Wed
Feb 22 2017 2:30pm

First Look: Meredith Duran’s A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (February 28, 2017)

A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Meredith Duran
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct (Rules for the Reckless #5)
Pocket Books / February 28, 2017 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for...

Meredith Duran’s latest is an amnesia story, which is a harder trope to find these days. Amnesia plotlines used to be a dime a dozen, but they became such a romance cliché that they have become rare in the last decade or so. A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is a very good amnesia story and reminds me why these storylines were so popular and should be again when in the hands of a gifted storyteller like Duran.

Crispin Burke is not a nice man. In fact, he’s a horrible man. He has spent years bribing, blackmailing and backstabbing his fellow Members of Parliament in his quest to become Prime Minister, so pressuring a young woman in dire straits to spy for him is child’s play.

“Would you really do anything to be prime minister?”

“Are you concerned for your safety, Miss Mason? Be at ease. Nobody ever won the office for doing away with an annoying woman,”

“So you would murder someone, if it came to it?”

He turned to stare at her. “Do you think me such a pathetic politician that murder would be necessary?”

“That is not a denial,” she said.

Crispin is brutally attacked, his head bashed in, and awakens to find that he has no memory of the past five years. He is also told that he is married to this same Miss Mason whom he does not remember. He hears stories of his life and ruthlessness from his family and acquaintances – he has no friends – and is horrified at the man he has become. His brother describes his life thusly:

“Conspiracies for breakfast, bribery for lunch, and backstabbing over dinner, Crispin. That’s about the whole of it.”

“Dear me, that seems an uncharitable way to view a representative of government.”

Atticus snorted. “You have forgotten, haven’t you? You represent nobody but yourself. You’re a muck who runs with the wolves.”

Ouch. The more he learns, the more he rues what his life has become. Crispin always had an edge to him, a certain ruthlessness, but this? Is this amoral man who is really is? And does he want to remain that man, or is this a chance at a new life, with a new person at his side? And how can Crispin expect anyone to accept and trust him after all his misdeeds?

These are some serious questions with which to struggle and Duran does a fine job of letting us into Crispin’s bewilderment and fear. While Jane is a fascinating character herself, this is Crispin’s journey. A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is a riveting story.

***

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of A Lady's Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran, available February 28, 2017:

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H&H Editor Picks:

First Look: Meredith Duran’s Luck Be a Lady

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Cheryl Sneed reviews for Rakehell.com

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
This sounds like a book I'd enjoy. I just read a contemporary male/male romance featuring amnesia so the trope is still alive and thriving ~
Whiteout (Seasons of Love, #1) by Elyse Springer
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