By: Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 2017
Reviewed by: Diana Buss
Review Date: January 16, 2017
February 1860. We are taken into a scene of relief after tragedy. Crispin Burke awakes in his parent’s London townhouse after being beaten half to death and left to die. He narrowly escaped death, but not without a price – his memory. Upon awakening, Crispin comes to realize he remembers nothing of the past few years and that only his long-term memory remains. This is not his only surprise, however. He wakes to find he is also newly married, and can remember nothing of his bride, Jane Mason. This is not only caused by his lack of memory, but, unknowingly to him, the fact that the marriage certificate was forged and fake. Flashback to three months earlier. Jane, in an effort to flee her corrupt uncle, did the only thing she could to secure her freedom and her fortune. Jane’s parents had previously died and left her with a sizeable fortune. Funds were available at present and embezzled by her Uncle, whose care she was left in. Money was running out quickly and the only amount left was secure in a trust that no one could touch until she was married, with an amount that would be available to her and her husband and an amount available only to her. In a desperate plan to access her money, her uncle planned her to be married to his son, Archibald. She fled and ran into Crispin Burke, who convinces her to stay and spy on her uncle for him, and in return, he would have an Archbishop sign marriage papers that would free her from her uncle and give her the fortune at last.
Soon after this takes place, Crispin is found with an injury to the head and is said to be dying. Believing this is her ticket out, Jane finds the Archbishop, has him sign marriage papers and goes to be with her dying “husband.” Miraculously, he wakes, leaving Jane trapped in her role as his wife and fearing for the day his memory returns. An ambitious and corrupt politician, Crispin was known for bribery and dirty deeds and can now remember none of that. He was feared widely and was out to get as much money and power as he could, and it had finally caught up with him. Jane stays, as she has no choice, but she leaves a bag packed in order to be ready to flee at a moment’s notice. As time goes on, Jane comes to find that the old Crispin is nothing like this new Crispin. Caring, respectful and giving, she finds herself falling in love with him. She tries to help him put the pieces of his life back together and helps to guide him to do what is right in his political career, with the hope he never remembers the past five years of his life. Meanwhile, he is falling in love with her, although he knows someone like her never would have married someone like him and vice-versa. However, he does not care what occurred in the past to make them meet, he just wants to be sure he keeps her by his side.
A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is a book that is not only extremely relevant to our current political state, but it is also extremely addicting. It is filled with the mystery of finding who may have attacked Crispin and why, suspense when it comes to Crispin regaining his memory and the romance of two people falling in love. I could have easily sat and devoured this in one evening as each of the chapters seemed to end on a cliffhanger that just won't let you put the book down.
Quill says: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct is the perfect book to sit in your favorite chair with and let the world pass by for a little while you get lost in the past.