SUITORS AND SCOUNDRELS
Awe-Struck E-Books, Feb 2004
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood
We first meet Sarah Elham at the home of George, Duke of Chisholm, where the family has gathered for the funeral of Georgeís wife, Sarahís cousin. There, an R-rated incident explains why Sarah and George have a vague plan to marry, some time in the future. It sets the stage for the main story.
Six years later, Sarah has endured a long string of deaths in her family. She is twenty-three and unwed, guardian for her young brother and the family estates. George keeps urging Sarah to marry him, but he is much occupied with his work in the government Secret Service. Enter Marc, Earl of Barrow, severely injured during undercover work in a case George knows all about. Marc, George, and Sarahís Uncle James are all involved in the same secret investigation, but they have greatly underestimated Sarahís understanding of the situation.
While life-and-death maneuvering goes on around her, Sarah oversees estate repairs, turns a profit with her horse breeding stable, fends off suitors and matchmaking families, encourages her friendsí romances, and mothers every child who comes her way. And, incidentally, brings down a family nemesis.
There is a good deal of suspense in SUITORS AND SCOUNDRELS. It isnít provided by the Secret Service work, which, for Sarahís family, is just part of the daily routine. The suspense is, which of her suitors will she choose? Both have Sarahís long-time friendship, both seem honorable men in different ways. Different readers will root for different men. The one I guessed would win, didnít, but that didnít ruin my enjoyment. Itís unusual, in a Regency, not to know which is the right man.
The off-handedly Regency setting is unimportant to SUITORS AND SCOUNDRELS. What is important is the interesting plot, the pleasure of watching how effectively Sarah handles her life, and the unpredictability of her marriage arrangements. This is the kind of book that gets by-passed by publishers who are looking to republish last monthís book in disguise. The ebook format proves its value yet again, by giving us something out of the standard pattern.
Feb 2004 Review
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