The Last Wicked Scoundrel: A Scoundrels of St. James Novella

Avon Impulse. Jan. 2014. Nap. ebk. ISBN 9780062317155. $1.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Dr. William Graves, featured in Heath's series "The Scoundrels of St. James" (Midnight Pleasures with a Scoundrel) is finally the focus of his own story. After having spent most of his childhood as a thief and mudlark, he was fostered by the aristocratic father of a long-lost heir and fellow thief. William and his friends the Earl and Countess of Claybourne share a secret pertaining to Winifred, the widowed Duchess of Avendale. After her brutal husband had beaten her nearly to death, William and his friends helped her to recover. Three years after her husband's accidental death, Winifred fears she is either going insane or being haunted by her husband's malevolent spirit. William helps her investigate her supposed lapses in memory, and they give in to the feelings they've long held for each other. Past terrors are revisited, and the two find themselves in grave danger.
VERDICT Heath doesn't have much room here to develop her characters but is able to give the reader a bit of William's strong sense of courage, dedication to his profession, and overwhelming feelings of guilt about his past. Winifred learns she is stronger than she ever thought. While readers new to the series will invest little in the secondary characters, those who have read the previous books will be glad to see William get the peace he deserves.
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