Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Scoundrel and I by Katharine Ashe

"She backed away a step. 'You have ruined me."

The blue eyes flicked down her body, then up again before his grin broadened.

"Fairly certain I'd recall that." he said.

Her cheeks flamed. "That was not, of course, what I meant by those words."

His eyes laughed. "You don"t say?"

"You are a scoundrel, sir."

"Assuredly. Now tell me your troubles and I'll do my scoundrelly best to solve it."

The Scoundrel and I captivated me from the first paragraph. Katharine Ashe's rich, descriptive writing style lends itself to this Cinderella-themed story. Gabrielle Flood works at Brittle & Sons print shop where Lady Justice's  pamphlets are published. Gabrielle is startled by a stranger and drops a chase of type-set broadsheet on the ground scattering more than 50 pieces of type. Elle fears for her job and searches for the missing pieces on the street. She meets Captain Anthony Masinter; the scoundrel who startled Elle. He offers to help Elle and she reluctantly accepts.

Katharine Ashe is well-known for creating complex, honorable heroes in her novels and pairing them with forthright, educated heroines. She blends humor, passion and romance into each one of her stories. I was drawn to the character of Anthony Masinter as he was sincere in his motives to help Elle recover the missing pieces of type. Honor and duty are very important to this naval officer. Elle works at the print shop and proofreads the letters between Lady Justice and Peregrine. She believes that Anthony is a scoundrel but needs his help to keep her job. Elle cares for her ailing Grandmother and the scenes between these two characters are written from the heart.

There’s quite a bit of fun and great dialogue  between the characters during their journey. Anthony and his sister transform Elle from a shop girl to a princess. Loved the shout out to Lady Beaufeltheringstone from the author’s former Ballroom blog! Anthony and Elle attend Lady B’s ball as part of their scheme to steal some type from Anthony’s uncle. Loved the sense of suspense in these scenes.

 Anthony and Elle are keeping secrets from each other and the secrets are revealed as this well -paced novel reaches its conclusion. The last few chapters were intense and not what I expected. Katharine Ashe has the ability to deliver a 200 -page novella that reads like a novel! All of the characters are unique and well-developed, the plot is original and works within the Falcon Club series. I enjoy that the author writes great dialogue and keeps within her time period ( i.e. no Americanisms) in tone, dialogue and social setting. 

The importance of the written word is an important theme in the novel and the author gifts the reader with the collection of letters written by Lady Justice and Peregrine. After reading the letters, I can’t wait to read The Earl in October!! 

If you are looking for a fabulous summer romance filled with passion, humor and intrigue—pick up Katharine Ashe’s The Scoundrel and I!

Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC and graphics provided by the author.

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