by Suzanne Enoch

May 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-145675-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lord Bramwell Lowry Johns is a self-described scoundrel. Life has become a bit dull for him lately and to liven things up a bit, he has taken on the notorious role of the Black Cat and is robbing wealthy Lords who have a close friendship with Bramís father, the Duke. It is all a game to Bram and he has no intention of getting caught. Unfortunately, robbery is even beginning to lose its amusement.

When Bram discovers that his sometimes friend, Kingston Gore, the Marquis of Cosgrove, has gotten engaged to Lady Rosamund Davies, Bram wants to know why. Cosgrove is a reprobate of the worst sort. The kind of man who has lost all links with humankind and its environs a long time ago and revels instead in the hedonistic pleasures of life. Bram has always found him amusing and now wants to understand why such a man is going to marry.

Rosamund cannot believe she is being forced to marry because her brother is in debt of 10,000 pounds to Cosgrove. She is not thrilled with the match to say the least, but knows she must do her duty for her family. But as she gets to know Cosgrove, she is absolutely repulsed. Bram on the other hand becomes enchanted with the stubborn Rose and decides to take on the role of white knight to protect her from Cosgrove. But can it work out when Bram has a disreputable past of his own, little connection with his family, and when Rose does not quite know if she can trust him?

Always a Scoundrel is the last book in Suzanne Enochís The Notorious Gentlemen series. What I liked most of all was Bramís journey from total contemptible scoundrel to rogue with heart. I felt this was more of Bramís book than Roseís. She was set to go along with her familyís wishes, no matter how much she despised Cosgrove. It is only midway through the book that she starts to show more resolve and decide to take matters into her own hands.

Bram is an interesting character because he really is not a nice guy, but set against Cosgrove, he is the far better man. His relationship with his older brother and his father was interesting even as it was reconciled a bit too sentimentally for this reader. Bram is a man ready to step up to the plate of romance, even as part of him recoils from the commitment of marriage. It is one of the most intriguing facets of his character. The Black Cat plot is left dangling for a majority of the book and is only picked up again towards the end, making me question if it should have been included at all.

Always a Scoundrel is a middle of the road story. Bram and Rose have a steamy passion between them, but it is not the draw of the story it should be. I feel Rose was a bit short-changed through characterization, but I really liked seeing Bramís transformation. This is a solid historical effort from a romance author who always puts her characters into fascinating situations.

Reviewed in April 2009 by Sarah.

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