How the Scoundrel Seduces: Do You have Dash?



how the scoundrel seduces coverTHE DUKES MEN #3
Simon and Schuster /Pocket 8/19/2014
Mass Market Paperback & Ebooks 416 pages
Audio 10:34, Corrie James (Narrator)
(Thorndike Press Large Print Romance Series) Hardcover – Large Print, November 12, 2014

E-Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

Lady Zoe Keane’s father is pressing her to marry a cousin she’s never met. As Lord and Lady Olivier’s only child, spirited Zoe will one day inherit the title of countess and their Yorkshire estate, the land she adores—but she wants to marry for love. Then an unsolved family mystery shatters her world: is it possible Zoe’s birth mother was actually a Romany named Drina? Desperate to know her true lineage, Zoe hires the Duke’s Men to search for the woman who will determine her destiny.

Tristan Bonnaud is the man for the job, and not because the roguish investigator cares about a spoiled aristocrat and her inheritance “problem.” To protect himself from his villainous half-brother, Tristan needs to track down his Romany horse trader friend who has information about a decade-old scandal—and this young beauty’s far-fetched case is just the excuse he needs.

But if untangling the past isn’t risky enough, the sizzling attraction drawing the scoundrel to the lady is the most dangerously seductive surprise of all. . . .  SABRINA JEFFRIES

How the Scoundrel Seduces

The third deliciously sexy novel in the New York Times bestselling Duke’s Men historical romance series, featuring an investigator who sets out to find gypsies—and unexpectedly finds love.Investigator Tristan Bonnaud has one aim in life—to make sure that his half-brother George can’t ever ruin his life again. So when the pesky Lady Zoe Keane, the daughter of the Earl of Olivier, shows up demanding that the Duke’s Men find a mysterious gypsy woman, he seizes the opportunity to also hunt for a gypsy friend who knows secrets about George. Tristan doesn’t expect to uncover Lady Zoe’s family secrets, as well…or end up falling for the woman who will risk all to discover the truth. – SIMON AND SCHUSTER

square "my take"I don’t especially like gypsy themed stories mostly because I feel we have such a  poor understanding of the ethnic group, and because I never know whether an author has done research or is just depending on stereotypical view of the Romany people.  But this story presents the Rom in a good light and talks about them in a way that helps to dispel ignorance. I was  interested in how the Rom leased houses for the winter, and are shown to be stable.

The other parts of the book varied in their ability to capture my interest. The confluence of events are too coincidental; so when it all comes together in  a neat package it feels rather silly. Except where the people are kind of evil, then it is dark and edgy.  Instant karma, right? George, Tristan’s brother is so nasty and selfish, he deserves his comeuppance.

It’s rather amusing how, we think of how prim and proper the British aristocracy is supposed to be, but if we put all the heroes and heroines who have pre-marital sex in a hall we’d find enough characters to fill DeBretts Peerage. My point being that either our minds have gotten dirtier over time or people have always been sexually oriented. Given the number of people on earth I am betting on the latter.

In this story Zoe is a countess in her own right and while that is not explained, since there is a male cousin who could be an heir, it does give her a slightly different position and her possible adoption makes that position tentative.  But what’s important to her is the stewardship and management of the estate; not the wealth or title.

The unfair nature of the system of that time is well pointed out, and the pickle the sympathetic characters are in makes them quite human,

Beneath Zoe’s family’s upset in her desire to mix colors freely, to dress and decorate with “dash” is this fear that her “gypsy” nature is coming out. Here it is not Jeffries saying “All gypsies dress gaudily; it is genetic!” It’s more the characters’ cultural biases becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.  After all, her cousin dresses with dash and no one thinks it is his gypsy nature coming out – of course, his excuse is that he is an American.  How about you, do you dress with dash or conservatively? Does it say anything about your parentage?

This book is interesting even if a little too coincidental in its plot. All things do occur because of cause and effect of course. Would the hero and heroine ever get together without the events that led to their meeting? You’ll have to read to find out.


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