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.
Review: Elizabeth Boyle is one of my few auto-buy authors. Over the last couple years I’ve gobbled up her stories as soon as they drop in my e-reader. And The Knave of Hearts was no exception. The story had me turning the pages, anticipating what was going to come next.
As this is the fifth book in the series, we’d met Lavinia in the past. In fact, her twin sister’s book was the prior story and Lavinia obviously had a part in that tale. This book runs almost concurrently with The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane and it would help if you’ve read that story already. But, Ms Boyle does enough background recapping to get the reader up to date or, in my case, refreshed my memory.
Lavinia was a hoot. She was so straight-laced with her list of rules on how to properly behave in society in order to match the ideal match. Her mother’s reputation coupled with Lavinia’s two left feet do not bode well for her season. I loved watching her growth through the story, coming to realize that while rules are important, there has to be some give and take. Of course, the fact that she kept finding herself in laugh-worthy situations, well, I spent my reading time going from laughing out loud to wiping away tears.
Enter Tuck. I have to admit, I don’t have a clue where the nickname came from, as his name is Alaster Rowland, and it wasn’t ever explained in the story. It confused the heck out of me and I kept waiting for that explanation. But I digress. Tuck was an interesting and multifaceted character. On the surface, he’s a knave. Dig a little deeper, and you find a deeply loyal man. But he doesn’t generally let people see that man… except Lavinia breaks through.
Together, these two were so fun to watch. The circling around each other. Lavinia not thinking that Tuck is proper enough. Tuck just not wanting to find love and thinking that Lavinia is more a means to an end. They’re both thrown for a loop when sparks fly and watching them struggle and eventually give in was pure fun.
Throw in a crazy variety of secondary characters (Tuck’s mom and great uncle in particular) and I was just enjoying the ride. Ms Boyle’s characterizations, plots and ability to play with my emotions are a reason why she’s on my keeper shelf and The Knave of Hearts is right there among the best of them.