January 29, 2016

Blog Tour Book Review: The Knave of Hearts by Elizabeth Boyle

at 1/29/2016 12:03:00 AM

Rhymes With Love #5
Elizabeth Boyle
Releasing on January 26, 2016

In the fifth novel of the captivating Rhymes With Love series from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Boyle, a young woman's hopes of a match encounter a wickedly handsome complication . . .

Lavinia Tempest has been eagerly anticipating a spectacular season. But one disastrous pile-up on the Almack's dance floor derails all her plans. Add to that, the very stunning revelations about her mother's scandalous past have become the ton's latest on dits. Lavinia's future has gone from shining bright to blackest night in one misstep.

Alaster "Tuck" Rowland admits he's partly to blame for Lavinia's disastrous debut. But it's not guilt that compels him to restore her reputation. Rather, he's placed a wager that he can make Lavinia into one of the most sought-after ladies in London. Who better than an unrepentant rake to set society astir?

Tuck's motives are hardly noble. But in teaching the lovely Lavinia how to win any man she wants, he suddenly finds himself tangled in the last place he ever imagined: in love.
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For a young lady who had made a study of all things proper, Miss Lavinia Tempest always seemed to find her fair share of mishaps.
The small fire at Foxgrove. The bunting incident of ’08. And the rather infamous trampling at the Midsummer’s Eve ball two years earlier.
Sir Roger still claimed he didn’t miss those toes.
Of course, he was joking. He’d been very fond of those toes.
And worse, every time Lavinia attended a ball, soiree, or even just the weekly meetings of the Society for the Temperance and Improvement of Kempton, someone (usually Mrs. Bagley-Butterton) had to remind one and all of one of her more recent follies.
So when Lavinia entered the hallowed halls of Almack’s, it was with, she vowed, a fresh start.
A clean slate.
And so it seemed she was right. No one pulled their hem out of the way as she drew near for fear of it being trod upon or worse, the lace being completely ripped away. No one whispered behind their fan, or laid wagers as to who or what would be broken by the end of the evening.
She was, for the first time in her life, merely Miss Tempest, the daughter of the respected scholar, Sir Ambrose Tempest.
“It is just as I imagined,” she said in awe as she and her sister Louisa handed over their vouchers. The perfect place to launch herself into the lofty reaches of London Society.
After all, she’d spent most of the afternoon planning out her evening (when she hadn’t been reading her favorite Miss Darby novel).
First and foremost, she was wearing her new gown—a demure and respectable dress done in the latest stare of modest fashion. And while she had longed for brilliant sapphire silk that had been on the shelf at the modiste’s shop, that color would never do for a debut such as this.
After all, the very rule was on her list:
Proper Rule No. 3. An unmarried lady always wears demure and respectable colors. Such as white. Or a pale yellow. Or an apple green, but only if the occasion permits.
So the blue silk could only be eyed from a distance, and she’d consigned herself to the muslin, for propriety was the order of the evening.
That is if she was to gain the highest obligation of every young lady making her debut Season in London:

Proper Rule No. 1. Marriage to a respectable, sensible, well-ordered gentleman is the order of business for every proper lady.

So she had the gown, entrance into the very heart of the Marriage Mart, and now all she had to do was finish the evening without incident.
But this was Lavinia Tempest, and that was easier said than done.
“No dancing,” Louisa whispered to her as their chaperone, Lady Aveley, led them into the Wednesday evening crush. Her sister held out her hand, pinky extended, and Lavinia wrapped her own finger around it and the two sisters bound their promise together.
No dancing.
In Lavinia’s defense, she had made her promise most faithfully with every intention of remaining safely at the side of the dance floor.
She had demurred when Lord Ardmore had asked. Begging off in a charming fashion that she was “too nervous to dance,” this being her first visit to Almack’s.
She’d even refused the very handsome and dashing Baron Rimswell—though she had been sorely tested for it was only a simple reel, but then one glance at Lord Rimswell’s glossy boots and she’d thought better of it and remained firm to her promise.
No dancing.
But apparently no one had told Mr. Alaster Rowland. Now in his favor, Mr. Rowland’s boots hadn’t a fine gloss and he was rather squiffy from an indeterminate amount of brandy, so even if she had stepped on him, he was drunk enough that it would most likely dull the pain.
Like Eloisa James, Elizabeth Boyle was one of the authors whose books I practically inhaled. This is the fifth book in the Rhymes with Love series that E. Boyle has started a number of years ago. I started this series around this time and then college happened, so I lost track of the series. I am glad that I started reading historical fiction again! So in this book, we have Lavinia Tempest, twin sister to the heroine in book 4. The timeline of this book coincides with the timeline from book 4, just from the other twin's POV and what happens in her story. Lavinia is a klutz; to put it nicely. Whenever she is in attendance at a social event, there's a tendency for something to go terribly wrong. How much trouble can one young minx cause? Quite a bit. At the biggest event of the season, Lavinia tries her best to not cause a ruckus, but as best laid plans go…. Unfortunately with the help of one Mr. Alaster Rowland, Lavinia accidentally causes a scandal of epic proportions. With her reputation in tatters and chances of landing a good match out the door, Lavinia has no choice, but to return to the little town of Kempton and live out her days as a spinster. This is where Rowland a.k.a. Tuck, comes to the rescue. He hatches a plan to make Lavinia the most sought after young lady by the end of the season. Quite a feat, but not impossible. While Tuck does his best to help Lavinia, other plots are going on behind the scenes. Was Tuck's offer of assistance made in good faith or was it a mask for something else entirely? As the two work together to get Lavinia back on the marriage mart, they become closer and to me, they make the best couple, but as all love story goes, it takes a while for the players to acknowledge this little fact. All in all I thought it was a great addition to the Rhymes with Love series. I don't think there will be more stories in this series. All of the Kempton single ladies have been married off, to my best recollection, but E. Boyle might write up more stories. :D I certainly hope so.
4.5 stars

ELIZABETH BOYLE has always loved romance and now lives it each and every day by writing adventurous and passionate stories that readers from all around the world have described as “page-turners.” Since her first book was published, she’s seen her romances become New York Times and USA Today bestsellers and win the RWA RITA Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice awards. She resides in Seattle with her family, her garden and always growing collection of yarn. Readers can visit her on the Web at www.elizabethboyle.com.

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