Willful Widow (Lawless Ladies – Book 2)


When Euphemia (Effie) Green’s husband dies, she’s left destitute with a child to raise and with an elderly aunt who needs care. Her situation is dire so she turns to crime, specifically spending her evenings as a highwayman stealing from the rich. Griffin St. John is a second son, all the wealth, none of the responsibility of title. He’s a rake, and a bored one at that. When he and Effie cross paths during a robbery, he’s immediately intrigued and wants to help her out of her current situation. When he offers to take her as his mistress and provide for her and her family, Effie reluctantly agrees. Neither expects their arrangement to turn into something more than just that of rake and kept woman.

The Regency/Victorian trope of a female highway(wo)man is nothing new. Finding the right man and making an agreement to marry is usually the desired outcome. That’s where “Willful Widow” changes course. Rather than offer to marry Effie and take care of her and her family, Griffin offers her a chance to become his kept woman. The lovescenes are vivid and plentiful. While some add to the advancement of the plot, others are there only for show. Effie’s coming to terms with her decision, despite her previous rather boring life is a highlight for the heroine’s character. Their realization that their relationship had grown past what either expected was handled nicely. The supporting characters of Effie’s highwaywomen friends, Effie’s adorable son and, her aunt add a nice touch as well. While there’s really nothing new about the heroine’s motivation, the unusual offers and solution make this an historical romance worth reading.

N.E. Kelley