Lord of Dishonor (Signet Regency romance)

Lord of Dishonor - Edith Layton Lady Amanda Amberley is one of the "Amberley Assortment," the ton's clever term for her and her siblings due to her countess mother's reputation for taking lovers. Though she's one of the two legitimate Amberleys, she's nonetheless tarred by the same brush, leaving her still unmarried, as beaus are reluctant to offer for her then find she shares her mother's inclinations. Despite her best efforts to lead a spotless life to win over the timid Sir Giles Boothe, her mother's unscrupulous machinations at a house party leave her compromised and tied to an extremely unwilling groom, the debauched Viscount North.Though neither wishes to marry, for their own reasons, they agree to an engagement to salvage Amanda's honor, with the expectation of Amanda jilting him and going back to Sir Giles. They head to North's estate to stay with his mother and brother while putting a plan in motion to get Sir Giles to rush to save Amanda and finally marry her.It's like a marriage of convenience without the actual marriage. They stay at his estate together and get to know each other as they act the besotted couple. As they do so, they begin to genuinely care for each other, though attraction has been there between them from the start. They rather neatly mirror each other. Amanda tries extra hard to live up to her legitimate birth despite the dark cloud over her parentage. North puts forth every effort to live down to his illegitimate birth despite being officially legitimate. Both harbor resentment for their mothers - Amanda that her mother's behavior made her seem illegitimate and North that his mother would give him away to the earl and countess so he would look legitimate. In this way they tend to balance each other out perfectly.While I loved the language and lengthy dialog, I did have some issues with the plotting. Near the end, Layton spent an inordinate amount of time on North's parentage. It had the effect of demphasizing the romance without adding much to their character arcs. I didn't feel that the specifics of his illegitimacy were that important to their stories.I'd give this one 4 stars. While not perfect, it's still a strong, character-focused regency with sparkling dialog.