My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Honorable Scoundrels #3
Publication Date: 11/21/17
This is the last of three novellas in the Honorable Scoundrels series and it is absolutely lovely. It is well paced, excellently written and Ms. Barnes manages to do the almost impossible – she manages to provide a truly romantic story filled with fully developed and likable characters while also wrapping up the series with all of the siblings and their spouses – in a novella. All I can say is – well done!
The series follows three sisters who are gently-born but impoverished. They are the great-granddaughters of a member of the aristocracy, but they have fallen on hard times. Their grandfather went into the practice of the law and was very successful – accumulating wealth and estates. Their father, however, didn’t have the acumen his father did and wasn’t successful. Then, after his wife died, he took to drink and eventually had to leave the practice. By the time he passed away, there was nothing left. The estates were sold, the Mayfair mansion was gone, dowries spent and hope for a happy future was crushed. Josephine, the oldest sister, is our heroine in this novella. Louise, the middle sister, was featured in the first novella and Eve, the youngest sister was featured in the second novella. They are very close-knit, lovely, caring, intelligent and independent ladies and watching them find their HEA is a great delight.
All three of these novella’s all take place at basically the same time. Louise leaves on her way north one day, Eve leaves to visit her friend the next day and Josephine’s adventures start that same afternoon.
It is a very cold and windy day in London when Josephine is walking home after seeing her sister Eve off to visit her friend. She’s wondering how much longer she can keep them all afloat on her salary as a bookkeeper. Louise’s taking a job as a governess will help greatly, but it will still be a tight squeeze. Her hands are nearly frozen as she approaches her front door – and spots a grand coach parked at the curb. That is certainly an out-of-place sight in her neighborhood. As she moves to her door and tries to use her frozen fingers to fish her door key from her pocket, the coach door opens and a tall, elegant gentleman steps out and approaches her. After he convinces her to let him enter her home, she learns that he is there as a representative of their absentee guardian to see that they are well. He is dismayed to learn that Louise has taken a job as a governess and that Josephine is employed in a job normally held by a man. Those things reflect badly on the reputation of their guardian and so the gentleman informs Josephine she’ll have to tell Louise to come home and she’ll also have to quit her employment as well. Josephine is incensed by his arrogance and tells him he is a pompous ass – and it gets better from there.
Devon, the Duke of Snowden is immediately attracted to the beautiful Josephine, but he must convince her to take the stipend being offered by his friend and her guardian. Her guardian cannot attend to the task himself because his father, her previous guardian, has died and he’s taking over the title – and discovering he has wards. So, he asks Devon to check on them.
Josephine refuses to leave her position because the men in her life have all proven untrustworthy. She’ll depend on herself from now on. Yet, two days later she loses her employment because the owner has told the manager to cut costs. What follows is a lovely romance story. Devon pursues, but Josephine is very hesitant. How will he win her over? He’ll have to figure out how to extract the real man from the arrogant Duke. Can he? Read this lovely, lovely novella to find out!
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”