One for the Rogue
Book 3, Bachelor Lords of London - The Bachelor Lords of London
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Beauregard “Beau” Courtland has no use for the whims of society and even less for aristocratic titles. As a younger son, he travels the world in search of adventure with no plans to settle down. Even when the title of Viscount Rainsleigh is suddenly forced upon him, he will not bend to duty or decorum. Not until an alluring young woman appears on the deck of his houseboat, determined to teach him propriety in all things and tempting him with every forbidden touch…
Lady Emmaline Crumbley has had a wretched year. Her elderly husband dropped dead without naming her in his will and she’s been relegated to the life of a dowager duchess at the age of 23. She has no wish to instruct a renegade viscount in respectability, but desperate to escape her greedy stepson, Beau’s family makes her an offer she cannot refuse: teach the new lord to behave like a gentleman, and they’ll help her earn the new, self-sufficient life of her dreams. Emmaline agrees, only to discover that instructing the viscount is one thing, but resisting him is quite another. How can she teach manners to the rakish nobleman if he is determined to show her the thrill of scandal instead?
An interesting, if not entirely engaging end to the series
Opening with a prologue that will set the stage for events to come (and a problem that needs noting) we are introduced briefly to the hero of the story, Beau, and given some history and background.
Lady Emmaline, after being married to a man old enough to be her grandfather is now a widow, left without mention in her late husband’s will. Relegated to dowager without income, she must find a way to support herself without overtaxing monies left to her from her parents. Additionally, the man who inherited the title held by Emma’s husband is eyeing her brother’s fortune and pushing for her to move her family in with him.
Bryson, the former Viscount Rainsleigh (more details later) has mentioned to Emma that his younger brother Beau, newly titled Viscount, is in need of some ‘gentling and instruction in the ways of the Tonne”. Emma, believing that Bryson’s connections and fortune may help her (and her remaining family) with funds to relocate to New York. So, Emma, being of a practical nature and clever, accepts the offer and sets out to just get on with things. She’s engaging and solidly written, completely undeterred by the great amounts of resistance that Beau throws her way.
Beau is the younger brother, uninterested in titles and completely unwilling to step into his brother’s shoes and assume control of title and lands. He’s had a bad experience with his time in society with a situation that ended badly, and he has convinced himself that his future is in mindless pursuits, away from society, responsibility and entanglements with women. Beau was far harder to appreciate, his steadfast refusal to grow up or grow a pair, get past what happened and move to learn how to be the Viscount and manage things properly were frustrating. He wasn’t sympathetic, he was weak-willed and often childish, and I applaud Emma’s patience in dealing with him. She had no children from her marriage, but inherited a man-boy with this job. Which, unfortunately kept the romance at the lukewarm level for me, hard to buy into a hero that didn’t hit any discernible mark of hero. An interesting, if not entirely engaging end to the series.
Now for the issues: Bryson stepping away from the title of Viscount to pass it to his younger brother (ok – half-brother), and the new Duke of Ticking’s machinations to obtain Emma’s family lands and fortunes. Sadly, even in fiction an author must either adhere to actual fact, or diverge so greatly from them that facts are irrelevant. Setting a story in Regency England means that facts and laws (even if one plays with social interactions) exist, and these two elements not only contravene laws of the time, but are not even remotely close. Abdication of a title in that period required an act of Parliament, even as much as Bryson’s honor called for it, he was born in wedlock, and as such, the legal heir. Ticking’s machinations also would have required legal intervention for his takeover, as Teddy (Emma’s brother) was the legal and rightful heir. This misstep is one of those strange moments for a reader- it may have made for intriguing plot arcs for the author, but the lack of ‘correctness’ was problematic for me, signifying a lack of research.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.