C2’s review of Always a Scoundrel (The Notorious Gentlemen, Book 3) by Suzanne Enoch
Historical romance released by Avon 28 April 09
Lord Bramwell Lowry Johns is a thief. As the notorious Black Cat, he prowls through the dark streets of Mayfair stealing the ton’s baubles right from under their noble noses. He doesn’t steal because he needs the money (although his father, the Duke of Levonzy, has cut him off again)…he steals for the thrill, the adrenalin rush he gets from stealing and the satisfaction of knowing that his father is aware of exactly who the thief is. Double win!
During one of his forays as the Black Cat, Bram overhears that Lady Rosamund Davies is going to be married to the Marquis of Cosgrove to settle a 10,000 pound debt incurred by her brother James. Since Bram is very well acquainted with Cosgrove, he knows no innocent chit should ever be forced to marry him. Bram decides he needs to take a closer look at the situation.
Lady Rosamund has lived a quiet life, managing her flighty family members without them realizing it. Since they didn’t realize how Rose made their lives easier, her relatives have no appreciation for her or any sympathy for the predicament they have placed her in. They expect her to, as they see it, do her duty to her family and to be grateful that she is getting married at all.
Bram finds himself intrigued and baffled by Rosamund – intrigued because by her straightforward personality and baffled by her dedication to her family. His curiosity aroused, Bram sets out to learn more about Rosamund. As he gets to know her, Bram realizes just how disastrous a match between Rosamund and the deceptively angelic Cosgrove would be.
He offers to help her run away from London to avoid the marriage but she refuses…at first. After a few encounters with Cosgrove alone, she begins to see what marriage to him will be. Finally, she agrees that if no other solution can be found by the day the engagement is to be announced, she will let Bram help her run away and start a new life. A wrench is thrown into the works when the announcement date is unexpectedly moved up. Bram has to ask for help from people he neither wanted or expected help from.
The attitude of Rose’s family toward her was horrifying, from a modern standpoint especially. To be told that the only thing she was good for was to bail out her thoughtless younger brother, rather than make him responsible for his own actions, is beyond insulting and belittling. However, it is probably quite accurate, historically speaking. Daughters seemed to be regarded as an odd sort of currency in the days of arranged marriages and political pairings. Grrrr. *glances at soapbox and steps down*
Watching Bram become more and more attracted to Rosamund, even though he considers himself beyond such attachments, and deal with his growing feelings for her is the best part of the book. At the beginning Bram has already started down a very slippery slope – he is becoming a bitter wastrel with little regard for anyone. Over the course of the story, he first realizes there are good people that deserve good things (although he doesn’t consider himself one of them) and later sees he can have a different life than the one he envisioned for himself. I love Bram – he’s my new fave of Suzie E’s heroes (it used to be Bit)! Also, she gets bonus points for best disposal of a villain EVER. Heh.
Never a gentleman . . . until now.
Lord Bramwell Johns, the second son of a duke, is an unrepentant scoundrel. Now that his two closest friends are disgustingly ensconced in domestic bliss, Bram is feeling strangely restless. And not even relieving London’s least deserving artistocrats of their ill-gotten jewels is enough—until the night he overhears an argument. It seems that Lady Rosamund Davies is about to be forced into marriage with a rogue even worse than himself.
Rose is well aware of Bram’s scandalous reputation, so any reason for his sudden interest in her is suspect; more so since he’s close friends with the man about to ruin her family! She has her own plan though, and Bram may be just what she requires—as long as she remembers that he is only looking out for himself. As long as she remembers that his kisses and caresses don’t mean anything. As long as she can keep from wondering whether she can trust a scoundrel . . . with her heart.
Read an excerpt here.
Other books in the series: