cover image The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel

The Perks of Loving a Scoundrel

Jennifer McQuiston. Avon, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-233514-2

Ruination takes a back seat to assassination in McQuiston’s Victorian-era romantic thriller, the third in the Seduction Diaries series (after The Spinster’s Guide to Scandalous Behavior). Mary Channing is rather unexpectedly engaging in her first kiss, with the kind assistance of future viscount Geoffrey “West” Westmore, when they overhear bits and pieces of an assassination plot taking place in London. Unfortunately, West is known as a prankster, so no one believes their story. West never planned to marry. He has nightmares of his time in war, and heavy drinking and promiscuity are his ways of coping; this is hardly the behavior of a proper husband. Mary knows he doesn’t love her. However, they need a way to secretly investigate—and stop—the impending assassination, and they can only work as a team if they marry to satisfy the society gossips. Mary’s intelligence and strength and West’s caring and attentiveness transform their forced marriage into a welcome one. The characters and their relationship develop alongside the investigation, not because of it. The story is equal parts mystery and romance, and just when readers begin to feel cheated, the twists and turns navigate to a stunning ending. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Oct.)