THE KNAVE OF HEARTS – Elizabeth Doyle
Rhymes With Love , Book 5
The Knave of hearts, he stole some tarts, all on a summer's day . . . Oh, wait! It isn't tarts which that knave Tuck Roland steals; it's hearts! Widely known as a rake, gambler and hard drinker, Tuck is more formally known as Mr. Alister Roland, presumptive heir to his uncle, Baron Charleton. He can be charming when he bothers to be.
The twin Misses Tempest, Louisa and Lavinia, have come to London to be presented this Season. Though Louisa has no wish to marry, it is the deepest desire of Lavinia to find a most polite and virtuous husband and have a family and home of her own. To this end, she has made a list of all the requirements he must have. (Lavinia is prone to making lists.) She has perused all the sources of proper lady-like manners, made lists, and rigorously conforms to those standards. There is just one thing wrong, however, Lavinia is also mishap prone.
As the two girls enter Almack's for the first time, she promises her sister and herself not to dance. She seems not to know her left foot from her right, as many of her former dance partners learned to the detriment of their toes. One man refuses to take no for an answer, however; it's our aforementioned knave, Tuck Rowland. Though she swears to him she can't dance, once he takes her to the floor, she has a sea change and finds herself gracefully following his lead. Until he suddenly stops and leaves her standing—but not for long! She collides with other dancers, and before she knows it, she's caused a pileup of guests. Her reputation is in shreds, as the girls and their chaperone find out next day when invitations are rescinded and no more are forthcoming.
The Tempests are now a hot topic in gatherings of the ton , including the men's clubs. At White's, Tuck tries to defend Lavinia, and claims he can make her the most sought after young miss in Town within two weeks. He's goaded into make a big wager by a real scoundrel, the Marquess of Ilford, who makes it his business to amuse the ton with scurrilous stories about the Tempest family, including the young ladies' late mother.
This is just the beginning. To follow are surprises done with humor, suspense and danger, character revelations and lots of emotion. Both Tuck and Lavinia hotly deny to themselves that they have feelings for the other. Can Lavinia keep to her lists? Is Tuck really as disreputable as he seems?
THE KNAVE OF HEARTS is much more than the affairs of the pair above. Louisa has a tale carried over from the last book. And friends and relatives from that and other earlier tales in the series play important parts here. For a series to really dig into, try this nursery rhyme inspired Rhymes With Love . In order, they are ALONG CAME A DUKE; AND THE MISS RAN AWAY WITH THE RAKE; IF WISHES WERE EARLS; THE VISCOUNT WHO LIVED DOWN THE LANE, and this one, THE KNAVE OF HEARTS.