The Portrait of a Duchess (Society of Sirens #2)
The scandalous women of the SOCIETY OF SIRENS are back with an explosive secret…their ranks include a duchess in disguise
Once upon a time she married in secret…
An activist painter of radicals and harlots, Cornelia Ludgate dismisses love and marriage as threats to freedom. But when an inheritance gives her the chance to fund the cause of women’s rights—on the condition she must wed—she is forced to reveal a secret: she’s already married. To a man she hasn’t seen for twenty years.
Oh…and her husband is a duke.
A horse breeder with a clandestine taste for revolution, Rafe Goodwood never expected to become a duke. But now that the title is his, he is plotting to shock the ruling class with ambitions of reform—and reveal the infamous Cornelia is his duchess. That just presents one problem: he must not fall in love with her—again.
Now they must resist the temptation to rekindle an affair...
Although determined not to sacrifice her principles for passion, Cornelia is still drawn to the man whose very being threatens her independence. Hurt too many times, Rafe can’t risk love again—especially with the woman who once shattered his heart. But a conspiracy to upend the inequalities of the aristocracy bring Cornelia and Rafe closer, forcing them to finally decide what—and who—they hold dear.
Praise for The Portrait of a Duchess (Society of Sirens #2)
"Peckham (The Rakess) sensitively introduces a heroine battling prejudice and censure, while also delivering a romance full of political machinations, surprises, and steamy sex scenes. A captivating sequel guaranteed to thrill." — Library Journal (starred review)
"Peckham is back with a vengeance, delivering another stunningly sensual love story that boldly pushes at the boundaries of historical romance with its refreshingly older protagonists, thoughtful exploration of societal and gender equity, and embrace of the importance of diversity in all aspects of life.” — Booklist
"Peckham joyfully revisits the society-flouting women of Regency England’s Society of Sirens... Readers will be swept away." — Publishers Weekly
“The second book in Peckham’s Society of Sirens series pushes more boundaries than The Rakess (2020) did. A romance that respectfully imagines what a poly happily-ever-after could have looked like in 1797 and that also celebrates complicated human emotions. Cornelia, who is biracial, is another of Peckham’s trademark rule-breaking heroines, and readers will enjoy watching her explore ways to be herself within the framework of the genre.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A refreshing and entertaining romance that bravely stretches the genre’s boundaries.” — Stephanie Laurens, #1 New York Times bestselling author, on The Rakess
"Scarlett Peckham’s excoriating first entry in her new Society of Sirens series exposes historical romance’s capacity for radical reinvention... The Rakess pulses with female rage, making it one of the most electric, vibrantly alive titles on this list. It interrogates double standards, champions female pleasure, and propels itself forward with righteous fury. Peckham leans into its sense of the Gothic with relish, making its sparks of joy all the brighter and more enticingly dangerous." — Entertainment Weekly (10 Best Romances of 2020)
"[A] compelling, insightful, sensitive novel." — New York Times Book Review on The Rakess
"Inverting historical tropes and archetypes, the story offers comedy and catharsis, and ends with a happily-ever-after so perfect it will make you return immediately to page one." — Washington Post (Best Romances of 2020) on The Rakess
"The open, exploratory love scenes sizzle with passion balanced by frank conversations about contraception and the risks of pregnancy. Peckham never shies away from the bleak realities facing women of the era while capably making 19th-century sexual politics feel relevant to today. This rewarding love story is fierce, feminist, and full of feeling." — Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Rakess
"THE RAKESS is the kind of story that leaves you buzzing, excitedly advertising it to your fellow romance readers at the gym/coffee shop/bookstore. Scarlett Peckham has an elegant and lyrical writing voice and a tremendous gift for emotional complexity, leavened by a wonderfully sophisticated, wry sense of humor... a lush, clever, erotic, truly adult love story, a romance between two brilliant, scarred souls who risk everything for each other." — Meredith Duran, USA Today Bestselling Author
"The Rakess is a triumph, delicately written and unflinching in scope. The writing thrums with desire and conviction, and Seraphina and Adam will leave you aching for more of Peckham's passionate, progressive romances!" — Sierra Simone, USA Today Bestselling Author
"Everything I want in a historical romance: smart, sexy and feminist." — Maya Rodale, USA Today bestselling author on The Rakess
“I devoured THE RAKESS by Scarlett Peckham, with its unique role reversals, passionate couple, and rule breaking. The strong, brooding heroine rejects Society’s restrictions on a woman and lives life boldly on her terms. The widowed upstanding hero fights the pull of desire in order to protect his business and children. But love can seldom be denied.” — Lorraine Heath, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
"Peckham deserves high praise for bravely creating a darker historical romance, confronting tough subjects such as addiction, gender inequality, miscarriage, and involuntary commitment... Highly recommended for those unafraid of a grittier love story." — Library Journal (starred review)
"A new and soon to be iconic voice in the world of historical romance, Peckham distinguishes herself as a master of her craft." — Liz Carlyle, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author on THE RAKESS
"Passionate, powerful, and flat-out romantic as hell.” — Eva Leigh, author of My Fake Rake on The Rakess
"This is the first book in Peckham’s new Society of Sirens series, and like its heroine, it is thrillingly complex and suspenseful. Peckham’s previously established talent for creating strong-willed heroines and heroes who respect them shines here along with her knack for creatively spicy scenes of intimacy. Given how well each member of the Society of Sirens is developed in this volume, readers will be anxious to read the next installment. A compelling historical romance from one of the genre’s rising stars." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Peckham's extraordinary reversal of traditional romance tropes is a surprising delight, as she launches her Society of Sirens series with a tale that combines authentic historical detail, a view into what women's lives were like, given the mores of the day, and flaming hot, imaginative sex scenes integral to the story." — Booklist
“I haven’t been this excited about a historical in ages and I am eagerly waiting for the next installment in this series. The combination of personal catnip with descriptive language and complex characterization is spot on. I recommend this for fans of vocal feminism, found family, angst, and explicit sex in their historicals. I plan to read my copy many, many times!” — Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (A- Rating)
"The Rakess is a sexy, feminist, burn down the patriarchy romance with a delicious role reversal... Peckham lays bare all the ugliness of how women are treated from gaslighting to slut shaming to outright misogyny. And although the story is set late in the 18th century, there are elements of it you could easily see unfold today. Read it, read it, read it." — DailyWaffle
"The Rakess has a strong Gothic flavor with its craggy, stormy Cornwall setting and interrogation of themes worthy of the Bronte sisters. But Peckham captures the sublime nature of the Gothic, while also infusing her storytelling with something breathtakingly human. There’s a lot of pain on these pages, even if it’s wrought with a poetic precision, but it makes the sparks of joy feel all the more palpable in a world so vividly determined to deny it to women." — Entertainment Weekly (A grade)
"This fierce, feminist series debut flips the typical Regency romance script... Peckham strikes a perfect balance of politics, passion, and emotional vulnerability." — Publishers Weekly (Summer Reads 2020)