before starting this story because it acts as a prequel for Notorious), and I couldn't wait to read Gabriel's story. However, this book suffered the double whammy of lacking momentum and having zero communication between th Notorious is by one of my favorite historical romance authors, Minerva Spencer, so the fact that I didn't like this story is crushing for me. I can't tell you how excited I was to read Notorious. I am a big fan of her "Outcasts" series (and I highly recommend reading Dangerous before starting this story because it acts as a prequel for Notorious), and I couldn't wait to read Gabriel's story. However, this book suffered the double whammy of lacking momentum and having zero communication between the main characters. I struggled to like Drucilla, even from the start. She is snippy with Gabriel and expects him to read her mind when she gives no clues as to how she is feeling. Time and time again, opportunities to communicate pass her by without her engaging in them, and Gabriel was barely any better. There was so much sniping back and forth, and it wasn't much fun to read about. I also didn't enjoy the personality changes towards the end of the story. What about Drucilla's extreme feminism? I also felt conflicted about how Gabriel's background was portrayed. I love that we got a non-white MC and there was discussion about his background, but I think the story felt biased towards his British, Caucasian side. There was an undertone of something there that I didn't enjoy. Looking forward to the next book in the series, which I have a feeling I'll enjoy more. I know Minerva Spencer has it in her to wow me, as she has done time and time again, but this book wasn't it for me. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stacey is Sassy

    I did not enjoy this story… This review is a wee bit spoilerish, please proceed with caution. Now, normally I would cut my losses early with a story that doesn’t work for me. In this case, I had heard a lot about Minerva Spencer and her fabulous storytelling abilities, so persevered waiting for the fabulous to start happening. Unfortunately, I only read romance and this story was one of the least romantic I have read in a long time. At 92% I was still waiting for the fabulous to happen and HATED t I did not enjoy this story… This review is a wee bit spoilerish, please proceed with caution. Now, normally I would cut my losses early with a story that doesn’t work for me. In this case, I had heard a lot about Minerva Spencer and her fabulous storytelling abilities, so persevered waiting for the fabulous to start happening. Unfortunately, I only read romance and this story was one of the least romantic I have read in a long time. At 92% I was still waiting for the fabulous to happen and HATED the Hero. I think the main problem was that it was a little too historically accurate for my liking. Minerva Spencer seems to take glee in promoting a hero who is misogynistic, shallow, and has double standards. I was not impressed with the hero visiting his mistress (one of two) and kissing and cuddling her the day before his wedding. Then, he proceeded to shove his mistresses (who have now been promoted to ‘friends’) down his wife’s throat by visiting them regularly. If the author wanted me to see his growth from mistress to a loving relationship with his new wife, she failed. Their relationship was nothing more than the hero replacing his mistresses with a new one, titled ‘Wife’. Then, we have the supposedly strong-minded heroine with unusual opinions … blah, blah, blah … equal rights … blah, blah, blah … feminism … blah, blah, blah … I just didn't feel it. I’m told that the heroine believed and followed Mary Wollstonecraft’s philosophies, but there was no proof besides 'talk' of meetings between likeminded individuals. At the first stumbling block, the heroine forgoes all that she stood for previously and succumbs to the sexual allure of her handsome husband. Again, this is probably historically accurate because women didn’t really get a choice back in the day. Why start with a description of this forward-thinking woman and not show her as one? One of the biggest failings with this couple and their relationship is their lack of communication. The heroine expected the hero to read her mind. The hero didn’t think the heroine was entitled to his thoughts and opinions … unless they were directed to her failings and perceived disloyalty. It took way too long for this couple to have a genuine conversation. If I don’t like the hero, there’s a pretty good chance that I won’t like the story. While there were some improvements with their communication by the end, it was just a little too late. Even when it was time for this couple to come together to fight the villain, it seemed they were still on different pages. I liked that the hero was original with a mixed heritage, and we get to know a little about his history and the struggles he faced moving to London. The hero’s past was ugly and very different to his fellow Londoners. He made every effort to fit in and change his beliefs, the way he talked and dressed. While in some ways he was accepted, there were still many times that he was treated differently. Luckily for him, his mother was the daughter of a Duke, and that connection helped him in society. I’m not 100% sure of the historical accuracy in this part, but I imagined the author wasn’t too far off the mark. Two stars for Notorious. While this story was lacking in romance and I struggled to see a happy ever after for the couple, there were parts that I found interesting. To each, his own and all that jazz, don't judge this book on my opinion alone. Take the time to read what others say, and you may find Notorious works perfectly for you. Stacey is Sassy, received an advanced copy of this story. The copy provided is not the final copy and may be subject to edits and changes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Phrynne

    My first book by Minerva Spencer so thank you Netgalley and the publisher for introducing me to her Regency novels. I am a big Georgette Heyer fan so I do look out for books which are influenced by her style. The plot of Notorious is fairly standard - the forced marriage and the misunderstandings, followed by some dangerous event which ends up bringing everyone to a happy ever after. I did feel the misunderstandings went on a little too long when basically the two main characters just needed to t My first book by Minerva Spencer so thank you Netgalley and the publisher for introducing me to her Regency novels. I am a big Georgette Heyer fan so I do look out for books which are influenced by her style. The plot of Notorious is fairly standard - the forced marriage and the misunderstandings, followed by some dangerous event which ends up bringing everyone to a happy ever after. I did feel the misunderstandings went on a little too long when basically the two main characters just needed to talk to each other, but they did eventually get resolved. The book was well written. The settings were realistic and appropriate for the time as were people's attitudes to subjects such as equality for women. The ballroom scenes rang true as well with the author describing overheated, crowded rooms and sweaty bodies. Three stars from me because I enjoyed the book but did not really become involved in it. However I will be looking out for more books to try by this author .

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    I'M GONNA HAVE TO SAY NO TO THIS ONE So... I was really excited about this one. The promise of a feminist heroine who had studied Wollstonecraft was so alluring! However, I was sorely let down. Even though the first chapter showed such promise, that was literally the only thing I liked about this book. The first chapter. That's it. 👍 What I Liked 👍 The first chapter: Honestly, the first chapter WAS SO GOOD! I am so sad the rest of the book could not carry on the good vibes from the first chapter. W I'M GONNA HAVE TO SAY NO TO THIS ONE So... I was really excited about this one. The promise of a feminist heroine who had studied Wollstonecraft was so alluring! However, I was sorely let down. Even though the first chapter showed such promise, that was literally the only thing I liked about this book. The first chapter. That's it. 👍 What I Liked 👍 The first chapter: Honestly, the first chapter WAS SO GOOD! I am so sad the rest of the book could not carry on the good vibes from the first chapter. When Dru and Gabriel are introduced here in the first chapter it's obvious that there's friction between them, but it's entertaining, fun and filled with delightful banter. I wanted that vibe throughout the entire book. I didn't get it. 👎 What I Disliked 👎 Characters: Dru and Gabriel are seriously some of the worst characters. They are so unlikable. They are mean, judgmental, hot tempered and not able to communicate. At times it even seemed like found pleasure in hurting each other which was just so sad. I literally almost cried at one point because I was so frustrated with how much I disliked these two. It was awful. And their animosity went on for far too long! Feminism?: When we first meet Drusilla she is very vocal of her love for Mary Wollstonecraft and her thoughts on the rights of women. But, sadly, once Dru gets married, she seems to completely throw away all her feminist ideals and values. It was so annoying and so sad and made me dislike Dru even more! Ending: I won't give this away. I'll just say... it was a mess, okay? Romance?: Yeah, I don't know if I would even call this a romance novel, to be honest. Dru and Gabriel seem so toxic. This is not #relationshipgoals. And I especially disliked the constant back and forth, hot and cold thing going on here. ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me for more book loving content! Blog ✨ Facebook ✨ Instagram ✨ Twitter Blog Post: 15 Books to Read if You Love Jane Austen

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Jeffries

    Unique characters and emotional depth make Spencer’s Notorious a winner. Spencer gives you all the feels!

  6. 4 out of 5

    WhiskeyintheJar

    2.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Could there be anything more pitiful than a homely wallflower yearning for an arresting, attractive Corinthian? The first in the Rebels of the Ton series, Notorious pairs together Drusilla Clare, an heiress but the daughter of a tradesman and Gabriel Marlington, the son of an Englishwoman and the late sultan of Oran. Some of the names in the story m 2.5 stars I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Could there be anything more pitiful than a homely wallflower yearning for an arresting, attractive Corinthian? The first in the Rebels of the Ton series, Notorious pairs together Drusilla Clare, an heiress but the daughter of a tradesman and Gabriel Marlington, the son of an Englishwoman and the late sultan of Oran. Some of the names in the story may appear familiar, Gabriel's mother and stepfather starred in a previous series (Outcasts – Dangerous). I have not read that book and, in the beginning, I wondered if I missed some of Gabriel's background that was given in that book. We eventually get more of Gabriel's background regarding his family in Oran and what transpired there but it is more towards the end of the story and I felt placing it thus, gave the story some disjointed and pacing problems. She behaved as though he were a savage libertine with no self-restraint. Restraint was probably her middle name---or perhaps it was Censorious. I liked the beginning set-up with Drusilla's unrequited love for her friend Eva's stepbrother, Gabriel, and then they're forced marriage to save Drusilla's reputation. However, Drusilla is determined to keep her love for Gabriel a secret from him because she doesn't think there is anyway he could ever feel that way for her, in doing so, she is very caustic and quick to shut him out. They started off with some biting back and forth that felt like it could have some smoldering heat underneath but for the majority of the book, it kept getting dampened instead of building to flames. In the middle, Gabriel did reach out a couple times and try to build a friendship in their marriage but, even though Drusilla beat herself up over it right after, Drusilla kept being biting towards him. It is not until the latter half that we get her warming up and the author writes most of the thawing in very open door sex scenes. But she could not tell him what she truly feared: that she would be married to a man she loved who would never love her. The driving force to get these two together is a man named Lord Godric Visel, he hates Gabriel for some reason and creates the scene that has Gabriel offering for Drusilla's hand and a duel. After that scene, Visel hovers more on the edges, a murky danger for Gabriel and Drusilla but that storyline never truly develops as we get no reason for Visel's hate other than he might be “mad”. I would let this go more as the author alludes to racism being a possible reason but Visel looks to be lined up as the hero in the next in the series, and if that was his reason, I can't imagine readers enjoying his story. Visel also has a cousin that is friends with Drusilla that has some shady doings going on, works to help fill out the slight mystery and danger plot but I almost could have done with more scenes of Gabriel and Drusilla's growing friendship to romance more. I found the way some of the story's plot threads and reveals of characters, Gabriel's past in Oran revealed more towards the end, helped to create some pacing issues; the middle and latter half dragged for me. Drusilla stayed caustic towards Gabriel for too long and their bedroom antics didn't make-up for an emotional connection I was missing. I'm curiously interested in Gabriel's friend Thomas Byer but, as I said, the next in the series seems to pair Gabriel's stepsister Eva with the villain of this story, Visel, which to the way he was portrayed here, I have questions.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Candace Robinson

    Loved this one! It had fun things, serious things, twists and turns, and the perfect amount of swoon! I could bask in that cover for all eternity as well! Dru wasn’t very confident in herself which I could totally relate! But as the book progressed, we learn more about her and see her growth! And Gabe was totally on fire!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Em

    This book follows some of the younger generation featured in Ms. Spencer's Outcast series. Unfortunately, its principal characters are poorly drawn and unlikeable, and the story is underwhelming. Threesomes, orphaned children, oversharing parents and their super sexy marriages, bluestockings, villains who aren't super evil - just sorta, avenging younger sisters...friends, this is a hot mess. The elements of a good story might be there... but they're lost in translation. The Outcast series also p This book follows some of the younger generation featured in Ms. Spencer's Outcast series. Unfortunately, its principal characters are poorly drawn and unlikeable, and the story is underwhelming. Threesomes, orphaned children, oversharing parents and their super sexy marriages, bluestockings, villains who aren't super evil - just sorta, avenging younger sisters...friends, this is a hot mess. The elements of a good story might be there... but they're lost in translation. The Outcast series also pushed the limits of plausibility, but Ms. Spencer made it work. Not so this time. I forced myself to finish this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Guylou (Two Dogs and a Book)

    📚 Hello Book Friends! I finished NOTORIOUS by Minerva Spencer in one day. I could not put it down. It is delightful, sexy, and full of tension. The characters are fun and à propos for this historical romance. I love the conflicts between Drusilla and Gabriel and how their relationship evolves in the book. I also love the diversity in the book. This is a quick read that is entertaining and uplifting. #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram # 📚 Hello Book Friends! I finished NOTORIOUS by Minerva Spencer in one day. I could not put it down. It is delightful, sexy, and full of tension. The characters are fun and à propos for this historical romance. I love the conflicts between Drusilla and Gabriel and how their relationship evolves in the book. I also love the diversity in the book. This is a quick read that is entertaining and uplifting. #bookstadog #poodles #poodlestagram #poodlesofinstagram #furbabies #dogsofinstagram #bookstagram #dogsandbooks #bookishlife #bookishlove #bookstagrammer #books #booklover #bookish #bookaholic #reading #readersofinstagram #instaread #ilovebooks #bookishcanadians #canadianbookstagram #bookreviewer #bookcommunity #bibliophile #notorious #minervaspencer #bookreview

  10. 5 out of 5

    Christie«SHBBblogger»

    Title: Notorious Series: Rebels of the Ton #1 Author: Minerva Spencer Release date: November 24, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: historical romance Notorious was my first read by Minerva Spencer. It started out with real promise, but I soon realized that there were big character and plot issues that I couldn't get over. In the beginning chapters I was really enjoying the banter between the two characters and how the heroine's secret, unrequited love was hidden behind her animosity. She is an outspoken fe Title: Notorious Series: Rebels of the Ton #1 Author: Minerva Spencer Release date: November 24, 2020 Cliffhanger: no Genre: historical romance Notorious was my first read by Minerva Spencer. It started out with real promise, but I soon realized that there were big character and plot issues that I couldn't get over. In the beginning chapters I was really enjoying the banter between the two characters and how the heroine's secret, unrequited love was hidden behind her animosity. She is an outspoken feminist who isn't ashamed of her belief system, but sadly, deep down, she has poor self-esteem that causes her to act irrationally. The hero initially seemed like the unattainable "golden boy" rake who valiantly saves the reputation of his sister's best friend and falls for her after marriage. Unfortunately, Gabriel would be a tough pill to swallow even as I neared the end of the book. All of the initial excitement I felt drained slowly away until I struggled to find genuine romance to savor between these two characters. Eva marries Gabriel with mixed feelings. Although she's been secretly crushing over the man for some time, marriage was not something she ever dreamed of. She can't help but feel nervous and scared that she'll be spending a lifetime with someone who could never love her while she secretly pines away for them. It's worse than never having them, right? I did like that idea. But Eva's secret feelings and her poor opinion of herself led her to be waspish and secretive more than I would have liked. Lack of honesty and communication was the main barrier in their union, making them their own worst enemies. I'm not really a fan of drama/conflict caused by non-communication, so this was a problem for me. Gabriel was even worse when it came to communication which is really saying something. The hero had a huge secret that he was keeping from his wife. This is not by any means something that should be brushed aside when it's discovered, but that's exactly what happened by both main characters (to my disgust.) Without giving away any spoilers, I'll just say that his behavior in hiding it showed that he didn't see her as his equal. The fact that the heroine is supposed to be a "feminist" and doesn't bat an eye over his demands and edicts when the truth is revealed shows how weak she truly is. I honestly could not understand her meek compliance in the situation she found herself in. Don't even get me started about his TWO former mistresses that are shoved in her face that she is just supposed to accept will remain in his life when in fact, he forbade her from seeing her own male FRIEND. Rules for thee, and not for me? I gave this 2.5 stars because I really did enjoy a portion of the beginning of the book, so for that alone I couldn't quite dismiss the story. I did like the author's writing style which was simple and easy to engage with. However, I did feel a little lost about the hero's history which apparently began in her Outcast series. Towards the end of the book, the reader is given a detailed explanation, but typically this is something that we're given as an introduction. It shouldn't be assumed that we've all read the other series that the hero's family is featured in-I'm sure there were other people out there who were reading Ms. Spencer for the first time and needed that essential information to get a clearer picture of the hero. I ended the book with a fairly poor opinion of both the hero and heroine, so I'm sad to say that this romance wasn't very successful for me. Perhaps others will feel differently-I urge you to give it a chance if the synopsis sounds like something you would truly enjoy. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:

  11. 4 out of 5

    Niki (mustreadalltheromance)

    2.5 stars rounded up. Drusilla Clare is fine with her wallflower status since marriage goes against her principles, but she can’t help her love for her best friend’s brother, Gabriel Marlington. She’s longed for him ever since they first met, but their open animosity is such that no one would ever suspect her true feelings. but when she’s caught alone with a scoundrel and finds her reputation ruined, it’s Gabriel who saves her with a businesslike offer of marriage Drusilla cannot bring herself to 2.5 stars rounded up. Drusilla Clare is fine with her wallflower status since marriage goes against her principles, but she can’t help her love for her best friend’s brother, Gabriel Marlington. She’s longed for him ever since they first met, but their open animosity is such that no one would ever suspect her true feelings. but when she’s caught alone with a scoundrel and finds her reputation ruined, it’s Gabriel who saves her with a businesslike offer of marriage Drusilla cannot bring herself to refuse. Gabriel is less than thrilled at being forced into an unwanted marriage with the waspish Drusilla, but he does find himself unwittingly attracted to her. He’s surprised by her responsiveness to him and willingness to challenge his views and when a rival seems to vie for her attentions, Gabriel is even more shocked at his jealousy and possessiveness. Just as Dru and Gabe begin to find a rhythm together, their newfound accord is threatened by an unexpected danger, putting their lives at risk along with their fledgling love. I’ve got some very mixed feelings about this book. At first, I really didn’t care for it and found both Drusilla and Gabriel to be unlikable in their own ways. She was too hateful and holier than thou, but at times Gabriel completely deserved it with his high-handedness and other woman drama. I’m happy Gabe at least never really cheated, as that would’ve been a dealbreaker for me, but he did have an on-page other woman scene and I didn’t care for that, although it did rather fit his character. Dru’s sharpness might’ve been a defense mechanism, but it got old fast for me, as did Gabe’s constantly telling her how things would be. I thought this would make her a more sympathetic character for me, but she’s so hateful even when he’s trying to extend the olive branch that I just couldn’t like her. These two somehow only communicated or worked well together in bed and I think that cheapened their relationship some. I would’ve liked to see more on page communication between them to make them more believable together. These two each made me want to shake them with their many false starts and failures at simple, basic communication, but I started to like them together when Dru began gaining some confidence and they finally started exhibiting some mature communication. The action near the end was enough to keep me engrossed, although it did end a bit abruptly. I wound up enjoying these two together but without really liking either of them. I found this book improved for me greatly after about the halfway point and I started enjoying the characters more. Now I’m interested to continue the series and find out what’s going on with Eva. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Outcasts and rebels! An interesting plot dealing with the offspring from the Outcast series. Jibril or rather Gabriel Marlington as the son of the former Sultan of Oran, and Euphemia, the Marchioness of Exley, adds spice and adventure. Gabriel's step sister Eva's best friend Drusilla Clare has loved him forever in a silent suffering way, although Dru is anything but silent. An adherent of Mary Wolstenholme and an heiress, Dru funds houses for poor women and children and sees her future mapped out Outcasts and rebels! An interesting plot dealing with the offspring from the Outcast series. Jibril or rather Gabriel Marlington as the son of the former Sultan of Oran, and Euphemia, the Marchioness of Exley, adds spice and adventure. Gabriel's step sister Eva's best friend Drusilla Clare has loved him forever in a silent suffering way, although Dru is anything but silent. An adherent of Mary Wolstenholme and an heiress, Dru funds houses for poor women and children and sees her future mapped out as an eccentric feminist(my term) doing good works. That is until her hand is forced into a marriage of convenience with Gabriel to avoid a scandal. This (it seems) at the unwitting instigation of the mysterious Lord Visel, a new face in town, who seemingly harbors a focused intent and animus towards Gabriel. All very puzzling. There's quite a few avenues of interest and various twists. At heart Gabriel is a character with two cultural divides encompassing his personality. The formative years of the Jibril persona of course looms large being the deposed sultan's heir, and all that entailed even at sixteen. To the ton Gabriel is an unpredictable creature, a somewhat barbarous, if not down right exotic, swoon worthy enigma. Druscilla gives him a run for his money being an articulate open thinker who gives as good as she gets and often surprises Jibril (Gabriel). (We first met Jibril in 'Dangerous', the story of his mother Mia and Lord Exley--which I loved. Actually in my search to reinvestigate this group of people I took a trip down memory lane and reread the Outcast series. I find Gabriel's story not quite as gripping as that of his mother and her reluctant associates. Ha! However I really enjoyed Druscilla.) I must admit there's a plethora of bedroom scenes which for me often overwhelmed the storyline. But then maybe that is the point as this is all about the marriage of convenience trope with some fascinating undercurrents. How the two develop their relationship to one of trust and compatibility is an occasionally arduous journey ending on a note foretelling the next book in the series. A Kensington Books ARC via NetGalley

  13. 5 out of 5

    ♥ WishfulMiss ♥

    I was excited to read Dru and Gabe's story after reading their tension filled intro in the sneak peak but sadly it took a turn I wasn't expecting. I know many will enjoy reading the back and forth between these two (normally something I enjoy too) but for me this became a one sided romance with too many instances of double standards. Dru has been in love with Gabe for years and Gabe honestly can't stand her, thinks she's irritating, her looks lacking and makes no secret that he would have prefer I was excited to read Dru and Gabe's story after reading their tension filled intro in the sneak peak but sadly it took a turn I wasn't expecting. I know many will enjoy reading the back and forth between these two (normally something I enjoy too) but for me this became a one sided romance with too many instances of double standards. Dru has been in love with Gabe for years and Gabe honestly can't stand her, thinks she's irritating, her looks lacking and makes no secret that he would have preferred to marry another. The constant reminder by both the heroine and the hero about not only the other woman he intended to marry but also the two mistresses was way more outside drama than I wanted, honestly. I like angst but the hurt and jealousy that is never fully put to rest was a definite downer. Gabe, at first, was an interesting character but his actions towards Dru kept me from really falling for him as a hero. The fact that he resolved to respect her and treat her well one minute than immediately turn around and dismiss her or insult her (all while supposedly protecting his heart) was beyond frustrating. It was hard to garner any sympathy for him when he expected Dru to accept his many faults (and there are many!) but wouldn't bend once for her. It was not a character flaw I like to see in my romance reads. As for Dru, I expected a strong heroine that would stand her ground but in almost every situation, the author had her bending to Gabe's will instead. She was made, time and time again, to appease this man for no other reason than she loved his physical form (my opinion here) because other than his looks, there was not a lot of light shown on his "other" good qualities. I thought I'd like the best friend but even she turned out to show her true colors when she lashed out to her supposed best friend by revealing that her newly wedded husband (of one day) wasn't actually at his club but instead was visiting his mistresses while she was left home alone. Her spitefulness was deliberate and causes a lot of angst for Dru. After that I didn't really care for her selfish character either. Overall, this one lacked that warm fuzzy feeling a good romance invokes and although the writing style was good, the main characters, the choppy plot and the various secondary characters that bogged down the story made this one a pass for me. * * *  ARC provided for an honest review * * * I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. SAFETY INFO: (view spoiler)[ Ages : Both MCs are in their late 20s (h), early 30s (H) Cheating : I was waffling between yes and no but honestly the more I think about it the more I felt it was cheating on Gabe's part. . . (view spoiler)[Gabe is pretty hung up on the fact that he didn't get to marry the pretty heiress, the Kitten. Granted he claims he has accepted that his initial marriage plans aren't going to come to fruition but the fact that he has to constantly remind himself that he is "okay" with having to marry Dru instead of the OW rang very false to this reader. The fact that he never out and out puts this jealous and scorned OW in her place pissed me off too, tbh. Then there is the case of his two mistresses. Gabe has been in a committed ménage relationship with his two mistresses for three years. He considers them not only his lovers but his close friends. The cheating ick factor comes in when he visits his mistresses to tell them he is getting married. He has already proposed to Dru and plans to marry her within the next few days. He accepts a long kiss from one mistress and even takes her in his lap and gets hard when she fondles him. To me, he's already engaged. So getting petted and aroused by OW is cheating in my book. Especially since he doesn't feel guilt or any remorse for enjoying the attentions of this OW while Dru is else where. I personally don't like when the H/h in a romance feels physically attracted to other people and Gabe is always remembering OW and how he fantasized (with the Kitten) or remembering (with the mistresses) sexual scenarios before, during and after his marriage to Dru. (hide spoiler)] So while technically he never slept with anyone else after his marriage I also hated that he didn't immediately put up boundaries with OW either. Both emotionally or physically. OM/OW drama : There is so much other woman drama it was honestly a struggle for me to read this one until the end. (view spoiler)[ The Kitten: This is the diamond of the first water (everything our heroine is not) who Gabe had set out to marry in the beginning of the book. Everyone, including Dru, knew that he was planning to proposed to this OW by the end of the season. She makes catty remarks in the couple of appearances that she makes and Dru ends up being catty right back while Gabe watches with amusement. The Mistresses: These two ladies continue to be part of Gabe's inner circle even after his marriage to Dru. They were his exclusive lovers for 3 years and because of their role in raising Gabe's illegitimate son, going to be a constant for the rest of their lives. Baby Mama: Gabe has a 6 year old son with . . . his ex-fiancé turned sister-in-law. This was before he came to England and before he met/married Dru. His besties/mistresses have been raising him for the last 3 years and will continue to be in their lives as Gabe makes it clear to Dru that he will be living with his son and since the boy has been raised by his mistresses, he will also be seeing them constantly as they are considered the boy's family. (hide spoiler)] Separation : None. Push/Pull  : Yes from both sides. Gabe because he can't figure out if he is or isn't accepting of his forced marriage to Dru so lashes out like a temperamental child and Dru because she knows how Gabe feels and refuses to let him know how she really feels about him. Main Pursuer of relationship Of the emotional relationship, Dru since she is the only one whose heart is involved. The sexual relationship was obviously Gabe. He didn't have any qualms about sleeping with his unwanted but suddenly attractive wife without any emotional strings. Possible Triggers : OTT OW drama, shady hero, malleable heroine. HEA/HFN : Ends on a HEA/ILU declaration (hide spoiler)]

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    DNF The hero, who is biracial and the son of a former sultan of a made up country, is described as "rather exotic". It is 2020, and I'm no longer accepting novels that refer to non-white people as exotic (unless it happened in a way that called that out as stupid, which is not the case here FYI). Yes, it's historical, but we all know it's a fantasy version, and I don't need desire othering racism in my historical romance, thanks. DNF The hero, who is biracial and the son of a former sultan of a made up country, is described as "rather exotic". It is 2020, and I'm no longer accepting novels that refer to non-white people as exotic (unless it happened in a way that called that out as stupid, which is not the case here FYI). Yes, it's historical, but we all know it's a fantasy version, and I don't need desire othering racism in my historical romance, thanks.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Drusilla has been helplessly in love with her best friend Eva’s half-brother Gabriel for five years. But since he is a notorious rake and unbelievably handsome while she is more ordinary, she hides her feelings. She hides them so well that Gabriel thinks she dislikes him. But when Gabriel’s enemy Lord Visel places Drusilla in a compromising position the only way to silence the gossip is for Gabriel and Drusilla to marry, despite Gabriel courting the beautiful Miss Kittredge and Drusilla following Drusilla has been helplessly in love with her best friend Eva’s half-brother Gabriel for five years. But since he is a notorious rake and unbelievably handsome while she is more ordinary, she hides her feelings. She hides them so well that Gabriel thinks she dislikes him. But when Gabriel’s enemy Lord Visel places Drusilla in a compromising position the only way to silence the gossip is for Gabriel and Drusilla to marry, despite Gabriel courting the beautiful Miss Kittredge and Drusilla following the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft who opposed marriage. The young couple face numerous obstacles, including Gabe’s mistresses, Lord Visel, Eva, one of Drusilla’s admirers and their own feelings. This was a fast-paced, sexy historical romance. My only criticism would be that some situations were set up and then nothing happened, I can tell from the teaser for the next book in the series that there is a reason for at least one of these but it was a bit disconcerting. There is a lot of backstory, which I now see is because Gabriel’s mother had her own book Dangerous, however it was easy to read this as a stand-alone and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. Bumped for release.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rainelle

    I found this book to be different from books that I have read from Minerva Spencer. The characters I found quite entertaining. They brought great dialogue to the book. The plot was good. I was looking more for the Victorian history romance aspects from the book. I would like to read details from the wedding. It’s was hard to push through reading Gabriel making out with his mistress the day before his wedding. I would like to have seen more romance scenes from Gabriel and Drusila. The book started I found this book to be different from books that I have read from Minerva Spencer. The characters I found quite entertaining. They brought great dialogue to the book. The plot was good. I was looking more for the Victorian history romance aspects from the book. I would like to read details from the wedding. It’s was hard to push through reading Gabriel making out with his mistress the day before his wedding. I would like to have seen more romance scenes from Gabriel and Drusila. The book started out good with the banter between Drusila and Gabriel, but after Gabriel went to talk to his parents the book hit a slump. I voluntary reviewed this ARC after receiving a free gifted copy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Magical World of Reading

    Minerva Spencer with her new novel ‘Notorious’ will lead you in the past, where one sassy wallflower lands the handsome rogue in one bittersweet romance that is certainly a very interesting beginning to what promises to be great series. This tale is about a marriage of convenience, which is definitely often used in historical romance books, but the plot and definitely the characters are quite appealing and make this book unique in its own way. Drusilla Clare, confused by her own feelings and desi Minerva Spencer with her new novel ‘Notorious’ will lead you in the past, where one sassy wallflower lands the handsome rogue in one bittersweet romance that is certainly a very interesting beginning to what promises to be great series. This tale is about a marriage of convenience, which is definitely often used in historical romance books, but the plot and definitely the characters are quite appealing and make this book unique in its own way. Drusilla Clare, confused by her own feelings and desires, burdened by her own insecurities is drawn to Gabriel Marlinton since the time she first lain eyes on him. So handsome and charming, a but hedonistic and arrogant, Gabriel had no intention at all to be ties up in a marriage of convenience. But destiny has other plans. The sexy rogue and the shrewish maiden end up married. Strong and sassy women were not really desirable brides in the past. But what if the hatred is just a mask? And the passion is way too powerful to be ignored? But what happens when she starts challenging and intriguing him at every turn? When all the problems and obstacles give way to new feelings and undeniable chemistry? The realistic and well-developed characters, plus the well-integrated descriptions and details make this book a great read. With twists and turns on every corner and well-narrated plot, this story will certainly not bore the reader.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rach

    Drusilla Clare has her opinions on life. Her bestfriend is Eva, who has a stepbrother Gabriel Marlington. Everytime Drusilla and Gabriel across paths they class. Drusilla has a problem though she is attracted to Gabriel even though she doesn't want to be. Drusilla finds herself in a situation with Godric Fleming and Gabriel helps her out. Their names are smeared after this and the only way out is for Drusilla and Gabriel to marry. Will they marry and have a happy ending or will they fall apart. I Drusilla Clare has her opinions on life. Her bestfriend is Eva, who has a stepbrother Gabriel Marlington. Everytime Drusilla and Gabriel across paths they class. Drusilla has a problem though she is attracted to Gabriel even though she doesn't want to be. Drusilla finds herself in a situation with Godric Fleming and Gabriel helps her out. Their names are smeared after this and the only way out is for Drusilla and Gabriel to marry. Will they marry and have a happy ending or will they fall apart. I liked Drusilla and Gabriel as individuals but when they are together I found them to be quite childish at times. Instead of listening and talking to each other they would just argued instead and it got a bit repetitive in the book. There was a bit of mysterious element to the story regarding Gabriel. I have to admit while reading I was more interested in Eva and Gordric characters and I was hoping we would read more about them. I got my wish as the next book involves these two. I received a ARC from Netgalley and Kensington Books for an objection review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    The narrative behind Gabriel’s character made me really uncomfortable. Being half Arab, Gabriel is one of the books only instances of diversity- yet, is constantly describes and portrayed as a “savage” and “brute”. Additionally, his Islamic background was poorly written and built upon stereotypes surrounding the religion. As a Muslim reader, I was so uncomfortable with how this was handled. Not only was it unnecessary, but it took away so much from the story. All of this aside, the overall relati The narrative behind Gabriel’s character made me really uncomfortable. Being half Arab, Gabriel is one of the books only instances of diversity- yet, is constantly describes and portrayed as a “savage” and “brute”. Additionally, his Islamic background was poorly written and built upon stereotypes surrounding the religion. As a Muslim reader, I was so uncomfortable with how this was handled. Not only was it unnecessary, but it took away so much from the story. All of this aside, the overall relationship between Dru and Gabe was awful. It felt so one sided for the majority of the book- for heavens sake, why did he wait so long to say “I love you”?! The entire time I felt as if Dru was the only one who would ever be in love. This isn’t helped by the fact that Gabe constantly says that Dru isn’t pretty but has a nice body- like what?! He learns to appreciate her looks later on in the book, but the transition is awkward. Overall, this book had potential. The summary and plot was interesting, and the writing style was pleasant to read. However, I can not rate this book higher due to its horrible representation of Arabs and Muslims, and the terrible relationship dynamics.

  20. 5 out of 5

    linda hole

    This was just an ok book for me. Even though the authors writes beautifully, the story has been topd top øany times before in my opinion Thank you to netgalley for letting me read this e arc in exchange for an honest review

  21. 5 out of 5

    Reyes

    Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book! 1.5 Stars I haven't read many historical romance books, but lately I've found a few that were super fun and very interesting to read, and when I saw this I thought I'd found another one: a female protagonist that refuses to follow society's conventions, an enemies-to-lovers relationship and witty banter? Sign me in! Unfortunately, rather than engaging banter what we have for the first half of the book is open Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book! 1.5 Stars I haven't read many historical romance books, but lately I've found a few that were super fun and very interesting to read, and when I saw this I thought I'd found another one: a female protagonist that refuses to follow society's conventions, an enemies-to-lovers relationship and witty banter? Sign me in! Unfortunately, rather than engaging banter what we have for the first half of the book is open animosity between the protagonist couple, and then the relationship runs hot and cold and hot and cold again and I honestly lost interest. It didn't help that I wasn't particularly invested in any of the main characters either (but I did love Eva, and her ending was great!! I'm actually looking forward to reading her book). I did enjoy the writing, and although the story had too much drama for my liking, I believe this book will make fans of historical romance very happy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

    So. I kinda hated Drusilla at first, who is so sharp tongued and almost bitter every time she comes into contact with Gabriel. Gabriel annoyed me a lot in the beginning too, and I felt like way too much time was spent on his past sexual exploits. This is a recurring theme throughout most of the book. BUT! As the story went along and these two found their way to living with the situation they found themselves in, I grew to enjoy it more, even with a few super awkward/frustrating interactions. I l So. I kinda hated Drusilla at first, who is so sharp tongued and almost bitter every time she comes into contact with Gabriel. Gabriel annoyed me a lot in the beginning too, and I felt like way too much time was spent on his past sexual exploits. This is a recurring theme throughout most of the book. BUT! As the story went along and these two found their way to living with the situation they found themselves in, I grew to enjoy it more, even with a few super awkward/frustrating interactions. I liked the glimpses into Oran too.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    Minerva Spencer is a relatively new-to-me historical romance author, and I was quite keen to read this compromised-to-marriage-of-convenience romance (all the tropes I'm a sucker for!). If you're familiar with Spencer's romance you'll be aware that her romances are a bit "old school" and over the top (I find her writing very similar to Kerrigan Byrne), and it's a style that I definitely need to be in the mood for. And, that was certainly the case when I picked up Notorious. Drusilla Clare is opi Minerva Spencer is a relatively new-to-me historical romance author, and I was quite keen to read this compromised-to-marriage-of-convenience romance (all the tropes I'm a sucker for!). If you're familiar with Spencer's romance you'll be aware that her romances are a bit "old school" and over the top (I find her writing very similar to Kerrigan Byrne), and it's a style that I definitely need to be in the mood for. And, that was certainly the case when I picked up Notorious. Drusilla Clare is opinionated and isn't shy about sharing her opinions. What she is shy about is revealing her feelings for her best friend's brother, Gabriel Marlington, which means she's pretty tart tongued when in his proximity. Naturally, Gabriel has zero idea that Drusilla is in love with him and is convinced that she loathes him, which really isn't a bit deal to this notorious rake. Alas, when Drusilla is caught in a compromising position with Gabriel, they must of course marry. How will these misunderstandings resolve themselves??? In typical Minerva Spencer fashion it involves high drama! I loved the first half of Notorious. Drusilla and Gabriel were perfect foils for each other and their sparring was highly entertaining. However, in the second half, I found their romance was overshadowing by all the other wild stuff going on (i.e. secret children, villains, thwarted suitors etc.). For me, this meant that there was less time developing the relationship between Drusilla and Gabriel when they actually got married, and for me, that's the best part of the whole marriage of convenience trope - what happens after the wedding. I also wasn't a huge fan of how heavy handed Gabriel was with his temper and belief that he was in charge of their relationship. Gabriel didn't quite see enough of a revelation on his dealings with Drusilla and I felt that she had to compromise a great deal more than Gabriel ever did. While I had some issues with the characterization of Gabriel, I still found Notorious to be highly entertaining. And with how things with Eva were left, how can I not check out the next book in the series? *Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Regency-era romance, and Notorious was a fun dip back in the waters. This is my first Minerva Spencer book, and I enjoyed her writing. This book's plot was not much different from the books I remember; a wallflower and a dashing rake must marry against their wishes but become attracted to each other during their marriage. The witty banter between the two main characters, Drusilla and Gabriel, was full of humor and sexual tension and kept the story moving a It’s been a long time since I’ve read a Regency-era romance, and Notorious was a fun dip back in the waters. This is my first Minerva Spencer book, and I enjoyed her writing. This book's plot was not much different from the books I remember; a wallflower and a dashing rake must marry against their wishes but become attracted to each other during their marriage. The witty banter between the two main characters, Drusilla and Gabriel, was full of humor and sexual tension and kept the story moving along at a good pace. As expected, there is certain drama in the story that tries to tear the couple apart, but this pair fight to work out their differences. Both are strong-willed, Drusilla in particular, and must overcome their tendencies to withdraw. In my opinion, the book is well-written, but I outgrew this type of story many years ago. As such, It is hard for me to rate, but I gave it three stars. I thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beatriz Abreu

    This is a 2,5 review rounded. I didn't know the author and based on the synopsis and the first couple of chapters I confess I expected something different, more of a regency romp, instead this went deeper. That was not necessarily bad, but it was a bit misleading. I really liked the heroine; she is an heiress, of commonbirth, and a marquess daughter's best friend (I was expecting this to feel misplaced, but it is explained well enough). Somewhat of a wallflower, Drusilla had a massive crush on her This is a 2,5 review rounded. I didn't know the author and based on the synopsis and the first couple of chapters I confess I expected something different, more of a regency romp, instead this went deeper. That was not necessarily bad, but it was a bit misleading. I really liked the heroine; she is an heiress, of commonbirth, and a marquess daughter's best friend (I was expecting this to feel misplaced, but it is explained well enough). Somewhat of a wallflower, Drusilla had a massive crush on her friend's step brother Gabriel and, thinking he would never care for her (he was courting someone else as the book begins) whenever they are together, she uses discussion and sarcasm as a shield; it all felt like nice witty banter to me, (even though the hero seems to think she hates him). When another man tries to abuse her, Gabriel goes to defend her, and instead they're tied in a compromising position, forced to be wed, and Gabriel forced into a duel with the duke who abused Drusilla. Drusilla devotes much of her time and money to charitable work. Most of the time, when heroines of regency do this, it tends to feel cheap or unexplicable, but hers was well made. It was a shame only that, after marriage, this part of her was not showcased (but then again, there was a LOT going on) Okay, that is done. Now I have to deal with it and talk about Gabriel I guess. Oh my God, he must have been the hero with the most stuff going on that I've ever seen. Gabriel (or Jibril) was the son and heir of the former sultan from Oran and a duke's daughter (who was abducted and forced into the marriage, after the sultan's passing, she later married a marquess and her story can be found in another book). In exile in England for the past five years, Gabriel let's go of his culture, his name and his language to adopt to his new life. He is very young (younger than most regency heroes at least), at 24. He is supposedly a bit of a rake, his name connected with much gossip as he is seen as somewhat exotic. He has two lovers in London, and his relationship/friendship with them is well shown. Normally, mistresses are mentioned, and not taken as a person, and I would have liked the gesture if there weren't SO much going on already. okay, focus... As a foreigner, as a bastard (in the eyes of the ton), as the grandson of a duke and the step-son of a marquess, as someone connected to a child, Gabriel was so heavy... He understood and was driven by duty, acted like a jerk sometimes...but he was doing his best, I think. As for their relationship - it was really sweet actually... The steamy scenes worked really well for me. They are both trying to make the best of their situation - Drusilla forced to be with someone she loves, but who does not love her and seems to keep visiting his mistresses even after married. And Gabriel, married to someone he thought hated him. Drusilla takes some things too personally (though she was mostly on the right side) and Gabriel's pride is not the best thing ever... but mostly it felt good. The only problem was, in order for the book to happen, that is, the problem that keeps them apart is ann utter LACK of communication, and it grew tiring... I kept reading, the same way you would keep watching a trainwreck; There was so much happenning - there was a duel, a lover, the mistresses, a kid, kidnapping, a villain, two villains, a spy, a mob of bandits, a clash of cultures, fight for power, ransom, betrayal, the prejudice (both for Gabriel's origin's and bastardy and for Drusilla's origin as a cit), the expectations that come from being forced into marriage - I said this before but there was SO MUCH going on, that the couple falling apart due to not sitting down and talking like human beings felt misplaced. The last thing I want to talk about is a bit more sensitive. As probably expected from the fact that the hero was arab, from Oran in the middle of regency England, we need to talk about culture. Gabriel is often refered to as someone who is "good" because of his mother's (white) blood. From that can we infer that if not for that, his culture is "bad"? As a man said to have abused his mother and other women, I am not indulging Gabriel's father as someone who should have been acclaimed. Throughout the book, Drusilla defends Jibril when someone mention his 'barbaric' heritage, and Gabriel is written as someone proud of where he came from and sad to have to let it go. I don't think (or at least I hope not) that the author meant for it to be hurtful per se, but I believe the book could have thrived if other characters from Oran, from Gabriel's past, could have been shown, or at least mentioned, as examples of good people. I kept thinking about the '9 to 5" movie from 1980. It's a feminist masterpiece and I adore it, but, in the end, the bad guy, the abuser, the villain, his punishment is to receive a promotion and work from Brazil (which he finds terrifying). I don't think anyone else noticed or cared. I don't think the writer thought twice about this, and wanted to make me feel bad. But, as a Brazillian, this hurt me somewhere south of my pride. I am not familiar with Oran culture, with their history, but it is important to remember someone is. Gabriel's representativeness is refreshing for the genre, but he is not much of a representative if white-washed and only seen as good as his mother's blood. These are waters to tread with care.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review 3.5 stars. Solidly written and with two complex, intense leads, “Notorious”, by Minerva Spencer (Kensington Books), is an engaging historical novel addressing themes of feminism and the role of women in 19th century Britain, as well as social, religious and cultural differences, biases and prejudice. Drusilla and Gabriel are interesting and multifaceted characters, with substance. Both are outsiders in some way – Drusilla as an intellige Received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for a fair review 3.5 stars. Solidly written and with two complex, intense leads, “Notorious”, by Minerva Spencer (Kensington Books), is an engaging historical novel addressing themes of feminism and the role of women in 19th century Britain, as well as social, religious and cultural differences, biases and prejudice. Drusilla and Gabriel are interesting and multifaceted characters, with substance. Both are outsiders in some way – Drusilla as an intelligent, active woman in a society condemning women to passivity and subservience; Gabriel as the very handsome, charismatic, enigmatic and exotic product of two different, opposite societies and cultures. I liked the slow revealing and awakening of emotions and feelings, the domesticity of having a married couple discover a universe of passion, desire, sexuality and sensuality. The writing style and the fluidity of the prose kept me engaged in the reading. The cover is beautiful. There was a lot going on with the protagonists and the side characters – no boringness or blandness here, where even the villain is riveting - and that somehow affected the intensity level within the romantic couple.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    I have mixed feelings on this one. First, I didn't realize some of these characters are from one of her previous books until I went back and looked at the backcatalog blurbs. So even though this is the first book in a series and can be read alone, I did feel like there was a lot of family relationships that had backstory that was in play. I felt a little lost at first. Another thing that was interesting, but I'm on the fence about if it added much to the love story was Gabriel being the ousted so I have mixed feelings on this one. First, I didn't realize some of these characters are from one of her previous books until I went back and looked at the backcatalog blurbs. So even though this is the first book in a series and can be read alone, I did feel like there was a lot of family relationships that had backstory that was in play. I felt a little lost at first. Another thing that was interesting, but I'm on the fence about if it added much to the love story was Gabriel being the ousted son of a sultan and there's both some political drama told as backstory and some prejudice he faces in English society, and some personal-ish grudges with a villian driving the story. One thing that kept coming up was that Gabriel grew up expecting to have his own harem of wives, which his new wife keeps dwelling on. Plus he had/has a relationship with a pair mistresses (who are in love with each other). And oh yeah, there's his son via his former fiance. And his mom escaped the sultan and has a new family with a Marquess. And Duke grandfather in the mix somewhere. So yeah. There's A LOT going on here, which may make more sense if I had read the previous books. And we haven't even gotten to the heroine Drucilla. She is a hot mess. A charity working, merchant daughter who is super rich but dowdy and sharp tongued and obviously hides behind her supposed feminist ideals because she has low self esteem and doesn't think she deserves marriage and a family with the uber-hot Gabriel, who she's been secretly in love with. She self-sabotages everything with him through most of the book. Then when he falls in love with her (because, sex?) she suddenly isn't this for hard feminist anymore. Gabriel has no pretense about the fact that his wife is his to command, etc. And Dru at first fights him on this, but then after the good sex, is like "that's cool." I just didn't like her but felt sorry for her because she just kept making things worse for herself. I didn't even scratch the surface of this book. There's so much plot and external things happening, I didn't buy the love story at all. But it was certainly well written and the story, for all that was in there, seemed to move along. I would say that this is Gabriel's book. Dru's whole character seems in service of his story, and that's perhaps one reason this was only an ok read for me. ARC provided for review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy ~ Love At 1st Read

    If ever there was a year I truly needed an escape, 2020 is it. Luckily, Minerva Spencer has come to the rescue with this swoon-worthy new release. If the rest of this Rebels of the Ton series is as sexy, funny, and angsty as Notorious, I may survive the craziness of the world today. Drusilla Clare had been a quivering lump of fool for her best friend’s brother since the first time she’d laid eyes on him, but she’d kept her attraction secret knowing no man as beautiful and perfect as Gabriel Marl If ever there was a year I truly needed an escape, 2020 is it. Luckily, Minerva Spencer has come to the rescue with this swoon-worthy new release. If the rest of this Rebels of the Ton series is as sexy, funny, and angsty as Notorious, I may survive the craziness of the world today. Drusilla Clare had been a quivering lump of fool for her best friend’s brother since the first time she’d laid eyes on him, but she’d kept her attraction secret knowing no man as beautiful and perfect as Gabriel Marlington would be interested in someone like her. In an effort to mask her attraction, she tended to do all in her power to annoy him. Gabe was perplexed with his sister’s brutally direct and opinionated friend. Never had anyone spoken so slightingly to him. When these two are thrown together in a not so convenient marriage, I knew I was in for some sizzling chemistry and lots of bumps on their road to an HEA. I just didn’t know how absolutely fun that journey would be. The interactions between Gabe and Dru were taut with misunderstandings and stumbling blocks but the witty banter, scorching chemistry and seriously hot sex made the journey to their HEA a delectable delight. I love romances with a generous dose of passion, humor, and sexual chemistry. And when it involves a marriage of convenience, that just adds extra sprinkles to the conflict and drama. Those slight intimacies that evolve as two people get to know each other and see each other in a new light. They’re off balanced, unsure, and hesitant to trust each other. There’s nothing better than those slow discoveries of each other and their feelings. And Minerva Spencer makes it all the more wonderful with her fast paced, easy to read, and humorous writing style. And man, can she write a love scene! If you’re looking for a book with realistic characters, fascinating plot, intrigue, deception, and off the charts sexual chemistry, Notorious may well be your most divine escape of the year.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Emro

    Maybe 3.5 stars...WARNING THIS REVIEW MIGHT BE SPOILERISH Drusilla “Dru” Clare is mistakenly caught up in a plot to call out Gabriel Marlington that results in them having to marry. Drusilla is best friends with his step-sister Lady Eva de Courtney and has harbored tender feeling for Gabriel for years. On the outside Dru is a sharp-tongued, non-nonsense feminist who has repeatedly voiced her distain for marriage and when she does speak to Gabriel, she is curt and tosses out veiled insults. But in Maybe 3.5 stars...WARNING THIS REVIEW MIGHT BE SPOILERISH Drusilla “Dru” Clare is mistakenly caught up in a plot to call out Gabriel Marlington that results in them having to marry. Drusilla is best friends with his step-sister Lady Eva de Courtney and has harbored tender feeling for Gabriel for years. On the outside Dru is a sharp-tongued, non-nonsense feminist who has repeatedly voiced her distain for marriage and when she does speak to Gabriel, she is curt and tosses out veiled insults. But inside she is a lonely, insecure woman who doesn’t believe that Gabriel would ever be interested in a woman like her and is insulting to protect herself from being hurt. She is stunned when she realizes they will marry and is sure that she will be hurt when he breaks her heart. Gabriel Marlington is the son of Mia, Marchioness of Exley, who was taken captive as a young woman and was a slave owned Sultan Abdul Hassan of Oran. After the sultan’s death and his brother Assad’s betrayal – Gabriel left the only home he ever knew and moved to England. He has done his best to acclimate to his new existence – giving up his family, culture and religion – and even giving up his loyalty to save others, but the cost was high and led to some startling discoveries. He is trying to figure out what to do with those discoveries, when it seems that someone in England has targeted him for vengeance. It is that vengeance that sees him married to Dru – a woman he can’t seem to figure out and who he desires beyond reason. ****WARNING – THE FOLLOWING MIGHT BE SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH**** After reading the Outcast series and meeting Gabriel (Jibril) in those books, I was incredibly excited to learn the first book in this new series would feature him, but as it has happened before, the likeable character I met in the previous books was barely recognizable when the focus was on him – I don’t know, maybe he was always a selfish, arrogant prick and I chose not to acknowledge it in the previous books – but in any case – I was really put off by his attitude – he forbids Dru to see her friend after seeing the man holding her hand the day before they are to marry – then trots off to see his mistresses – yes, plural – house to “break up” and engages in kissing and cuddling with one of them that day and the other one another day – he tells Dru that they are his friends and she has to accept that they will continue to be a part of his life – I don’t know about you – but I would not be cool with my husband continuing to spend time with and being “friends” with two women that he had a long term sexual relationship with that only ended because he married – yeah – that doesn’t work for me. Then when he springs his “secret” on her – again, she is told she has to accept it and if she doesn’t like it – too bad. You would think that all that would make me feel sorry for Dru and pick her side against him – WRONG – she is a complete shrew for 80% of the book – she has a lot of internal dialogue that is in complete contradiction to what actually comes out of her mouth – but sadly, what comes out of her mouth makes it almost impossible to sympathize with her. She is not an evil person and if you base your opinions on her internal musings, she is relatable and actually quite nice – but her insecurities are crippling and make her seem like a witch for most of the book. It seems like the only thing going for these two is that they rock it in bed – other than that – I really no idea why they fell in love. This is the first book in a new series and while it is loosely tied to the Outcast series, you can easily read this as a standalone title. Honestly, I didn’t love certain aspects of this book, but overall, it is a well written, nicely paced story with interesting characters, steamy love scenes, surprises, villains that surprise you, cameos with Adam and Mia, a HEA and I really did like the way the author portrayed Gabriel’s transition from Oran to England – the good and the bad. There were some title errors, but nothing too egregious and the ending of this book really made me want to read the next one! *I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.*

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elodie

    Notorious Rebels of the Ton Series #1 Minerva Spencer https://www.facebook.com/MinervaSpenc... Release date 11/24/2020 Publisher Kensington Books 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗯 The cure for a willful wife . . .   Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel h Notorious Rebels of the Ton Series #1 Minerva Spencer https://www.facebook.com/MinervaSpenc... Release date 11/24/2020 Publisher Kensington Books 𝗕𝗹𝘂𝗿𝗯 The cure for a willful wife . . .   Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself.  And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble . . .   . . . is a smitten husband.   She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love. 𝗠𝘆 𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 Will she be able to put on pause her battle of wits to accept the outstretched hand her new spouse offers ... It had been a while since I had read the author’s classic tale even if nothing is never classic in true meaning of the term with her. But my last reads were all stories about broken nearly beyond repair characters, very moving but also unsettling tales. Tales I adored but needed time to process too. So sometime it is good to sit down and enjoy the ride with a much easier read, well it was what I thought I had in my hands. Wowowow, I have thrown my ideas all along the pages of my reading, but now I must put everything in order. And while I was reading Gabriel and Drusilla’s journey toward their HEA, I had to consider the short span set for the 2/3 of this story. Let just say I bit my teeth more than one time. I even caught some objects to throw at them. This said, I am not sure I liked Drusilla, I dislike spiteful tongues, and lashing out to hide her attraction is not really for me the act of a strong mind. Plus how can she love someone and says so disparaging or hurtful paroles. The only offense was Gabriel did not really saw her as a woman, she was just his stepsister’s friend, especially in a time of grand changes in his life, she has nothing truly to appeal to him. And for this slight, she began her course of throwing virtual daggers to his face. After with all the quips and barbs they exchanged over the years, is it truly love or a mere infatuation as no one really know the other. They do not navigation the same sphere. Also I was surprised that for a supposed clever woman preaching Wollstonecraft ideas, she is prudish and lacks of useful knowledge to help her fellow women . Gabriel is a complex character, part his father’s son with a vey different view of marriage and women and also his mother’s son, honorable and caring. But he is no superhero and can’t read mind. So he is unable to understand Drusilla’s loathing of him is the manifestation of her inability to speak her feelings. And while he is angered when he witnesses things he has every right to feel suspicious, when he rethinks the film of he events he is kind enough to try to find excuses for her behavior. He is flawed with many misconceptions about women, but he is far more honest and straightforward than his poltron of a wife. Oh how I was pulling my hair out at their impossibility to communicate, along the many times they could have cleared the path, for a woman supposed with wit, Drusilla let questionable ideas about her fidelity take hold, she let him believe she found him abhorrent or she had a love interest. She jumps at his throat and wonder why he snaps at her. She is the assailant for most of their talks. She is the one rejecting every time he takes a step forward. And it takes very few things to discountenance her, even when she is on guard. I so would have liked her to have more spine and a steelier core. I hated how she fell in any trap set to hurt/belittle/anger her and how she pushes him back at every turn. After I needed to remind me the 2/3 of this book takes place over a few days, so the anger between those two has nearly no time to abate, they bit and strike one minute after another, then reflect on their actions and try to make amend but their temper gets the better of them again. They can’t erase five years of fights in so short a time. But once, they finally cool off and accept to not slight one another throat, they can be articulate and able to listen. From this moment, it is the smooth path in getting to know the other and discover there is more than meet the eyes. 4 stars for this full of anger story. Now I am curious about the next installment as the villain of this one is to be featuring the next hero, how will the author redeem him. I was granted an advance copy by the publisher Kensington, here is my true and unbiased opinion. https://www.facebook.com/429830134272...

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