Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Advanced Review: Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace (4 stars, historical)

Full Description: Amazon (Release Date: 2/7/12)

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:   
It wasn't until I had read Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel in its entirety that I could quite decide how I felt about the debut novel. By the time I flipped to the last page, though, the smile on my face reflected my thoughts: as a whole, it seemed like a good read.

One of the early reviews suggested that the novel was a typical regency plot. And, at a basic level, I agree: we have a rake of a hero with ennui that can only be cured by the heroine, an unusual regency miss whose caustic remarks contradict her attraction and eventual passion for the hero. And, of course, there's a kidnapping at the end. It's the way in which this story takes these much used plot elements and makes them its own, however, that causes Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel to be worth reading. Grace seems to keep the interactions between the protagonists pretty light and fun, complete with the occasional line of humor. The overall storyline seemed a little erratic, but at the same time the roaming plot kept me interested and on my toes :). There were quite a few small misunderstandings throughout the romance plot, especially with the heroine not being sure (time after time) if she can trust a rake with her heart. In fact, the author uses the heroine's uncertainty as comic relief towards the end of the book: the hero remarks once or twice on the heroine's tendency to change her mind. On a similar note, the author teases the reader with setups for large misunderstandings that get are never carried through.

My main reason for giving the novel only four stars is the heroine. I hate it when the heroine makes poor decisions, especially with sexual intimacy. She knows the hero is a rake, knows he will almost certainly never love her, is warned by her friends not to get involved, and yet gives up any chance for a respectable marriage for a relatively short coupling in a carriage. Obviously the hero is falling in love with her by this point, since it is a romance, but in a realistic scenario it would have been devastating for her socially and emotionally.

So there were some aspects I didn't like about Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel. They weren't significant enough, however, to interrupt my enjoyment of reading of a pretty great novel.

This review is based on an ARC copy I received on NetGalley, thanks to a publisher who is obviously awesome.

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