MtSnow reviews ‘The Soldier’s Scoundrel’ by Cat Sebastian. Published by Avon Impulse September 20, 2016. Audiobook released by HarperAudio October 4th, 2016, narrated by Gary Furlong. Length: 7 hrs 51 min.
Why Mtsnow listened to this story: This week is RGR historical pick week, and this has been in my tbr list for a few months.
A copy of this audiobook was purchased by the reviewer at own expense. But as always, the opinions and review results are presented with honesty as to true feelings on the book.
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 matched only by Jack’s pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they’re together.
After having just finished another historical last week, I think I came into this one with slightly different expectations. I know the cover seems to me to be a bit over the top, including the damsel-in-distress style I’m used to seeing in the standard regency historicals I used to read, but can’t quite say it displayed the depth of character this story tried to portray. Don’t get me wrong. Its beautiful and all, but just not how I like to imagine these two characters after I began reading about them.
So to start off, Jack Turner was a jaded character that I could quite relate to, liking him and his sardonic wit, as well as the relationship he has with his seamstress sister, whom shares the building they both ‘work’ in. And her business provides a safe and believable front for his business, that we find out, ends up mostly being about helping ladies in society get ‘rid’ of their problems. Examples including: cheating or abusive husbands, servants that are stealing from households, and a few other things that might trouble a gentile lady of the times. I found I very much respected what Jack was trying to do, even if some of his ways of doing so were a bit on the shady side of the law.
Now Mr. Oliver Rivington is introduced to us as a titled, arrogant a*hole, who wears his importance like the fine cut clothing he is so blessed to be able to wear. It takes us as readers a little longer to get under his stuffy exterior and find out he’s not all that different in the way he feels towards protecting those he cares for, including his own sister. He just so happens to think that this scoundrel, Jack, is a thief and takes advantage of women by fleecing their bank accounts.
The premise of the story is build on the old opposites attract, enemies-to-lovers trope, but is saved by the honor with which Jack attempts from his lowly beginnings to fight the good fight. I admired and liked his character much more than Oliver, but did admit to being able to get lost in the adventure for a bit. It wasn’t as detailed in its historical accuracy as the book that I’d read last week, but there did not seem to be any glaring affronts to the times.
The ending took the author a little bit to convince me there could be any realistic HEA or HFN during this time period with the protagonists’ living arrangements, but I could eventually imagine two men ending up in the situation that concluded.
If you are a fan of regency period historicals, I think you would enjoy this story, as it very much seemed to fit into the model of a standard historical, including its cover art. And it was fairly successful in alluding the reader to suspend believe that ladies of means, as well as household servants might have to go to these extremes to take care of themselves. Very interesting premise.
Cat writes steamy, upbeat historical romances. They usually take place in the Regency, generally have at least one LGBTQ+ main character, and always have happy endings.
Before writing, Cat was a lawyer and a teacher. She enjoys crossword puzzles, geeking out over birds, gardening badly, and–of course–reading. In high school, her parents went away for a week, and instead of throwing raucous parties, Cat read Middlemarch. Even worse, Cat remembers little of a trip through Europe because she was busy reading Mansfield Park. Her proudest moment was when she realized her kids were shaping up to be hopeless bookworms too. Currently, her favorite genres are romance, mystery and fantasy.
Cat lives with her husband, three kids, and dog in an improbably small house. After growing up in the northeast, she now lives in a part of the south where every body of water seems to contain alligators or sharks, and every restaurant serves biscuits and gravy. She likes the biscuits, but not so much the alligators.