Confessions of a Scoundrel, by Karen Hawkins

>> Wednesday, February 11, 2004

I recently finished Confessions of a Scoundrel, by Karen Hawkins, which is apparently Book II of the Talisman Ring Series. I believe Book I is one I've read, An Affair to Remember.

Never has the irresistible rogue, Brandon St. John, pursued a woman with more fervor-but his ardent suit of Lady Verena Westforth has a different purpose. The delectable blond lovely is indeed enticing, but Brandon suspects her of hiding a valuable missive that he has sworn to recover. With a sensuous kiss and a passionate caress he intends to lower Verena's guard...and then discover where she's hidden "the goods."

Without the missive, Verena stands to lose the one thing dearest to her heart. And now an extraordinary man has entered her life...at the worst possible time! Vulnerable though she may be, Verena vows she will not be just another of Brandon's "conquests," even as she aches to melt in his arms. But is he a needed friend or a foe in alluring disguise...and will she be able to prove to him that love is their true destiny?
I liked this book. Hawkins has a very readable style and the romance was nice. A B.

The romance was definitely the best part of the book. Verena was a delight. She was independent and forthright, didn't take any shit from Brandon (when he was pompous and overbearing, especially in the beginning, she called him on it) and didn't much do the "I'm not worthy" routine, except for a little while, near the end. I also enjoyed the fact that she'd had a nice first marriage and missed her husband, even sexually, too. Brandon I disliked at first, for the way he immediately assumed Verena was a certain "type" of woman and condemned her without any proof. But then he started showing a sense of humour, and their relationship started to be quite fun.

Unfortunately, the wonderful romance lost a bit of steam near the end, when the suspense subplot took over.

And speaking of the suspense subplot, it was awfuly messy. First of all, some things didn't make any sense, like why on Earth the villain would go to all that trouble to find something with which to blackmail Verena's brother a long time before he knew he'd have to blackmail anyone to get what he wanted. Also, it was very, very obvious, both who the villain was and where that letter had gone. At least all this stayed mostly in the background, except for the last part of the book, but I thought it was shoddy plotting.

Something else that irritated me was the character of the butler, Herberts. It's not just that it's not realistic and that a servant who behaved like him would be fired in a minute. No, I can do suspension of disbelief just fine, it's just that I have a low tolerance for this type of character, the person who drives the protagonists crazy with his antics and yet is supposed to be "cute". He's not, he's just an imbecile, and I can't believe nobody noticed that it was all his fault that Verena and James were put in danger.

Ok, now that I've got that off my chest... other than those details, this was a very enjoyable book.

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