Love with the Perfect Scoundrel is a rather variable
novel. Our heroine, Grace Sheffey, initially seems weak and uninteresting, running away from two broken engagements and social ostracism. A young widow, she feels that her life in London is over and plans to return
her home on the Isle of Mann to live quietly.
When her carriage is damaged on a freezing night and her coachman goes looking for help, she finds herself in serious danger from the cold.
She is rescued by Michael Ranier, who takes her to the house he has just inherited. They are alone in the house for a while, during which time Grace and Michael learn more about each other.
Michael may be something more than he seems, and his history of living in America might mask his origins.
When Grace and Michael are discovered by some of her friends, it looks as though they will have to marry. Grace refuses, and Michael doesn't offer, but somehow they can't forget each other. Can Michael overcome the problems from his past which
make it unsafe for Grace to ally herself to him? Can Grace learn to do without the money and social standing in order to be with Michael?
The variable aspect of this book lies in its interest. At times my attention waned, at others I was very much into the story. There
are some particularly good parts - such as Michael's interaction with the foundling home
- their initial time together in Michael's house doesn't work well. The
narrative relies in some places on close reading of the dialogue which often passed me by; I discovered in some chapters the characters reflecting on what they
had said to each other earlier that I hadn't particularly noticed.
Several side characters make appearances, presumably heroes/heroines of previous books by this author. They weren't familiar to me, and I found their interactions occasionally a bit irritating and not entirely convincing. However, the overall concept of this book
- that a woman and man in very different situations can find love - is enjoyable.