No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2016/72: The Soldier's Scoundrel -- Cat Sebastian

Everywhere he looked there were women trying to help one another in dubious ways when there didn’t seem to be any other solution. [loc. 3585]
Jack Turner, formerly a valet and something of a ruffian, makes a living helping aristocratic ladies resolve personal matters. (He won't work for noblemen.) Oliver Rivington, invalided from the army, is curious as to why his sister has paid Jack Turner a large sum of money. Visiting Turner's office at an inconvenient time, he finds himself embroiled in Jack's latest case: the theft of some potentially-incriminating correspondence from Lydia Wraxhall's jewel box.

They are both good men who don't necessarily think of themselves in positive terms, and who have a great many misconceptions about the other's social class. Jack, having seen how badly the aristocracy treat their servants (much is made of a kitchen maid having a spare pair of shoes for church on Sunday), is something of a reformer: he perceives that well-born ladies often have no more real power than their maids. Oliver, who's drifting through life aimlessly as a member of the monied classes, is innately decent with a strong sense of honour and nobless oblige, and nowhere to put it.

Neither is inclined to marry.

The period detail is good, though the language occasionally anachronistic: there is a developing relationship between the two protagonists, but there's plenty of other plot to buttress that. Excellent characterisation, of minor characters as well as Jack and Oliver. Most notably, this was published with a typical romance-novel cover -- handsome chap standing behind love interest who's baring a lot of chest, each engrossed in the other -- which is quite an achievement for an M/M romance.

No comments:

Post a Comment