Sara’s Review of A Study in Scoundrels by Christy Carlyle

I wish to extend my sincere thanks to Tasty Book Tours for letting me participate in the virtual tour event for Christy’s newest novel, and I’d also like to thank Avon Books for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. If you would like to see all of the blogs involved in this event, please click on the banner above, murr! =^.^=

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Rating:

Publisher: Avon Impulse

Date Released: April 11, 2017

Series: Romancing the Rules #2

Goodreads Description:

Sophia Ruthven is the epitome of proper behavior. On paper at least, as long as that paper isn’t from one of the lady detective stories she secretly pens. She certainly isn’t interested in associating with the dashing Jasper Grey, the wayward heir to the Earl of Stanhope, and one of the stage’s leading men. But when she learns Grey’s younger sister Liddy has gone missing, she can’t deny her desire to solve the mystery…or her attraction to the incorrigible scoundrel.

Responsibility isn’t something Grey is very familiar with. On the boards and in the bedroom, he lives exactly how he wants to, shunning all the trappings of respectability and society. Grey knows he should avoid the bewitching Sophia, but he’s never been able to say no to what he wants. And having Sophia in his arms and his bed is quickly becoming the thing he wants the most.

As Sophia and Grey’s search for Liddy continues across the English countryside, can this scoundrel convince a proper lady that he’s actually perfect for her or will their adventure leave them both heartbroken? 

Review:

As the second book in Carlyle’s Romancing the Rules series, I enjoyed this book much more than the first, and I’m looking forward to continuing this series as more books come out. Fans of Carlyle’s novels and of historical romances will want to add this title to their lists of books to read in the coming weeks.

I’ve wanted Sophia’s story ever since I met her in Rules for a Rogue, so I was excited to learn more about her in this novel, and I was also looking forward to learning more about Grey, too. There was no question that these two would end up together, it was simply a matter when and of how would they connect. Sophia is a proper society lady, she’s never questioned the rules of etiquette, and has spent the majority of her life caring for her family. She’s as close to a spinster as a woman could be without actually being one. Yet she’s also a woman who craves adventure and excitement, as evidence by her writing mystery novels. Grey is her complete opposite. He’s a scoundrel of the highest order and an actor. He cares nothing for displays of proper behavior or being responsible, he prefers to live of carefree enjoyment. But he’s not as carefree as he appears, Grey harbors a painful past which he is running from. Together they complete each other and provide just the right amount of incentive to change and find the happiness they both deserve.

I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow as the story progressed. Theirs is a slow build affair, both initially denying their attraction, but fate and Grey’s sister keep bringing them back together. I honestly can’t imagine Sophia ending up with anyone other than Grey. She’s his voice of reason, someone who is able to understand his pain and help him find his way through it, while he’s her motivation to live and let loose every once in a while.

Likewise I enjoyed seeing Sophia’s siblings again, if only for brief cameos, and meeting Grey’s family. Liddy, Grey’s sister, is your typical teenager. Some might call her a brat and may find her overly annoying, but she struck me as behaving as many a sixteen/seventeen year old would behave nowadays, which is to shun proper decorum and get into trouble. I can’t fault her acting as she did, even if I was rolling my eyes the entire time. Cate, Sophia’s friend and housekeeper, was a gem. I instantly loved her and couldn’t help but smile every time she nudged Sophia to follow her heart while acting like that wasn’t what she was doing. If there was a matchmaker in this book, Cate filled the role perfectly.

As for the writing, the pacing of this book was much smoother and didn’t drag as much as the first book did for me. The search for Liddy helped keep the story moving, and it allowed for plenty of will they/won’t they moments both in regards to whether they would find her, and if so in what condition, and whether Sophia and Grey would give in to their desire for the other. I also enjoyed the idea of Sophia actually “investigating” Liddy’s disappearance and taking on her character’s role of detective, regardless that it was just Sophia using common sense and thinking as a young woman would think. She accomplished more than Grey did regardless.

This is a wonderful addition to what is turning into a lovely series and I’m greatly looking forward to reading Clary’s novel later this year. I also hope that Carlyle considers continuing the series and allowing Liddy and Juliet to have stories of their own. Honestly, if you haven’t given the Romancing the Rules series a try, what is stopping you? Take a moment and give the Ruthven siblings a try, I promise you won’t regret it.

Excerpt:

Laughter tickled his ears. Weight bore down on his chest, draped over his hips. A soft weight, pliant under his hands. Heated too. Pleasure in his groin twined with pain in his head as the soft, warm weight moved against him.
He blinked, then again. Colors shimmered and blurred. The light was too dim. The room too smoky. Perfume burned his nose, too spicy and pungent.
What was that sound? A moan. A cry.
A rumbling groan reverberated in his own chest.
“Don’t leave me now,” a woman whispered near his ear. “I need release.”
He flexed his fingers, digging into the warm flesh of smooth feminine legs. Slid his hand up, finding the thicket of curls between the woman’s spread thighs.
“Yes, Grey.”
She moved against him, her breath quickening as little moans emerged. She clutched at his shoulder, her other hand on his, showing him how to touch her.
He didn’t require much direction. The role of lover was one he knew by heart. Some said he was skilled on stage, but he never doubted his expertise in the bedroom.
His own body had numbed. Whether from drink or the drugging effect of the smoke rising in whorls above his head, he wasn’t certain. But this, how to touch a woman, how to give pleasure. This he knew intuitively. This was where he excelled.
Heaven knew he’d failed at everything else.
Except acting.
But performing on stage was all a matter of illusion, of lying artfully. Sex and falsehood were his twin aptitudes.
If only he could see the woman clearly and scatter the fog in his mind. He twisted his head on the pillow and noticed a half-empty glass of blue-green liquid glowing in the low gaslight.
“What did I drink?”
A trill of laughter. Red lips. The curve of a grin in a pale face. A waterfall of red hair.
He swirled his fingers in the woman’s curls. She stilled and held her breath. He knew he’d found the key. Gently, masterfully, he touched her with all the art he’d learned from countless lovers.
“Oh, Grey.” She twitched against his fingers, dug her nails into his shoulder. “Don’t stop.”
He didn’t. Not until she gusted out a long moan, dipped her head, and sank against him as if her bones had melted.
“Absinthe,” she murmured against his chest. “A bit of laudanum.”
Grey pressed a fist to the throbbing crown of his head and tried to sit up. The lady on his chest stretched like a cat woken from a nap before rising off him and stepping away from the bed.
No, he realized when his vision cleared and he took in the books lining the walls, not a bed. Not his bedroom. He was on a settee in his London townhouse’s library, and he and his lady companion were not alone. Half-clothed bodies reclined around the musky, haze-clouded room. Some sleeping. Others smoking from an enormous bubbling hookah. At least one couple was busy, writhing and moaning in the far corner.
A man stumbled past the open library door, nude from the waist up, his shirt and coat rolled in a crumpled ball in his arms. Returning to the threshold, he let out a burp before offering, “Many happy returns, Grey. Smashing birthday party.”

About the Author:

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, USA Today bestselling author Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

***Giveaway***

If you would like to enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 print copies of Rules for the Rogue, book #1 in Christy’s Romancing the Rules series, please click on the Rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open to US Residents only!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81267

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Posted on April 13, 2017, in Book Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for sharing your lovely review!

  2. I loved this book! I was so happy Avon let me review it as I had never read a Christy Carlyle novel before. I bought book one too.