Never Trust a Scoundrel

Gayle Cullen
2008, European Historical Romance (184os [Victorian] London)
Avon, $6.99, 384 pages, Amazon ASIN 0061235059
Part of a series

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Warm

I picked this book up and put it down so many times Iíve lost count. Never Trust A Scoundrel isnít badly written, itís not a wall banger at all, but I didn't connect with it until it was almost over.

Grace Banbury is the only sensible person in her family. After her father died, she took on the responsibility of holding things together. Grace looked after her brother Edward and managed their land and all in all they were doing fairly well. They were not rich, but they were comfortable. However, one day Grace finds her whole life turned upside down when her gambling mad mother loses both their country home and their London townhouse in a card game.

Grace runs to London to her brother Edward to learn that he has been bit by the gambling bug as well and has lost large sums. To pay his debts, he has sold almost all the furnishings of their London home, leaving Grace with only her own personal possessions. As if this was not enough, a man comes into the London townhouse, introduces himself as Daniel Throckmorton and tells Grace he is the one who owns the house now. He also won the right to court her.

All right, I know that back in 1845 women were considered property, but this is a bit much. However, I continued reading. Grace and Daniel agree that he will try to seduce her. If she can hold out, she will win enough money to live an independent life. Grace wants to do this so her brother (who is after all a gentleman) will not have to work! Hmm Ė I can understand sisterly affection, but really. The man has gambled away your little all. Sigh. Only in a romance novel.

As the book continues, it does get better. Daniel comes from a family blistered by scandal and he is prickly and proud. Iíve encountered this character before and in the hands of a skilled writer, he can be very touching. Daniel never becomes what you could call a vivid character, but he is not a wallpaper character either. Grace, on the on the other hand, never interested me at all. She was alternately feisty then meek and I never warmed up to her.

Never Trust a Scoundrel is the first in a series called The Sons of Scandal, and I don't plan to seek out the next installment. If, like me, you find that there are too many books out there from which to choose, you can probably find a better one than this.

-- Ellen Micheletti

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