The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen

The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels & Other Gentlemen

Large Print - 2017 | Large print edition
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Really, it's too much to expect any normal man to behave like a staid accountant in order to inherit the fortune he deserves to support the lifestyle of an earl. So when Derek Saunders's favorite elderly aunt and her ill-conceived--and possibly fraudulent--Lady Travelers Society loses one of their members, what's a man to do but step up to the challenge? Now he's escorting the world's most maddening woman to the world's most romantic city to find her missing relative. While India Prendergast only suspects his organization defrauds gullible travelers, she's certain a man with as scandalous a reputation as Derek Saunders cannot be trusted any farther than the distance around his very broad shoulders. As she struggles not to be distracted by his wicked smile and the allure of Paris, instead of finding a lost lady traveler, India just may lose her head, her luggage and her heart.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : 2017. Thorndike Press,
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9781410499899
Branch Call Number: LT ALEX

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FindingJane Jul 16, 2017

India Prendergast is a sane, logical, sensible, rational and intelligent woman. She’s my kind of heroine. Unfortunately, she’s not the kind of female lead that appeals to positive, modern-day romantics, at least not judging by this novel. She’s frequently wrong, even though she’s certain she’s always right. She’s seen as cold, opinionated, stuffy, rigid and unbending. In a more contemporary age, she’d be labelled as frigid and uptight.

In short, she needs a vacation! To Paris, no less! (Again, in a more contemporary age, some boorish clod would tell her that she needs to get laid.) All this stems from tracking down her missing cousin Heloise and, by association, investigating the possibly fraudulent Lady Travelers Society. This society is run by three shrewd and scheming old widows, who prove to be far more intelligent than India herself.

The romance between her and her male lead, Derek Saunders, takes a while to get cooking, mainly because each initially finds the other difficult, stubborn and infuriating. So that will lead to true love, won’t it? Such character traits always are about UST, never that people simply don’t get along with each other.

These clichés aside, we are left with the story. It was surprisingly appealing, set as it is in the City of Lights near the end of the 19th century. Paris is displayed in all its splendor as a place of fine art, industry, invention, , model housing, splendid promenades, grand hotels (27 of them!), haute cuisine and haute couture.

Because her luggage has gone astray, India is forced to shed her staid clothing and her staid outlook. She blossoms like a flower as she learns to dance, appreciate varied food and fall in love. The dialogue and secondary characters are as much about Paris as they are about India and Derek.

My annoyance with India’s wrong-footed attitudes and Derek’s constant deceptions faded somewhat. India isn’t entirely a ditz disguised as a sour old maid and Derek isn’t the roué he appears to be. They actually find common interests and learn to appreciate each other’s idiosyncrasies.

But it is the skullduggery of men that brings these two closer together rather than the fraud of the old women. While the novel hints that it takes women to see that serious matters are resolved, it is the men who uncover Heloise’s whereabouts and trap India and Derek in Paris together.

There is another story included in this book and it deals with stopping an impending wedding between two people who’re all wrong for each other. It has the three widows from the main story in an earlier timeline. Here, their scheming is given center stage instead of being peripheral to the romance as was shown between India and Derek.

But once again, it takes a man to abort the wedding, making me wonder about the inclusion of the ladies. We are left with women who scheme but with men who actually manage to achieve the necessary goals. It’s an unsatisfactory message that drives home the idea that women simply can’t get things done unless men get involved. I expect better from my romances, even ones set in previous centuries.

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