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A Study in Scoundrels (Romancing the Rules) Mass Market Paperback – May 16, 2017
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About the Author
Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sophia Ruthven is fond of detective stories, she has even started to write her own, but she is also the co-author of a rejuvenated etiquette guide. Sophia had been invited to speak at a book club tea, but instead she stumbles upon hearing of Liddy’s disappearance. Grey is an acquaintance of Sophia’s brother Kit, so what a grand idea to put her detective skills to good use in helping Grey! Sophia is twenty six, very pretty, and still a spinster because no man has ever asked for her hand in marriage, still she yearns for a husband and family, but not just anyone, and certainly not a scoundrel the likes of Grey! While she can’t deny her attraction to the whoring drunkard, he is an interesting subject for the male character in her book, but only that.
Is there such a thing as a cozy historical romance mystery? In any case, Christy Carlyle swept me right off to Victorian England in her bright and lively tale of a dishevelled scoundrel and a very proper miss. Ms. Carlyle writes such meaty characters, so well defined that they come to life before our very eyes, and I just loved how the romance developed unfolded between that mismatched pair, and not at all as I expected. Sophia and Grey acted as I hoped they would, and not as most writers would have made them act; they were entirely believable ever step of the way. I thought the search for Liddy was merely a pretext for getting Sophia and Grey together, and in a way it is, but it is much more than that as it is also a clear picture of the Victorian era as a time of change, especially for women, but also how one little misstep could ruin a life. I loved the little episode with Sophia’s younger sister Clary, and I hope to see her story in the future, as it illustrates what I just wrote about.
I loved the banter and the sexual tension between Sophia and Grey; their affection was obvious, and his respect for her touching. And that “serendipitous” moment at the train station took my breath away: such a simple moment, and as meaningful as a whole book; not much is said, nothing much happens, and my heart soared! It’s the precise moment when you realise that everything has changed between Sophia and Grey, and thinking about it again while writing fills me with wonder. A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS is a splendid romance, perfectly paced, with just the right touch of suspense, of humour, and wonderfully complex characters with solid backstories. Those heated glances, those stolen kisses, those little moments which lead to superb sex scenes, which happen at the right time, for the right reasons, and leave both Sophia and Grey elated and full of doubts. Christy Carlyle gave me once again has given me everything I hope for in a historical romance: a solid story, very appealing characters, not one dull little paragraph, and a romance I believed in and captured my heart.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
Overall reaction to the story? Christy Carlyle has a new fan in me! A Study in Scoundrels is a lush, inviting story that swept me away from the very first page! Grey and Sophia were at first glance, total opposites but by the end I couldn’t imagine them with anyone else. My only complaint was that I didn’t feel Grey really faced his guilt and grief over what happened in the past. It was such a strong factor in who he was as an adult that it shouldn’t have been essentially swept under the rug the way it was. That big of a personal conflict should have been addressed before the end.
Describe the hero in five words: Troubled. Intelligent. Caring. Stubborn. Reluctant.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Grey was so torn up about how he came to be the heir to the Earl of Stanhope that it shaped who he became as a man and what he did in his day to day life. His traumatic experience did bring me to tears which isn’t easy to do. I was so heartbroken for this character that I was ready to forgive him for any wild behavior. He was such a tragic figure, carrying around so much grief and guilt that it was slowly crushing him. Ugh, just thinking about it has me wanting to cry for this guy all over again. Grey wasn’t the scoundrel everyone thought he was either. He was surprisingly caring and didn’t take advantage of anyone who couldn’t fight back. I loved that about him! He was suffering but he refused to make anyone else suffer.
Describe the heroine in five words: Clever. Kind. Curious. Determined. Talented.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Sophia wasn’t a character who faded into the wallpaper in a room. She wasn’t over the top or obvious in her behavior but she was a strong woman. She would have to be in order to be a writer of lady detective novels in that era. My favorite things about her were her curious mind and her kind heart, no matter what Sophia wanted to help anyone that was hurting, including Grey. Against her better judgment she wants to help him and his sister Liddy. Sophia had a hidden sense of humor and a dash of sass in her too and that made an already likable character even better to me. She wasn’t a silly little girl; she was a grown woman who was just open and practical about the world around her. She was refreshing.
Let’s talk about the romance: I’m not really one for slow burn romances because there’s usually a lot of “filler scenes” that are unnecessary but that wasn’t the case in A Study in Scoundrels. Christy Carlyle’s inclusion of Grey’s missing sister provided two things: An adventure, and more time for a convincing romance to build. There was already a strong physical attraction between Grey and Sophia but Carlyle was meticulous in making sure there was an equally strong emotional connection as well. One that was completely believable.
How about that supporting cast? There aren’t many side characters but a few do make appearances. Sophia’s brother and his wife make brief appearances as do a handful of others but it was Grey’s sister Liddy who had the most page time after the two leads. I found her silly and immature and a number of times she got on my nerves. Maybe it was because she was so young but she pulled a pretty stupid stunt in a fit of childish “love” that should have gotten her into more trouble than it did.
Click It or Skip It? Click It. Christy Carlyle’s style of writing is infectious in the best sort of way! A Study in Scoundrels was so enjoyable I quickly bought the first book in the series.
* A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss for the purpose of an honest review. All conclusions are my own responsibility and I was not compensated for this review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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