London’s Last True Scoundrel by Christina Brooke

In brief: A historical romance between the Earl of Devonport, drunk and rogue, and Hilary deVere, struck to the boundaries of society by the uncouth behaviour of her brother.

The good: Definitely action packed.

The not-so-good: The romance is the main focus – bit of a letdown for history buffs.

Why I chose it: One of the Australian Romance Readers Award finalists.

Year: 2013

Pages: 357

Publisher: Penguin

Setting: Rural England and London

My rating: 7 out of 10

I’ve always thought that this book has a gorgeous cover and it’s been on the ‘I really must get to’ section of my TBR list for some time. So when I saw that it was one of the Australian Romance Readers Award finalists, I knew that now was the time to get to it. (The awards have since been given – you can find the full list of winners here). I realised that I don’t read very much historical romance – historical fiction yes, but not romance so I decided to try some out with London’s Last True Scandal. This book is the first in a series on the Westruthers and has mentions of characters in the previous series (The Ministry of Marriage). Not having read The Ministry of Marriage series, I found the book still explained the characters from this series well. (I also read some reviews of that series, which was helpful).

The book is big on action – it literally never stops. Told mainly from the point of view of Hilary deVere, it follows her as she is dismissed from her job for being one of the infamous deVeres. It’s her brothers that create this title, holding orgies in their filthy house and being generally disreputable. As Hilary is going home, she runs into Jonathon Westruther, the Earl of Davenport. He’s not exactly clean-cut himself, but he’s smitten with Hilary (or Honey, as he calls her). Hilary wants a London season and Jonathon will do anything to keep her in his sights. So after a fallen ceiling, they set out for London. But the journey is not straightforward and when they arrive in London, more drama awaits. Will Hilary and Davenport get together amongst all the kerfuffle?

The highlight of this book for me was the action. There was always something happening to Davenport or Hilary or both. Dramas in every corner, complicated further by society’s restrictions (which Davenport seems determined to break to smithereens, rogue that he is). There was never a time where I was bored. The romance angle is also highlighted very strongly. However, if you’re looking for historical detail, you won’t find it here. The book assumes some common sense knowledge of the Regency society etiquette, but isn’t explained in detail. The focus is on the characters and the plot. This wasn’t a problem for me once I realised I wouldn’t be getting details of the politics of the day, but may disappoint those looking for serious historical fiction. This book is meant to be fun and it definitely fulfils in that respect!

Although I won’t be making historical romance my sole genre, this book was a fun read that kept me smiling over a busy week. It’s easy to catch up with the story if you’re sleep deprived/been away from the book and it’s very easy to get caught up in the exploits of Hilary and Davenport.


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