- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 610 KB
- Print Length: 388 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (17 Mar. 2009)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B000VYX99O
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #324,385 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Once a Scoundrel (Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet Trilogy) Kindle Edition
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Anthony Morehouse is a typical gentleman of the ton: he spends his time drinking and gambling with his friends, and gadding about from one social do to another. So that when he wins the ownership of a ladies' magazine at the gambling tables, he's not too sure what to do about it. A visit to the editor's home gives him the first of many shocks: 1) the magazine he now owns is not some ladies' fashion concern but actually one that writes on political issues, reforms as well as matters about fashion and housekeeping; and 2) the magazine's editor just happens to be Miss Edwina Parrish, his childhood nemesis, who bested him in everything. Suddenly, the opportunity to pay Edwina for all those years of humiliation has been presented to him on a silver platter, and in the mood of mischief, Anthony wagers Edwina that if she can double the subscription level in two months, he will sign the magazine over to her. And in the meantime, Anthony has every intention of spending as much time as possible with Edwina, who has grown up to become a rather delectable young lady...
Edwina has spent the last few years making the magazine over into something that she's rather proud of, only to discover that the ownership of her magazine has changed hands. Edwina's is afraid that the new owner (Anthony) might want to take a more active role at running the magazine, and discover how she has been using the profits from the magazine to run certain charities. Now Anthony has challenged her to a wager for the ownership of the magazine. Should she accept this mad wager? For while she has every intention of wining the wager, working under Anthony's close scrutiny could mean the discovery of all her secrets. And then there is that rather unnerving manner in which Anthony looks at her that's awakening all sorts of feeling that she'd thought she had buried...
I truly enjoyed the manner in which Candice Hern allowed for Edwina's character to blossom from a serious minded editor and reformer to a young woman ready to let a little bit of fun and frivolity into her life. Also well done was the manner in which the authour fleshed out the secondary characters in the novel -- from Prudence, Edwina's mousy assistant editor who happens to have a severe crush on Edwina's brother (I do hope that there's a novel that features Prudence as heroine at some point), to Flora, a woman with a scandalous past whom Anthony and Edwina hire to be the fashion editor, to Anthony raffish friends -- these characters added colour and depth to this otherwise rather ordinary story. Where the novel failed to raise itself above the expected level was in the predictable storyline -- you could almost predict the exact chapter in which Edwina and Anthony would first indulge in a bit of dalliance, to the chapter in they would fall out because of Edwina's political sympathies. I was also disappointed that Anthony's growth as a character was not as detailed as Edwina's was -- we're told about his growth, but not shown. On the other hand, the novel did unfold smoothly and at an even pace.
On the whole though "Once a Scoundrel" was a pleasant enough read, even if the storyline and the hero & heroine were pretty much run of the mill.
With a well-deserved reputation as a scoundrel, Anthony Morehouse is at it again, in an alcoholic stupor. But at least he's won his wager. That's something. But what on earth has he won? A cabinet, a wardrobe of some kind? Even after reading the note describing the prize, the description makes no sense to his bleary brain, and he's sure he's been taken for a ride. Tony has the surprise of his life when he signs the papers to take over his cabinet. In fact, it's not a cabinet at all, but a women's magazine, entitled The Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet. Actually, Victor Croyden, its former owner, doesn't look the least bit sad to part with it, and why is that?
It just so happens that a woman, a very forward-thinking woman, is the magazine's editor. And she's no stranger to our hero, either. She drove him nearly to distraction as a small girl. Even back then, she had no intention of following traditional feminine roles. Tony still has nightmares about the years when Edwina Parrish dared and wagered him into more than one tight corner. When the inevitable meeting time comes, Tony barely recognizes the stunning creature before him. What's happened to the freckles and the pigtails, the skinny tomboy he knew so well?
Fortunately, Eddie no longer bears any resemblance to that brat. However, to his chagrin, he finds that Edwina is the same old competitive female he's always known, and she still has something of his. A tiny gilt bronze head of the Roman goddess Minerva--Eddie won it in a wager after Tony said he found it on his father's estate. Even now, it galls him to admit it, but he had actually stolen it and was boasting to her about it when she won it away from him, and he paid dearly--with stripes to the seat of his pants--for the privilege.
Now that the tables are turned, what might he be able to win from her?
Minerva, certainly, but dare he try for her heart? Edwina has little use for men these days. The love of her life was executed in the French Revolution, and she spent years behind bars, emerging singularly independent and afraid to love again. Tony has his work cut out for him, but in wager after wager, which she can't seem to resist, he wears down her resistance, and finds himself changing in the bargain, falling hard for her. When a secret exposes Eddie's betrayal, Tony can't forgive or forget. Who is she really, and will he be able to live with the truth?
In fine fashion, Candice Hern brings to life characters who are, at the same time, wild, witty and charming. Their love is both passionate and tender, changing them both forever. If your passion is historical fiction, grab a copy of Once a Scoundrel. You won't be sorry. Rated R.
Anthony's new magazine, The Ladies' Fashionable Cabinet, is the Marie Claire or Vanity Fair of its day, minus the fashion reports. Edwina labors under the illusion that so many of today's feminists still do: you can't be into the latest high-society or haut ton fashion and still write reviews on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Fortunately, Anthony, who's feeling the need to break out of his role of good-for-nothing privileged son, actively tries to help Edwina---not without a few wagers of course---for example, appointing as her new editor Flora Gallagher, the Heidi Fleiss of the day. The notorious courtesan becomes Edwina's ally and best friend as Edwina and Tony head toward the typical Regency ravishment...except Edwina seduces Tony!
The inevitable boy-loses-girl moment is a ridiculous falling-out between Anthony and Edwina just before the hero proves his love and the heroine realizes her pride (and prejudice) got in the way. Nevertheless, this predictable-but-fun romp into publishing and steamy romance contains a little gem of wisdom on the merits of both beauty and brains.
In saying that, I did like the storyline (of H/H being childhood friends and the wagering between the two) and the outspoken character of Edwina in particular was refreshing. This isn't a terrible book in any case just that if you're looking for a meaningful and passionate love affair, I wouldn't look here. It's a nice, simple, fluffy read good enough to pass time with but not necessarily a keeper.
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