cover image A Proper Scoundrel

A Proper Scoundrel

Esther Hatch. Covenant Communications, $15.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-5244-1698-0

A scheme to keep suitors at bay fuels the love between an enterprising railroad owner and a reclusive rogue in this solid Victorian romance from Hatch (A Proper Charade). Business-minded Diana Barton does her best to evade the men vying for her hand in order to get control of her railroad company—but as most of them are also investors, she’s hardly successful. So she hatches a plan to scare them off with the help of “a man who would ruin her reputation and not want a railroad in return.” The home of known scoundrel Baron Everton Bryant is off-limits to all but his staff, so Everton’s taken aback when the determined Diana finagles her way past his loyal butler to ask for his assistance. The pair soon slide into a playful friendship that seamlessly grows into romance, but Everton must deal with his guilt over his first wife’s suicide before he can love again. Everton’s quick wit camouflages his serious side, but Diana’s kindness and patience encourage him to open up. The characters’ radiant personalities minimize the angst of Everton’s backstory, and despite the talk of ruination, the romance stays relatively chaste. The result is an emotional outing full of hope. [em](May) [/em]