The Spinster’s Swindle by Catherine Stein

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ 

The Spinster Swindle is a fun,  irreverent, romantic romp!  Full of intrigue and passion, this tale of trickery and revenge delights and enchants.  

Lydia Weaver, aka Madame Xyla, has made a comfortable life reading people and telling them what they need to hear.  As a spiritualist, she takes advantage, yet at the same time brings peace and acceptance to her audiences.  Lydia is no shrinking violet; she is independent and comfortable in her skin.  Lydia holds a grudge against Max’s father and seeks revenge.  However, she begins to think there are stronger emotions than revenge, for example, love.

Maxwell Millerson is an artist and playwright.  He is forced into a mindless job to support his beloved sister and father, who uses people and overspends.  Max longs to be free to chase his dreams.  Max takes on the responsibility of the care of his family at the same time his father recklessly endangers his gaming hell.  Max is drowning under expectations.  Max is unconventional, romantic, awkward, and is a free spirit.  His heart is enormous, and he has a naïve yet hopeful outlook on life.  Unaware of Lydia’s past with his father, Max enlists Lydia’s assistance in saving his father’s business.  Max is clueless to Lydia’s  perfidy. 

Max and Lydia connected at their first encounter, even with Lydia fighting her feelings.  The couple compliment each other.  Max’s verses and wooing of Lydia was sweet and entertaining.  Lydia’s realistic, competent outlook on life complimented Max’s emotional, fanciful nature.  I fell in love with Max and Lydia.  Their love story was fiery and romantic.  

This novel was unique and refreshing.  It centered on the fringes of the working class in the Victorian era.  Although respectable, neither Max or Lydia could be considered conventional.  The plot married the outrageous spiritualism and revenge perfectly with passion and burgeoning love.  The pace was quick and the characters were vivid and endearing.  The backdrops of the gaming hell, seances, and theatre delighted and highlighted the writing.  The Spinster Swindle is the second book in the Arcane Tales series.  This was my first encounter with this author and I will definitely go back and read the first book, devoted to Lydia’s cousin.  This book was an unconventional, spirited, intriguing read.  Stein has created a savvy, smart story guaranteed to entertain and delight the reader.  I was fully taken in by this book, no slight of hand!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Release Date: November 5, 2021

Published by jelee1976

I love to review historical romance books! I discuss book reviews, thoughts on authors and series, and just general stuff about me!

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