Sebastian Sherbrook, the new Marquess of Manwaring, has just arrived back in London, to his dismay. His best friend is an utterly changed man, married with one daughter and a second child on the way. The woman he fell in love with has just been widowed, by the death of his much hated uncle. And no sooner than he arrives, he is greeted with a challenge to a duel over the ruination or a young woman.
Lady Katherine Manwaring, recently widowed, is in love with her late husband's much hated nephew. When Sebastian, Sherry to his friends, snubs her the night he learns that she is married to his uncle, Katie steels herself with the belief that Sherry is nothing but a rake. She pines for him the entire time he is gone, but does she really know the man behind the rakish facade? And even if he isn't what he appears to be, would be ever accept her, once he learns her deepest secrets?
Maggie Fenton has again woven comedy, humour, angst, and a "happily ever after" into a pleasant little concoction. The main plot is as predictable as it comes, boy falls in love with girl he can't have. Boy leaves England for X number of years. Boy comes back, still in love with girl. Overly dramaculous climax, wherein boy and girl *finally* talk with each other. Boom, happily ever after. But Ms. Fenton is able to bring some wry humour into the entire situation, which helped me forgive the predictability. The subplot with the dogs, the randy aunt, the overblown Duc, and the completely inept thief was highly amusing, and added just enough over the top hoopla to make me giggle.
I will be picking up "The Duke's Holiday", the first book in the Regency Romp Trilogy, as I enjoyed this one greatly. If you like your romances heavy on the humour, with a nice wallop of sarcasm, you'll enjoy The Virtuous Scoundrel.
In the interest of disclosure, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.