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Minerva Spencer. Crooked Sixpence, $9.95 trade paper (262p) ISBN 978-1-951662-53-0
Spencer (The Boxing Baroness) sets the tone for her Bellamy Sisters series with an engaging Regency love story in which the primary hurdles are the heroine’s pride and her family’s prejudice. Lady Phoebe Bellamy, who is sensible but haughty and sometimes considered plain, does her best to manage the household in the face of her father’s propensity for squandering their fortune. Despite her best efforts, however, the family will soon own nothing but their titles. Meanwhile, Paul Needham, a newly made viscount, is one of the richest men in England, but his surly, standoffish reputation precedes him. He dislikes society, but he requires both a respectable country home and a wife if he hopes to carve out a place in it for his illegitimate daughter. When Needham looks into renting Phoebe’s family estate, the Bellamy sisters find their parents ready to marry any one of them off to solve their financial woes. So Phoebe heroically spares her sisters and saves the family fortunes by proposing to the viscount herself—not expecting she may actually fall in love. There are hints of “Beauty and the Beast” to the sultry dynamic that arises between the leads as they navigate the complexities of Regency social status. Spencer creates characters worth rooting for. Readers will be eager to see Phoebe’s sisters find their own matches next. (Self-published)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 04/14/2023