February 29, 2016
"That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet" - unless you add an S.
The Knave of Hearts is the fifth offering in the Rhymes with Love series. Lavinia Tempest
the heroine of this book; you may remember her twin sister Louisa from The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane. Our hero is Alaster Rowland who has the unfortunate nickname of "Tuck.”
Authors, if you are listening/reading/whatever. Granted I am not published and you are, but gee willikers puleese check the pharmacy shelves before anointing your characters with nicknames. I had a hard time with the regrettable nickname of Tuck. Sure, it’s missing that last little letter S, but every time his name was mentioned all I could see was a round white product dipped in witch-hazel which is shelved right next to Preparation H. I digress.
Hopefully, you have your thinking cap on because the timeline of this book runs simultaneously with the previous book, and that book was published in 2014. I did not have my cap on, so I had a hard time remembering what was going on with the sister whenever she was mentioned in this book. Even though I have a somewhat faulty memory, and even though I liked this book, I think I prefer The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane to this one. Oh sure, this one had an adorable couple but the story was missing some of the sparkle of the other book. However, all is not lost. There is still some strong writing from the talented pen of Ms. Boyle - enough that everyone should be happy.
I liked the lead-in to this story. The fact that the heroine is sort of narrating her tale is a fun piece of inspiration and a bit misleading, which is also fun. I also enjoyed the banter between Louisa and Lavinia. I liked Tuck (that name!) and Lavinia's time together. I didn't find Tuck to be as knavish as he's supposed to be. Sure, he has a bit of a drinking problem, but after everything is explained away that seems to be his only problem. It is his alcohol consumption which causes a rather amusing dance floor pile-up. This pile-up creates an enormous scandal for an already tainted Lavina. Our poor sot Tuck is oblivious to the wreck his bumbling initiated. When he is awakened the next day to the fiasco he caused, he embarks on a hair-brained plan to restore Lavinia's standing in society. While I found his alcohol stumbling amusing, I did wonder at the end of the story if he had conquered this problem. I enjoyed the antics of almost all of the characters in this book. There were just a couple of things that prevented me from giving this story a higher rating.
I didn't buy into the villain’s motivation. I didn't understand it. I felt as if I was missing something. The villain just didn't work for me. So you see, my little Petunias, it's not just the heroine and hero who make a story work, but also the villain. I was also disappointed in the explanation given for the abandonment of Lavinia and Louisa by their mother. When I finished reading the The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane I was hoping that the loose ends would be tied up. I wanted to have a better understanding into why this woman would leave her children and a husband who adored her. It could be that the scene of Lavinia standing at a window watching her mother leave was drawn so vividly for me I just could not forgive the mother. I’m not sure, in the end there was just not enough of an answer; I was not allowed any kind of a forgivable closure and that was what I was looking for.
Overall, this was an enjoyable book and I do recommend it - just not as much as the one with Louisa as the heroine.
Time/Place: Regency England