A determined young lady vows to give one of London's infamous rakes his comeuppance -- but when the rogue turns the tables, who truly learns a lesson in love?
The ton gossips call him "Saint" -- but the Marquis of St. Aubyn has well earned his reputation as London's perfect scoundrel.
Evelyn Ruddick knows she should avoid him at all costs--but the strikingly beautiful lady wants to aid the children of the Heart of Hope Orphanage, and he heads the board of trustees. Evie is determined to teach the charming, arrogant man a lesson in compassion, but it won't be so easy--especially since his touch is setting her desire aflame, making Evie yearn to submit to his passionate instruction...
The idea of joining in her "project" is unthinkable, but this enchantress refuses to give up! So what else is there for a self-respecting rake to do but seduce the lady? Yet soon it is he who is being seduced by Evie's tender heart and fiery blushes. Could the temptation of long, passionate nights in her arms bring about the impossible? Could the disreputable Saint at long last be reformed?
In my review of the first of Enoch's 'lessons in love' (LIL) trilogy I mentioned my trepidation at reading London's Perfect Scoundrel - unfortunately, I think that in this case my concern was justified. Evie is the second of her friends to embark on teaching London's rakes a few manners and appears somewhat briefly in the first in the series, as does St. Aubyn - although so briefly you'd be forgiven for not remembering.
On the surface the plot of Enoch's second outing in the LIL trilogy is fairly normal, archetypal 'good girl' Evie wants to help the poverty stricken orphans of London town and Saint is standing in her way, and Saint having decided that he must have Evie makes her mission as difficult as possible. This is where the normality ends. Evie's motivation comes out of nowhere and seems to only slowly develop as the novel progresses. As it turns out she just wants to do something good, and do it well, because apparently everyone thinks she's stupid, including her friends, which comes out of the blue since we barely see her interacting with her friends and this goes against all of the group dynamic established in the first novel. Saint's incentive is even more of a mystery, he literally just decides he wants Evie, he barely even mentions why. Oh, she's attractive of course, which we learn from very sparse descriptions of Evie throughout the book - but he literally takes one look at her, mentions her “pretty bottom” (a phrase I cannot get out of my head, and not in a good way) and decides he is going to have her, almost without informing the reader of the fact. I'm sure that this is enough of a motivation, too true in some cases, but for the hero of a romance novel I found it sadly lacking. I'm afraid then it gets ludicrous.
I can't really go into details without ruining much of the plot of the novel for anyone who wishes to read it, but let's just say events are ... unrealistic to say the least. Added to that, although the relationship between the two characters progresses as one would expect there is no background or justification, just bam - love (oh, if life were that simple). Enoch's depictions of orphans are so stereotypical it's painful, as is her bad boy, Saint. Saint has little to no depth, attempts to add a little with his jaded attitude apparently originating from his family background are brief and underdeveloped and evoked no sympathy from me.
The only saving grace of this story for me was the plot progression in the shape of Evie's family who are using her to advance her brother's political career. The machinations of Evie's family are historically accurate and all the more chilling for being so. In fact it was refreshing to not have a stand off at the end of the novel with the heroine in helpless peril at the end of a gun.
There were certainly more historical details than previously, especially given the attention paid to gender roles within the period. Again I found the quotes at the beginning of the chapter distracting and unnecessary (this time from Byron, presumably to mirror Saint's dark and brooding nature). Finally, I felt that the story would benefit from a more rounded ending with the addition of an epilogue.
Overall Enoch does provide an entertaining read but some of the plot points and the lack of character development meant, that for me, the book was merely ok (a solid two stars) nothing special and certainly not anything remarkable, but not necessarily bad.