zondag 15 april 2012
Suzanne Enoch – Always a scoundrel
The third book in the Notorious Gentlemen series, published April 28, 2009.
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 aristocrats 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.
Lord Bramwell Johns, or Bram, is the second son of a Duke, and he absolutely hates and loathes his father. And with good reason I might add. So he does everything he can think of to cause his father to think of him and to irritate him. If the Duke thinks he is a good for nothing, he will be that, and more! He even robs his father’s friends, and then tells his father about it. To protect their precious name, the Duke can do nothing about it. But even the excitement of stealing is not all that excitement any more, as it is most often way too easy for Bram. And all the gambling and bedding is getting tiresome as well.
Then one night, he decides to break in when the owners are at home. Two burglaries in one night! That is new for the Black Cat. But he overhears a conversation, where the daughter of the house is “sold” into marriage, to solve the debts the son made. He really feels for this unknown woman, as she has apparently no worth to her parents whatsoever.
Rose is a dutiful daughter, and she knows her family will be ruined if she does not marry Viscount Kingston Cosgrove. They just don’t have 10.000 pounds. And her 18 year old brother (and the heir) still thinks he is a great man of the town and knowledgeable when it comes to cards and woman. He sees no error in his ways, and thinks it a fine way to procure a husband for his sister, she is after all 22 now. And Cosgrove is a friend of his, no matter his very bad reputation.
Rose really dislikes Cosgrove, even though he looks like a handsome blond angel, there is something creepy about that man. And she totally blames him and Lord Bramwell for being her brother’s bad companions and leading him to ruin. She totally wants to slap their faces for it. But when she by chance meets Lord Bram outside a bookshop, she had no idea he was so handsome! And when he keeps turning up where ever she goes, and wants to safe her from marrying Cosgrove, she doesn’t know what to think anymore. Cosgrove is being his evil self, and he loves to make her afraid for him, and tell her the depraving things he is going to do to her once they are married. If he had waited with that, she would have married his as the dutiful daughter she is. Now Rose turns to Bram for help. But even though she accepts his help, she will not change a depraved but rich and titled rogue for a poor rogue. That will not help her family. So Bram, to his own surprise, continues being a hero, and a gentleman. Ofcourse there are his friends and their wives, and even his brother who still have faith in him. But can he win Rose after all?
And when Cosgrove gets wind that Bram is after Rose, no holds are barred and the battle between them is on. Their friendship will never survive that.
I am a big fan of Suzanne Enoch, and somehow, this book had escaped my attention. When some other booklovers visited me earlier this year, Pearl and Leontine, Pearl brought some books she wanted to sell. And of course, she left with a lot less books. Including this one. I have been hoarding it carefully, saving it for a day when I needed a sure thing. And I am not disappointed by Suzanne Enoch; I enjoyed this book very much. She gave a really nice twist to the dreaded arranged marriage thing. And especially the ending, wow, I did not see that coming, but what a great thing to do!
I totally loved both Rose and Bram. Rose is a very strong character, determined to safe her family. But when Cosgrove keeps frightening her on purpose, she gets second doubts. Why should she sacrifice the rest of her life to her family who have totally no love or respect for her? They have no idea what she has been doing for years to make their lives run smooth. She has only one month to find a solution before the engagement is made public.
Bram is a rogue by choice, ever since he was sixteen. And he has done a lot of bad things, he is certainly not proud of. But to his own surprise, he draws the line when he finds out what Cosgrove wants to do. And he will do everything in his powers to help Rose escape his evil clutches. Even when she makes very clear that she accepts his help, but will not marry him. He changes his life, his lifestyle, even goes to his father willingly, and all for her. He, who so ridiculed his friends since their marriages, has he finally fallen himself?
Two great main characters, good and evil secondary characters, loyal friends, horrible family, and a very good story. And of course, Suzanne Enoch has such a great writing voice, she takes and holds my attention effortlessly. I just kept turning the pages, needing to know what would happen next. What sounds like a standard trope, is really very original and good.