Sunday 8 June 2014

To Love a Wicked Scoundrel by Anabelle Bryant - Book Review

From the Blurb:

Is there a Lady in the land that can resist this scoundrel’s charms…?

At her step-mother’s command, Isabelle – and her irrepressible step-sister Lily – are leaving the pleasantries of the English countryside behind them, and heading straight to the bustling heart of a London season. Isabelle couldn’t care less about fashionable society, and is even less interested in the name on the lips of every ballroom gossip - Lord Constantine Highborough, reputedly a scoundrel of the highest order! But once he sets eyes on the stunningly beautiful Isabelle, London’s most notorious rake knows exactly where to direct his devilishly bewitching smile.

And everybody knows that Constantine always gets what he wants, usually leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him…

The Review:

Isabelle would rather be at home in the country with her garden, but her step-mother, Meredith, is determined to drag her along to the London season. Meredith has a plan for their time in London: she is going to seduce Lord Constantine Highborough, the city's most notorious scoundrel, but after only one ball, it is Isabelle who has caught his eye.

At a glance, Isabelle and Constantine make up one of my favorite heroine/hero combos: the reluctant goody-two-shoes spinster and the terribly naughty, terribly sexy rogue. Isabelle only agrees to join her step mother in London because she wants to look after her young step sister, and her relationship with her sister is really one of the sweetest highlights of this novel. Isabelle is cautious and caring, not only to her little sister. She supports her step-mother, despite having very different views on the world, which is why it is troublesome when she begins to fall for the man her step-mother is after.

She can't deny her attraction to Constantine, however, as he proves to be nothing like the gossip pages allege. He has a sweet side, cares for her little sister and despises the attention of London society. He is also a secret artist. Constantine certainly has a wicked side, with which he gained his reputation. He's happy to break rules if it means he can get closer to Isabelle.

Though I really liked both Isabelle and Constantine, some of their romance did fall a little flat for me. Their time together, especially with Isabelle's sister, is very sweet and makes them endearing, and they have a definite chemistry I've come to love in these roguish romances. However, there is a big focus on Isabelle's "innocence" which is something that always squicks me out a little - of course, it's worth noting that this will appeal to a lot of other readers. I also felt at one point like Constantine prioritized his paintings over his romance with Isabelle, which seems an odd misstep for this subplot.

All the same, this is an enjoyable romance, and I have to give props to Anabelle Bryant for the authenticity of the setting. To Love a Wicked Scoundrel is well researched and the historical details really add to the story.

To Love a Wicked Scoundrel by Anabelle Bryant is a historical romance from Carina UK, released April 9, 2014 and available from Amazon.

This book was given to Love Reading Romance in exchange for an honest review.