The Lady Traverlers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander

June 19, 2017

The title was promising - too bad.

Victoria Alexander is one of my auto-buy authors. She can be a pretty quirky writer, with bits of humor jumping to the forefront. In case you haven't caught on, I am a sucker for an author who can write funny stuff. When I picked up this book the title made me think I was going to be in for a pretty humorous ride. Sad to say, twas not to be. In fact I had to really push to read this book.

There is a pretty clever set-up which introduces a new series. A trio of elderly women have established a traveling society. They are encouraging mostly women to travel. To see the dream they've always had. To have adventures, have fun. These three women give lectures about the joys of traveling. They are what we might call travel agents. But you see the problem is that none of these women have actually been anywhere and they most definitely haven't done any kind of booking. They have been living off the money they have pocketed. Now, India Predergast's aunt Heloise has come up missing and India wants answers. Enter our hero, Derek.

Derek's aunt is one of the elderly swindlers and he has just found out about what the three women have been doing. His first priority is to find the missing Heloise and at the same time keep his aunt and her two friends from going to prison. When India barges into a private meeting between Derek and the elderly swindlers, Derek has already decided on what he must do. He must follow the missing Heloise's path. He just hadn't counted on taking India with him. She will have it no other way - India is a tad bit head-strong and she doesn't like Derek. In fact, she jumps to the conclusion that he is the ring-leader. So the story is set up.

India and Derek travel together, bickering, fighting and keeping things from each other. India doesn't trust Derek and Derek does some pretty underhanded things. He does keep things from India - things he really shouldn't. After so many chapters of throwing insults, hiding things and not trusting each other, there seemed to be a number of repeated arguments. I became weary. I love a good annoying-couple-getting-on-each-other's-nerves story, but this one seem to become bogged down. It didn't grow. As much as I tried, I could find no chemistry between India and Derek. There was all this verbal sparring going on, but there was never a sensual awareness between the two.

What saved this book for me was the secondary character, Val. Val is Derek's brother and he is hilarious. He stole every scene he was in with Derek and India. He is so funny and fascinating I am concerned about his story. I think he's has his own story coming, although I could find nothing saying that. Ms. Alexander has creating one of those secondary characters who take over the book but he is also one who might lose that momentum when it comes to his own story. I wish Ms. Alexander had put some of Val's sparkle into her main characters. Val was wonderful! But this wasn't his book.

I didn't understand why Derek was considered a rogue. Maybe that's because he was already in the process of reforming when we are introduced to him. So he was already on his way to being a Dudley Do-right. I actually found him a little boring. You know how some authors can write men who just take over the page? All they have to do is cross their ankles and there is a sensuality which just permeates the air - well Derek doesn't have it. For me he was just a flat character who fought with the female lead and had a brother who stole the show.

Ms. Alexander has numerous stories that I just love! She's also written some great short stories. And those are the ones I remember when I see she has another book coming out. For me, this is one by her which will have to go in the other pile - the ones that didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Time/Place: Road trip England/Europe 1889
Sensuality: Warm

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