A Proper Scoundrel

Written by Esther Hatch
Review by B. J. Sedlock

During the 19th-century British railroad boom, Everton, Lord Bryant, is propositioned on his doorstep by Diana Barton. She hopes his scandalous reputation will ruin her own, an act she believes will repel the businessmen trying to woo her in order to acquire by marriage the rail line she partially controls. With guilt about his dead wife on his conscience, Everton is reluctant to agree to even a sham courtship. But romantic sparks begin to fly when he obligingly kisses Diana in order to discourage her most persistent suitor.

I enjoy will-they-won’t-they banter and sexual tension in a good romance but felt there was an uneven balance here, too much banter and not enough action. I wanted something to happen beyond the couple accidentally meeting in a bookshop or conversing in the rail office. Hatch is excellent at depicting sexual sparking in a “clean” romance with no bedroom scenes, but I’m afraid there wasn’t enough conflict in the plot to hold my interest.