Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NOVELLA REVIEW: "The Last Wicked Scoundrel" by Lorraine Heath


The Last Wicked Scoundrel (Scoundrels of St. James, #5)
The Last Wicked Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath
(Scoundrels of St. James #5)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+ (language, sex)
Historical Romance
Avon Impulse -- January 7, 2014
Ebook, 100 pages
Purchased from Amazon

THEMES
Novella, Class Differences, Tormented Heroine  

SUMMARY
William Graves is the last of Feagan's scoundrels. A onetime grave robber turned royal physician, he has devoted his life to saving others—because he knows there is no way to save himself. Especially not around a lady like Winnie. Though undeserving of her touch, he cannot resist. His passion cannot be tamed…even in the face of certain danger.

Winnie, the Duchess of Avendale, never knew peace until her brutal husband died. With William she's discovered burning desire—and the healing power of love. But now, confronted by the past she thought she'd left behind, Winnie must face her fears…or risk losing the one man who can fulfill all her dreams.

FIRST LINE
"Winifred Buckland, the Duchess of Avendale, had never been more terrified in her life."

MY THOUGHTS
Heath's Scoundrels of St. James series was a wonderful collection of historical romances that were heavily inspired by Oliver Twist.  Readers got to see a group of street orphans escape their poverty-stricken lives, be educated, and find love over the course of the series.  William Graves (as the summary above says) is the last one to find "true love".  He is a character that I always enjoyed reading about and I was depressed when it seemed like we would never get his story.  So I was really excited when Heath decided to do a novella showing his happily ever after.

William has moved up the social ranks by becoming an accomplished physician who is one of a multitude of men who work for Queen Victoria.  But, he has never forgotten his early days helping his father rob graves and living on the streets.  I loved getting to know more about him in this book.  He showed real strength of character by moving past his less than ideal childhood and devoting his life to helping others.  Physicians in this time are always fascinating to me because of the mixture of knowledge and mystery that they deal with on a regular basis.

Winnie was a character that is definitely not the norm in today's historicals.  She is introverted and slightly damaged from the years of abuse she suffered during her marriage.  But, Winnie shows a quiet strength by recovering and striving to live her life to the fullest.  She is a very devoted mother and I loved every scene where she interacted with her son.  I also liked that, while she was hesitant about her physical attraction to William, she was not afraid to admit her feelings even if they were not going to be widely accepted by society.

One of the issues I usually have with romance novellas is that the romance happens so fast and is rarely well-developed.  Thankfully, Heath avoids this problem by making sure readers knew that William and Winnie had known each other for years.  William helped save Winnie's life after a particularly brutal beating by her husband and even helped get rid of him forever.  They interacted on a somewhat regular basis and it was obvious that they had feelings for each.  They just needed a little push in the right direction.  I thought this own plot was very sweet and charming.

The only main problem I had with this book was the suspense element.  It was intriguing that Winnie's husband might possibly be back from the dead and I really felt for her in those terrifying moments.  But, I thought it ended too quickly and was pretty anti-climatic.  I think the story would have been better served without this particular plot and just focused on the love story due to the page length.

Despite that one issue, I enjoyed this novella and am looking forward to seeing what Heath does with the next generation in her new series, Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James.  If you haven't tried these books, I definitely recommend them since they blend social issues, romance, and mystery seamlessly and give you characters that you will remember long after you are done.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.
FAVORITE QUOTES
"He had been consumed with healing, not realizing that a part of him needed healing as well.  He didn't need to save the world to atone for the sins of his youth.  He merely needed to save a a portion of it.  He'd only needed to save her."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. In Bed with the Devil
2. Between the Devil and Desire
3. Surrender to the Devil
4. Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel
5. The Last Wicked Scoundrel

CHALLENGES READ FOR
 
 

5 comments:

  1. Great Review! I also enjoyed this one, and this series was a personal favorite of mine. I did like the suspenseful side to the story, but I do think the story would have been better done if it had been longer in length.

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    1. I think the length of the story was my main issue with the suspense part. I liked the idea, but it just got solved too quickly for my taste especially with how terrified Winnie was. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Oh sounds good! I love when an author can pull off a novella. Having them already know each other definitely helps. She sounds like a wonderful heroine too.

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  3. I think that when an author writes a novella, it's best if the characters know each other beforehand. Because, like you said, otherwise it seems they fall in love wayyyy to quickly.

    I haven't read anything by Lorraine Heath but I have a few of her books, although not ones from this series. Also, this book is set in Victorian England? I haven't read many of those. Usually the historical romances I've read are regency ere - which I do admit to having a strong fondness for.

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    Replies
    1. It is Victorian-era England. While my first "historical romance" love is Regency settings, I have read, and enjoyed, a fair amount of Victorian romances. The fashion, the social issues, and the changing economy are all really interesting. My favorite authors that focus on that time period are Lisa Kleypas, Courtney Milan, and Laura Lee Guhrke. Guhrke actually does late Victorian, early Edwardian romances which are fascinating as well. Thanks for visiting!

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