For years, Sophia has planned her daring act of revenge against her mother’s killer. She has painstakingly prepared herself by studying the criminal mind. Now she knows that the moment is right and that Nicholas is the man to help her. But she doesn’t count on the reckless temptation of his rugged sensuality or the captivating intensity in his deep eyes. When desire and emotion intoxicate her as they venture together into the darkest corners of London’s underbelly, Sophia must contend with a yearning even more powerful than the quest for vengeance: the call of love.
I am a fan of the books in Stefanie Sloane’s Regency Rogues series, so I was excited to read “The Scoundrel Takes a Bride.” Plus, I was intrigued by the premise of a heroine caught between two brothers. This historical romance builds upon a multi-book suspense plot which has the Young Corinthians working in their guise as spies for the Crown. “The Scoundrel Takes a Bride” is a strong addition to the series with a heartwarming romance, although I was puzzled by one facet of the hero’s character.
Nicholas Bourne has loved childhood friend Lady Sophia Southwell for years. Unfortunately, Sophia has always been promised to his older brother Langdon. After years of avoiding both Sophia and Langdon, Nicholas has returned home. After recent discoveries by the Young Corinthians, Sophia knows that there are new developments in her mother’s murder case. She goes to Nicholas for help. Nicholas does not want to get Sophia involved, but knows that she won’t give up.
Thus, Nicholas and Sophia start investigating. This puts them into constant contact where neither one of them can resist a lifetime of love and devotion. Both are very concerned about Langdon and how he will react to their burgeoning relationship. Langdon is a good guy, a great brother and a good fiancé – even if he hasn’t been eager to set a wedding date with Sophia. Because Langdon is a good person, both Nicholas and Sophia must deal with guilt over the hurt they know they will be causing.
While I enjoyed the relationship between Nicholas and Sophia and their amateur sleuthing, I was bothered by the fact that Nicholas is a drunkard. He is perpetually drunk, even drinks a full bottle of whiskey at one point. Sophia actually notices that he gets the shakes the one time he decides not to have a drink. I won’t say that Sloane deals with this issue cavalierly, but I don’t think that Sophia or Langdon make enough of a stink. After Sophia and Nicholas admit their love for each other, Sophia gently chides him about his drinking.
Nicholas is more than addicted to alcohol. He is consumed with it. I get that he has loved Sophia from afar for most of his life, but I never got the sense that this is what caused his drinking. I found Nicholas to be a very sympathetic hero, except for his alcoholism – and I don’t think it was dealt with appropriately for me to believe that he was on his way to kicking the habit. This is really my only issue with this story, but it absolutely impacted my belief in the veracity of happily ever after.
“The Scoundrel Takes a Bride” is a strong, albeit somewhat problematic, entry in the Regency Rogues series. Outside of the fact that I dislike the way in which the hero’s alcoholism is dealt, I enjoyed the suspense plot and the way that Nicholas and Sophia worked together. Sophia’s interest in criminal investigations is a nice twist. I believe that Langdon’s story is next, and I cannot wait for this one.
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Book Disclosure: A book was provided by the publisher.