Honor Among Rogues
Alexander Edgeware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation—for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party—and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible—he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver’s protector…
Mischief Among Misses
Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier’s invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues’ gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring…
This review can also be found on Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell-blog
It’s 1818 and Earl of Xavier has created a problem for himself. He’s agreed to a bet he never should’ve agreed to, but a renown rake and gambler must keep up appearances. Oh, well, he could always manipulate the circumstances in his favour by rewriting the Christmas celebration guest list to ensure Louisa Oliver and her aunt would stay the full two weeks. Fortunately, reputations deceive. Louisa is as little a bluestocking as Xavier is a thoughtless philanderer, but it turns out both of them are seducers.
A few wagers later Louisa owes Xavier hours of her time and they start discussions beyond normal scope of society gossip and imminent scandals that are so closely associated with both of them. As Xavier reluctantly tempts Louisa’s virtue, she seduces him into showing the man behind the numbered expressions.
Season for Surrender starts slowly and I had trouble getting into the story. I did come to like both Xavier’s and Louisa’s voices, but unfortunately I wasn’t ever fully captivated. That isn’t to say I didn’t like the story—I did—but I have the attention span of a gnat and I need to be continuously lured into turning the page and starting a new chapter. Most of the time, the chapter titles did that by reminding me of Gail Carriger’s wit and hinting just enough to what was was coming. There were a couple that could have been considered as mild spoilers, but I didn’t mind them.
I liked the fact that Louisa’s interest in books wasn’t something to be taken on faith; it was shown and it helped to provide her an organic connection with Xavier. It also helped me to suspend disbelief long enough to accept the sexual aspects of their encounters. [Highlight to view spoiler: A twenty-one-year-old girl who is familiar with human anatomy and reads Fanny Hill can be just as curious about sex in the 19th century as in the 21st century.]
Their discussions over the state of his library and literary in general helped to mirror the progression of their relationship. I usually hate when authors start quoting other people’s works, but here the quotes were used sparingly and chosen for the maximum impact—it is to say I didn’t feel the need to automatically skip them and that I did in fact read them through.
More than just the quotes, though, some things about this book reminded me of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. It wasn’t just the descriptions of regency era festivities with a bigger company than three or five, but also a few—one in particular—specific scenes in the end that made me imagine Colin Firth striding across a long room thinking of Jennifer Ehle.
I also liked Lady Irving and Xavier’s cousin, Jane, whom I suspect could be the heroine of a future Theresa Romain novel. More than that, I’d be interested in seeing whether or not the author can turn the villain, Marquess of Lockwood, into a character with a bit more depth.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for this review.