the importance of being scandalous, nicholas wakefield has loved amelia bishop since, well, since forever. but they've also been best of friends since forever. away from england in part to grow up, in part to come to terms with his feelings, nick is intent on revealing all to mia and hoping for the best.
except she's about to announce her engagement to someone else. the thing about mia is that her entire life has been shaped by her sister's disability. born in a time where birth defects were considered a mark of sinfulness, amelia's family has been shunned by polite society due to her sister's infirmity. and now mia has the chance for normalcy and her family is determined that she take it.
but when mia realizes her fiancé isn't as accepting of julia's condition as she had assumed, she realizes she cannot marry him. there's also the matter of her pesky feelings for nick to contend with. she'd thought she'd put her girlhood crush behind her when he left, but now that nick is back, her feelings have returned and they are stronger and tinglier than ever.
the problem is, no matter how hard she tries to get rid of her fiancé he isn't budging on the matter of their engagement. his single-mindedness is fascinating, because initially he doesn't seem like a terrible person, but by the end of the novel it's clear that he isn't firing on all cylinders because why would he want to be with this woman who a) doesn't want him, b) comes from a family that has been tainted through no fault of their own and c) goes out of her way to humiliate and embarrass him.
it takes a while for nick and mia to find themselves on the same page, but once they get all their feelings out in the open, things start to fall into place. one thing that i really enjoyed in this romance is the friendships that the lead characters form. it's not just nick and mia. nick and julia have their own friendship with a rich history. nick's friend jasper is a breath of fresh air, and he proves to be a good friend to both nick and mia. amelia and julia are more than sisters, they are true friends too. and even nick's brother, who one might expect to be disapproving, is supportive of his younger brother and is kind and generous. honestly, the moms are just the worst in this novel. and the fiancé who will not give up.
one thing i wanted to know more about was julia's condition. it's described as a spinal issue, and she walks with a limp. so i wondered if it was spina bifida or something similar. the version i read did not have an author's note explaining things, so perhaps it's something that is pending for a future book, or it was meant to be purposely vague.
**the importance of being scandalous will publish july 25, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (select: historical) in exchange for my honest review.