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    A romance that will capture your heart!

    After two nights of debauchery celebrating his birthday, cold reality comes knocking at Jasper Grey’s door. A friend from the past informs him that his seventeen year-old sister Liddy is missing, she might be with a man, and the whole sordid episode must, understandably, remain hush-hush. How will Grey ever find his sister if he can’t even alert the authorities? Sophia Ruthven is fond of detective stories, she has even started to write her own, but she is also the co-author of a rejuvenated etiquette guide. Sophia had been invited to speak at a book club tea, but instead she stumbles upon hearing of Liddy’s disappearance. Grey is an acquaintance of Sophia’s brother Kit, so what a grand idea to put her detective skills to good use in helping Grey! Sophia is twenty six, very pretty, and still a spinster because no man has ever asked for her hand in marriage, still she yearns for a husband and family, but not just anyone, and certainly not a scoundrel the likes of Grey! While she can’t deny her attraction to the whoring drunkard, he is an interesting subject for the male character in her book, but only that. Is there such a thing as a cozy historical romance mystery? In any case, Christy Carlyle swept me right off to Victorian England in her bright and lively tale of a dishevelled scoundrel and a very proper miss. Ms. Carlyle writes such meaty characters, so well defined that they come to life before our very eyes, and I just loved how the romance developed unfolded between that mismatched pair, and not at all as I expected. Sophia and Grey acted as I hoped they would, and not as most writers would have made them act; they were entirely believable ever step of the way. I thought the search for Liddy was merely a pretext for getting Sophia and Grey together, and in a way it is, but it is much more than that as it is also a clear picture of the Victorian era as a time of change, especially for women, but also how one little misstep could ruin a life. I loved the little episode with Sophia’s younger sister Clary, and I hope to see her story in the future, as it illustrates what I just wrote about. I loved the banter and the sexual tension between Sophia and Grey; their affection was obvious, and his respect for her touching. And that “serendipitous” moment at the train station took my breath away: such a simple moment, and as meaningful as a whole book; not much is said, nothing much happens, and my heart soared! It’s the precise moment when you realise that everything has changed between Sophia and Grey, and thinking about it again while writing fills me with wonder. A STUDY IN SCOUNDRELS is a splendid romance, perfectly paced, with just the right touch of suspense, of humour, and wonderfully complex characters with solid backstories. Those heated glances, those stolen kisses, those little moments which lead to superb sex scenes, which happen at the right time, for the right reasons, and leave both Sophia and Grey elated and full of doubts. Christy Carlyle gave me once again has given me everything I hope for in a historical romance: a solid story, very appealing characters, not one dull little paragraph, and a romance I believed in and captured my heart. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

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