Saturday, November 9, 2013

Review: The Scoundrel Takes a Bride by Stefanie Sloane


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The mystery began in The Saint Who Stole My Heart, when Sophia's mother is found dead inside their country house. It is 15 years later and Sophia compels her three friends, Langdon, Nicholas and Dash to help her discover who had killed her mother and it is something that has consumed all of them, especially Sophia.

With Dash married, it is now up to Nicholas and Sophia to follow the lead that Dash has uncovered but this proves difficult because Sophia and Nicholas have never had the friendliest of relationships: not as children and not as adults. Why? Because Nicholas has secretly loved Sophia all his life but it has been arranged for Sophia to marry Langdon, Nicholas's older brother.

I discovered one new thing about myself when I was reading Stefanie Sloane's The Scoundrel Takes a Bride: it seems I really love the friends-to-lovers storyline and that I really, really love childhood friends-to-lovers storylines.

It was obvious, from the first chapter, that Nicholas harbored a secret affection for Sophia that he could not express as a young boy. He left England, hoping to forget his love for Sophia and, when he returned, it seems that all the old feelings were never forgotten. One can feel overwhelmed when something this immense, this deep, this old happens -- and Nicholas is, once again, unable to say what is in his heart. Instead, he does his best to push Sophia away; to push his brother, Langdon, away.

I loved the restraint and the tension every time Nicholas was with Langdon or Sophia -- more so, when he was with both Langdon and Sophia. I can sympathize with Nicholas's position: Langdon and Sophia would be married very soon and the exigency of the situation must cut at Nicholas like a knife.

"All I want is the truth --"

"The truth is that you are to be my brother's wife," Nicholas snapped. "A fact that has eaten away at my heart all of these years until there's very little of it left. That is the truth, Sophia."
- p. 129

I thought Stefanie Sloane wrote this part of the story very well and I would have been quite happy to have followed this love story from beginning to end -- but, this is only part of the story. The greater part of the story involves the mystery of Sophia's mother's murder all those years ago. In Dash's story, they discovered the man who had killed her -- but, apparently, he was only the tip of the iceberg -- and the man who masterminded the murders is known as The Bishop.

I had some reservations about how Nicholas and Sophia dealt with their investigation: they lied to a lot of people, innocent people, to get information. I especially felt sorry for Maggie Pemble (read Chapter 24). =(

I felt our hero and heroine crossed a line and this was no longer a fight of good versus evil. I wondered why they never asked Langdon's help. Also, why Bow Street wasn't involved when Sophia works with them? Though it is explained in the story why, I felt it wasn't a convincing reason, especially pertaining to Langdon. (I'm not sure if it's just me, but I thought Mr. Bean of the Bow Street Runners was a bit creepy and made me think he was involved in the murder. Read pp. 115-120)

I also felt a bit disappointed with how Sloane chose to write the ending -- I understand that there ought to be a story left to tell in Langdon's book but I couldn't help but be frustrated to follow a thread, thinking to reach the end of it, only to discover that it is part of a seemingly never-ending spool.

I've been following Stefanie Sloane since her debut novel and, while I never completely fall in love with her stories, there's always something in them that makes me want to read more. I have to say that she has a way with writing interesting characters. In this novel, it was Mr. Pavan Singh who stole the show. (Loved his words of wisdom. ^_^)

"Sahib, it is said the most beautiful things in the universe are the starry heavens above us and the feeling of duty within us. My duty is to you, so here I am. And the stars that fill your London sky are the very same ones that watch over my beautiful valley in India."
- p. 46

I was also very intrigued by the Halcyon Society and Mrs. Mason.

The Scoundrel Takes a Bride is the fifth book in Stefanie Sloane's Regency Rogues (Young Corinthians) series and the second book in the sub-series involving the murder of Sophia's mother. The next book, Langdon's story, The Wicked Widow Meets Her Match, will be released in April 2014.

To find out more about Stefanie Sloane and her books, click below:
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10 comments:

  1. That was an interesting comment about the ending. I guess when an author is writing a series, she/he must leave something hanging to get readers to come back for the “next installment.” I’m still very much looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing your great review, Tin.

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  2. Hi, Connie!

    Are you following this series? Dash's story was very good and this one was okay. When I was reading this, I could feel the build-up and the momentum was there -- I guess it could be seen as a cliff-hanger? (Which works, in a sense, because now I will be getting the last book so I could find out the ending.)

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