Desert Isle Keeper
Three Nights with a Scoundrel
I’m not sure why it took me so long to read Tessa Dare. She’s certainly a well-respected historical romance author. This is largely why I selected Three Nights With a Scoundrel to review, and man, am I glad I did. I loved every page.
When Lady Lily Chatwick’s twin brother Leo is murdered, she is devastated. He’s long been her other half, her best friend, and her support in a society that is difficult for her. Shortly after her debut in society, she went deaf following a fever. Still mourning for Leo’s senseless murder, she is now concerned about the other man in her life: Julian Bellamy, Leo’s best friend. Julian blames himself for Leo’s death, believing the thugs that beat him in an alley were, in fact, after him.
Julian is the bastard of a nobleman, and grew up resenting the entire aristocracy. He spent years simultaneously charming the lords and ladies, and trying to ruin them — until he met Leo and Lily, and finally found two people worth truly caring about. Since Leo’s death, though, he’s back to his old gambling, fighting, and drinking — all done to draw out whoever killed Leo, and go after their true target. Lily is obviously concerned, and Julian wants nothing more than to be with the woman he’s loved since he first met her. However, he has secrets in his past, ones that are coming back to haunt him.
Let me start out with the only complaint I have about this book: there is little explanation on how, exactly, Julian infiltrated the ton. His father remains anonymous, so it’s not that he’s the reluctantly acknowledged bastard of a duke or something. All we’re given is that he’s wealthy and dresses well, which as historical romance readers know, isn’t enough for society to accept you. It niggled every once in awhile, but wasn’t a source of continual questions and frustration.
But now I’m going to tell you about everything that the author did right, and that’s pretty much everything else. The characters, relationships, writing, plot development – all superb. Lily and Julian were marvelous, both well rounded and interesting, complex characters with wonderful chemistry and even better, intimacy that goes far beyond the sexual. They both do frustrating things sometimes — like Julian’s stubborn refusal to give in to his feelings — but his actions are still understandable and consistent. Lily’s deafness adds an unexpected facet to her character, and just deepened my respect for her.
The mystery of Leo’s death, Julian’s past, and how the two may intersect is perfectly paced and unraveled. And, wonderfully, it is original and surprising. There are fantastic twists that I didn’t see coming, and yet made perfect sense.
I stayed up much later than I ought until I finished Three Nights With a Scoundrel. This is the third book in a trilogy, and I’m definitely going back to read the previous two. This one has definitely earned a place on my shelf – and in my bag for my next trip to a deserted isle.