Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel by Samantha Grace is a Regency romance with one of the tried-and-true plots: the story of the redemption of a rake. Except that in this story, the rake is almost ready to be redeemed, and the lady isn’t quite ready to trust his redemption. Although this story had all the right elements, including a likeable hero and heroine, a matchmaking mama and a pair of dastardly evildoers for spice, the whole thing didn’t quite jell by the finish.
Lana Hillary meets Drew Forest by falling into his arms. From a tree. While escaping from one of the many men her matchmaking mama believes would be a perfect husband for her. Or at least a better bet than Lana officially declared “on the shelf” after two London Seasons and no offers. Well, none after that first lying scoundrel who broke Lana’s heart and left her.
The problem with the men her mama finds is not that they are so terribly respectable, although they are. It’s that they are so terribly boring. And so terribly obviously fortune hunters. Lana would rather be a spinster than be leg-shackled to a man who only wants her for her marriage portion. Especially since he will have control over it, and her, once she marries.
Being caught in a compromising position with one of the bores would require marriage. Escape by tree climbing is infinitely better.
But being witnessed by Drew Forest is not. Being stuck in the bushes listening while Drew breaks off his relationship with Lady Amelia is even worse. Drew is a handsome, charming scoundrel. And Lana’s brother Jake is in love with the widowed Lady Amelia.
Andrew Forest found the spirited creature he rescued from the tree to be the most fascinating woman he had ever met. The fact that her brother Jake warned him off in no uncertain terms made the challenge that much more interesting. rven if Drew normally never pursued supposedly marriage-minded misses like Lana, the lure was simply too great for him to ignore
And even though Lana knew that Drew was the exact opposite of the type of man she should be interested in, she couldn’t resist his charm.
So began a cat-and-mouse game, from ton ballroom to country house party, except that it was difficult to tell who was the cat, and who was the mouse. Their mutual attraction proved stronger than anyone’s plots and plans to throw them together or keep them apart, and there was plenty of mischief in both directions.
Meanwhile, there was a villain in their midst with an evil plot of his very own that could ruin not just Lana’s happiness, but her very life!
Escape Rating C: The opening scenes were some of the best I’ve read in quite a while. The set up was excellent, the slightly unconventional heroine, the rake who’s getting a little bored, the matchmaking mama who’s not looking carefully at the husband candidates, and some very witty dialogue.
For this reader, the story went on a bit too long. There were enough roadblocks without the dastardly plot, or there needed to be a few less roadblocks before the plot. Lana and Drew fought and argued and railed at each other just plain too much after they fell into bed (or coach as the case might be). For two people who had such fun talking with each other the first half of the book they made a right mess of it the second half.
When books are very short, I have a tendency to want them to be a bit longer. In this case, I think I would have enjoyed the story more if there had been a bit less of it in the middle.