If you are going to read this series here is the order you should read it in: The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes A Bride and The Scoundrel and the Debutante by Julia London. I didn’t. If I had, I may not have finished the entire series.
Road trip! Road trip! This book comes with a warning — you are either going to like this book or not. Why, pray tell, would that be? Well, because The Scoundrel and the Debutante covers a period of only four days tops — at least the road trip falling in love part. So, there is a bit of a suspension of disbelief involved in this particular story. While this book worked for me, it may not work for others. But hey! This is about me, and I loved this story! Let’s take a gander, shall we?
If you have been following this series, it is the third installment of the Cabot sisters and it seems that even though I purchased the other two books for some reason I didn’t read them. Oh dear! Although, now that I go back and look at the covers, there seems to have been some adjusting of original covers vs. released covers and some last minute change of titles — which I didn’t catch. So, I when I go back and read those missed books I will probably learn a valuable lesson about things that change. This also might explain why I couldn’t recall a single thing about the previous books when I was reading The Scoundrel and the Debutante. I digress.
In this story we have Prudence Cabot, the straight arrow sister who is sad (sniff) because she’s not married. She blames her scandalous sisters for this; she pouts, she crumbles, she resents. She just doesn’t understand why men are not flocking around her — she is the beauty of the family after all. She actually sounds a little stuck on herself, doesn’t she? Well, anyway she’s decided to visit a friend in the countryside who has just had a baby, which will make her even more depressed because she doesn’t like to be around happily married people. She is waiting for her carriage to pick her up. By the way, this was when I knew I would have to leave historical accuracy behind — a young unmarried woman waiting for a carriage unchaperoned, puleese. Anyway, she’s waiting for the carriage and what should happen while she’s waiting? The public coach pulls up and who should disembark? The biggest, brawniest, handsomest man she’s ever seen, and he’s lost. You see, he’s American and he doesn’t understand English, or at least the English that’s spoken in England. After assisting him in finding his proper direction, Prudence has some kind of epiphany. This is not a small gentle epiphany, but more of a giant lightning bolt. She decides to chuck it all for an adventure with this man who has stunned her senseless, our hero, Roan Matheson.
By the way, isn’t Roan another name for a horse? Ummm, I wonder — horse — stallion — big — ummmm. Roan Matheson is on a mission. He’s searching for his sister Aurora who seems to be quite a bother. She’s left her fiancé in America and came to England to — I don’t know — hang out with the rich people and parrrrr-ty. Roan also has an almost fiancée back home, but he doesn’t really know her and she doesn’t really light any bulbs, trip any triggers, send any shivers through him. Nope, when he gets back home he intends to marry her and seal a business proposition between her family and his. You see, Roan’s family has money, but they want more. And, now he’s in this country where the city of West Lee is actually Weslay and he’s headed south when he should be going north. He’s grumpy. Then he is saved by a gorgeous angel, Prudence, and thoughts of his sister seem to just fly out of his head.
Well, it isn’t too long before these two people who are so wrong for each other are on a road trip adventure. A romp through the countryside where all the standard Romanceville things happen to them. Thanks to Julia London’s remarkable writing this standard romance yarn rises above the rest. This journey seemed longer than the few days it actually was. And, even though Prudence did things that were not at all in her character, I didn’t mind. Prudence and Roan shared adventures, they shared stories, they shared truths and they shared a good time. They even admit their love for each other. The road adventure is bright, shiny, fun; but as they continue there is a growing bleakness that takes place because they know that when their adventure ends they will separate. This was one time when a marriage proposal is turned down, I found the rejection understandable.
There was a lot more to this book, but I’m not going to go into everything except to say Aurora was a really self-centered girl. There were some other secondary characters, but they didn’t overwhelm any of the storytelling. The Scoundrel and the Debutante is first and foremost a tale about Roan and Prudence. If you can get past the four day fall in love thing, you should enjoy this book. And, obviously you don’t need to read the other two to read this one.
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