Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cat Sebastian - The Soldier's Scoundrel

Jack Turner grew up in the darkness of London's slums, born into a life of crime and willing to do anything to keep his belly full and his siblings safe. Now he uses the tricks and schemes of the underworld to help those who need the kind of assistance only a scoundrel can provide. His distrust of the nobility runs deep and his services do not extend to the gorgeous high-born soldier who personifies everything Jack will never be. 
After the chaos of war, Oliver Rivington craves the safe predictability of a gentleman's life-one that doesn't include sparring with a ne'er-do-well who flouts the law at every turn. But Jack tempts Oliver like no other man has before. Soon his yearning for the unapologetic criminal is only matched by Jack's pleasure in watching his genteel polish crumble every time they're together.  

Comment: This book has been pretty well recommended lately so I also added it to my TBR, since I like both historical romance and the m/m subplot. These books can be difficult to present, whether because it's not easily believable or because it's too close to reality, therefore unfair and difficult to accept looking through contemporary eyes. 

In this story we meet Jack Turner, he considers himself a scoundrel, his past isn't the best one but that's to be expected from someone who was born in a poor family. After years of service, Jack is now on his own, and he sort of caters to those justice can't or won't be able to help without everyone knowing, so Jack is a sort of private investigator and problem solver.
Oliver Rivington has come back from the war int he Peninsula, and he is now a free man but still feels out of sorts. He knows his sister went to Jack before and now he wants to know what was the nature of their business but soon finds himself immersed in Jack's new case.
Two man from different sides of the city, with different upbringings and stations in life, are brought together by chance but will they admit they are feeling something unique for each other as time and their days of proximity advance?

This was a fun and easy story to read. Nothing is too complicated, the investigation Jack is doing has a rather simple and almost anti climatic resolution and there aren't countless characters to worry about. This is mostly a romance story focused on Jack and Oliver ad how, despite their differences, they still feel attracted to one another and fall in love.

The relationship is truly the best thing because both seem to act reluctant in admitting they have feelings for one another but they still look out for one another. I just think we were shown rather too obviously how they were slowly falling in love and thinking of it.The scenes develop normally but usually one of them (mostly Jack) would think or have the inner monologue where the reader would just know they were thinking about the other more. Ok, this is pretty random and to be expected but it was mentioned so often, it started to be too noticeable and kind of seemed redundant.

However, it was really sweet to see them falling in love and step by step conquering each others' issues. Jack thinks he wouldn't ever be good for Oliver due to their social status differences but he is powerless to simply avoid Oliver or w«how he feels about him.
Oliver seemed to be a bit more fascinating to me. His personality is complex and interesting and the fact he limped also made him intriguing. Because Oliver was part of the war, his take on life and slightly different from Jack's and, besides, Oliver is at heart a gentleman who considers his honor something very important. I really liked how both of them counter balanced each other and used their strengths to be together. Of course, after a little bit of a conflict which one barely takes notice of. 

The HEA  of this book is sweet and cute but I admit I expected something a bit more realistic or where the situation was addressed with a more serious tone, I just got the feeling we just would want to see them happy but a bit more detail would have fit this quite well. 
Despite my quibbles about this and that, this story was fluid, the narrative easy and interesting and it had several romantic gestures/scenes to make it a great historical romance story.
I'll definitely try something else by the author too.
Grade: 8/10

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