A LOVING SCOUNDREL: A
Atria Books, April 2004
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Jeremy Malory and his cousin Percy need a thief. Percy's family crest ring is stolen by an unscrupulous lord and they need the services of a thief to steal it back before his mother notices it's missing. They visit a tavern in the slums of London to find one and they encounter Danny. Jeremy instantly realizes that Danny is a girl, but doesn't let on because he is intrigued by the beautiful guttersnipe.
Danny is a young woman who grew up in the slums of London from the age of seven with no real memory of her family – except for a few flashes of a bloody assault. A member of Dagger's gang, a group of orphaned thieves, she masquerades as a boy. After helping the two nabobs recover their stolen family jewels, Danny finds herself kicked out of Dagger's gang for breaking the rules. She decides it's time to launch her plan, to get out of the slums and have a family of her own before Dagger discovers she is really a girl and puts her to work in a more lucrative profession.
The next day she seeks out Jeremy Malory and demands a job, since he caused her to lose the one she already had. She agrees to work as an upstairs maid, if he will help polish her speech and manners. In the hands of Jeremy, and his cousin Regina, Danny soon blossoms into a stunningly beautiful woman and becomes engaged in an affair with her boss. But Danny finds herself falling in love and realizes she must move on if she wants to live her dream of having a family of her own.
A LOVING SCOUNDREL is a wonderful addition to Ms. Lindsey's Malory Series. Danny's and Jeremy's romantic tale is a Cinderella type story, with a mystery twist. Danny's true family origins are discovered, and how she ended up on the streets is revealed with a bit of melodrama thrown in. Readers will enjoy the return of many of the Malory clan as secondary players in this tale: cousins Regina, and Amy and Jeremy's father and uncles, James, Anthony and Edward, make an appearance. Plus, readers are given a glimpse of the growing offspring that are certain to play starring roles in future Malory stories.
The Malory Seriesbegan in 1985 with the release of LOVE ONLY ONCE, followed by TENDER REBEL (1988), GENTLE ROGUE (1990), THE MAGIC OF YOU (1993), SAY YOU LOVE ME (1996) and THE PRESENT (1999). The series was written over the span of two decades and Lindsey's writing style has understandably gone through some changes. A LOVING SCOUNDREL is not the same steamy love story that Lindsey wrote back in the 80's but this tale is very enjoyable and captures the original charm and appeal of the Malorys.
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