The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston

The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel by Jennifer McQuiston
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (344 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Every girl dreams of a hero….

No one loves books more than Miss Mary Channing. Perhaps that’s why she’s reached the ripe old age of six-and-twenty without ever being kissed. Her future may be as bland as milk toast, but Mary is content to simply dream about the heroes and adventures she reads about in her books. That way she won’t end up with a villain instead.

But sometimes only a scoundrel will do.

When she unexpectedly finds herself in the arms of Geoffrey Westmore, London’s most notorious scoundrel, it feels a bit like a plot from one of her favorite novels. Suddenly, Mary understands why even the smartest heroines can fall prey to a handsome face, and Westmore’s is more handsome than most. But far worse than the damage to her reputation, the moment’s indiscretion uncovers an assassination plot that reaches to the highest levels of society and threatens the course of the entire country.

When a tight-laced miss and a scoundrel of epic proportions put their minds together, nothing can stand in their way. But unless they put their hearts together as well, a happy ending is anything but assured.

How does a young lady’s innocent trip to a library end up having her embroiled in a torrid affair and political intrigue? Only Mary, avid book reader of mysteries and other odd subjects, could have such a thing happen to her. The heroine embarks on her own adventure that surpasses anything she’s ever read, and her life will be the better for it, if she survives.

Ms. McQuiston has penned a marvelous story of intrigue, scandal, romance and adventure. The plot development is woven in a diabolical way and is directly tied to a couple of instances of light seduction and clandestine meetings between Mary and Geoffrey Westmore. West is a rake, a drunk and a wastrel, or so a reader is lead to believe in the beginning.

Here’s the thing – West is actually suffering from what we now call PTSD – and it plays an intriguing and pivotal role in the novel. I liked how the author used the hero to illustrate the many ways in can manifest in a person’s life. It provided excellent conflict and an effective means of connecting and being sympathetic to the hero.

Introverts can possibly relate to Mary because of her absolute love of books and her preference for a secluded garden amongst flowers to while away the time while immersed in a good mystery. I enjoyed watching the heroine emerge from her bookish solitude and into life. I was greatly entertained while watching Mary find out just how different a real life adventure is compared to what was written. Some of those revelations were shocking, amusing, or downright sexy.

The overall plot conflict, the ‘deadly conspiracy’, was a convincing motivation for the drama and momentum of the story and the author orchestrated it perfectly. It also served to showcase just how smart and clever Mary really was, and it provided West with the incentive to finally shake off his profligate ways and become the man he was meant to be. Watching the two of them become better, stronger people because of their being together was quite satisfying and romantic. I really believed that Mary and West were perfect for each other and their chemistry and combustibility when they were together proved it. That, of course, made reading The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel an even better read.

The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel has a story to tell that’s so fun that it makes a reader lose track of time. I can’t even truly impress upon a reader just how much I enjoyed myself as I watched West and Mary fall in love. Even the last final sentence that Ms. McQuiston wrote had me closing the book with a huge grin. Should a reader cheat and skip to the last sentence for a peek, they won’t understand the significance of that statement unless they’d read the whole book. It has MEANING. And, it’s wonderful, saucy and full of pure hope and optimism. Pick up your own copy of The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel and see for yourself why I thought this book so awesome.

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