Tuesday, May 11, 2010
A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior by Suzanne Enoch (quickie)
A lady should always make polite conversation . . .
Theresa Weller understands the rules of decorum, and is appalled when Colonel Bartholomew James disrupts a perfectly civilized dinner. This rude, insensitive man is the complete opposite of everything a gentleman should be—but with one searing kiss, Tess can think of no one else.
A lady should never lose her temper . . .
Aggravated beyond bearing by a man who speaks his mind, Tess wishes there was a guide to men like Bartholomew. Surely, with such an assortment of handsome, polite suitors to choose from, Tess should not ache for him.
And a lady should never pursue a gentleman.
She invites him on carriage rides and dares him to dance, and almost makes him want to return to Society. Bartholomew knows Tess wants to be seen as a proper miss, but deep down, he knows she is precisely the sort to spark his desire . . . A most improper lady.
Tess and Tolly meet at a dinner thrown by her cousin. Tolly comes off as a total asshole, but there was something compelling between the two, especially after Tess stood up to him, when his entire family was really afraid to rock the boat.
Truly, nobody writes emotionally (and physically) wounded war heroes like Suzanne Enoch. Although Tolly recovers far more easily than does Bit (from England's Perfect Hero), she gives him the same wounded soul. It was wonderful to see him open up, bit by bit, to Tess, and to watch her struggle with her own issues about manners and proper behavior. And to finally let them go.
One of my favorite parts is about Tess realizing that the way she's living isn't working for her. Just the last 2 sentences of this passage begin her transformation: "For several years now she'd been working quite hard at being amusing and pleasant and proper. It all seemed to be wearing a bit thin."
They are both wonderful characters, and I admit that Enoch surprised me by not having Tess' other suitor be in league with the villain. Refreshing. All the secondary characters are well drawn, too, and support the main couple perfectly. And the ending? Loved it. Flat out loved it. So freaking romantic.