The Soldier's Scoundrel
by Cat Sebastian
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Page Count: 213
Release Date: September 20, 2016
How got: personal buy via Amazon
First attention getter: that cover!!
A scoundrel who lives in the shadows
Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London's slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be.
A soldier untarnished by vice
After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman's life-one that doesn't include sparring with a ne'er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack's pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they're together.
Two men only meant for each other
Star Rating - 4
This book caught me by surprise. It's the first m/m Romance I've seen from a major publishing house. In the past, all the ones I've seen have been either self or indie published. So that alone would have caught my attention. Yet, the author gives us enjoyable characters and a lovely romance to go along with that individuality.
I adore Jack and Oliver. Both characters have distinct personalities, uncouth Jack and refined Oliver. Yet where other authors my fall into the trap of making these characters stereotypes or caricatures, the author succeed in making both men individual unto themselves. As the story progresses, each character changes with the turns of the story as well. Both leads were able to develop and grow, not being stuck in characterization ruts.
The relationship between these two made for sweet reading. The author does a great job in conveying that two men can have as emotional and romantic a connection as a man and woman can, especially given the timeframe this takes place in. The Regency era was a time when a relationship such as theirs was punishable by death. Jacks and Oliver's personalities played off each other beautifully, rounding each other out to create a cohesive relationship.
I also liked the time the author spent with her historical details. I got a real sense of the societal rules of the Regency era and the little details of everyday life like dress and home life. Seeing those details play into our lead’s personalities and how their relationship developed was an added bonus.
The one aspect of this book that was weak was the background mystery. The sleuthing was predictable, the clues somewhat hackneyed, and the overall mystery itself borderline silly. I could care less what happened to the Wraxhalls or their associates. However, this is a historical romance; such a story aspect really doesn’t have to be that strong in this genre. It’s still an enjoyable tale.
For what this book is, it shines. The romance and leads are very well done, especially as this is a debut novel. I adored watching these two men grow, both in themselves and together in their relationship. While the background mystery was predictable and boring, historical romances don't hinge on that story aspect, at least for this reader. I would definitely look for other volumes by this writer; she's a promising author for the m-m romantic subgenre.