It’s not an obsession; at least I don’t think it is, but I’ve been staying up indecently late, reading nothing but Suzanne Enoch for two weeks. In fact, my Kindle is currently the home of six of her books, my nightstand another two. And while in the middle of this frenzy, I unexpectedly received an advance copy of Ms. Enoch’s latest installment in the Adventurers’ Club series, to be published this spring. So as it happens, the circles under my eyes are now a little darker – A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior kept me up late another two nights.
When Colonel Bartholomew James returns from service in India, he’s a man plagued by nightmares, enormous guilt and a serious leg injury that leaves him bitter, crippled, and in constant excruciating pain. A damaged man inside and out, Colonel James has neither tolerance nor patience for the frivolous pleasantries and gentlemanly manners of his past. He pointedly avoids all contact with his elder brother, Stephen, Stephen’s new wife Amelia, and his younger sister Violet, choosing instead to find sanctuary in a secretive club that caters to men like him – returning adventurers with “issues.” Eventually, he is forced to reestablish contact with his family and reluctantly agrees to attend just one small family dinner. Surly, unkempt and rude beyond the pale, he shocks everyone present, with one notable exception.
Theresa Weller is Amelia’s cousin and while just as disturbed with the Colonel’s behavior as anyone in the room, she doesn’t let him get away with it. She calls him out over his rudeness, going so far as to escort the infuriating man out of his own family home. Her virulent response to Bartholomew’s antics surprises everyone in the room, including her own brother, specifically because Tess is the paragon of appropriate behavior. She wrote the book on it – literally. Tess is the anonymous author of “A Lady’s Guide to Proper Behavior,” a widely read and highly regarded “how to” guide for society ladies.
Tess is not lacking in male admirers. An heiress and diamond of the first water, she has several serious suitors – all men with perfectly good manners. So why is she so intrigued by an angry, disagreeable man who insists on ignoring society’s rules? And while Tolly has no use for society, polite or otherwise, he’s fast becoming deeply enamored with a very proper society miss. Is this a case of opposites attracting or are Theresa and Bartholomew more alike than they realize?
A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior is a masterful combination of witty dialogue, intriguing circumstances and strong emotions. Ms. Enoch expertly peels back the layers from Tess and Tolly, while carefully and oh so slowly creating the irresistible attraction between them. The combination is the very essence of excellent romance and no one creates it as well as Ms. Enoch, especially in this book. I should also mention that there is a kick ass proposal scene that left even the most hardened romance junkie (me) in blubbery tears.
A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior goes on sale officially May 11, 2010, according to the information on the advanced copy. So, put the date on your calendar and be prepared to forgo a couple of nights sleep all in the name of love. I can’t think of any better reason, can you?