The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes with Love #4)
By: Elizabeth Boyle
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
She has no desire for love…
As she arrives in Mayfair, Louisa Tempest is horrified when her incorrigible cat bolts from the carriage and dashes into a neighbor’s house, where she comes face-to-face with the reclusive Viscount Wakefield. But even more dismaying than his foul temper is the disarray in which she finds his home. Convinced his demeanor would improve if his household were in order, Louisa resolves to put everything to rights.
…until she meets the viscount who lives down the lane.
Much to his chagrin, Wakefield finds it impossible to keep the meddling Louisa out of his home, invading his daily life with her “improvements,” and his nights with the tempting desires she sparks inside him. Wounded in the war, he’s scorned society ever since his return . . . until Louisa opens the door to his heart and convinces him to give love a second chance.
Okay, I know this is a staple for this genre, but this particular book cover makes me cringe for some reason and at the same time thankful that we have eReaders :3 Anyway, the premise of this book was what caught my attention, as well as reviews that said this book was a pretty light and fun read. I could always use more light and fun reads on my bookshelves 😛
This book was as delightful as reviewers mentioned it was. No matter where Louisa goes, no matter how good her intentions are, mayhem and chaos just follows her. She reminds me of a minion in that sense, lol. She doesn’t want to be in London for a plethora of reasons, but when she sees disorder or something that needs fixing, she really throws herself into the task, society rules bedamned. It makes for much of the humour for a good chunk of the novel as she somehow ends up tied to Wakefield’s household and sets about repairing the disarray that he’s neglected. The scene-stealer of course is her one-eyed feral cat, Hannibal, who pretty much instigates Louisa’s entry into Wakefield’s life and, err, continues to crop up unannounced, doing his own thing 😉
But this book is also a lot more serious than it appears, and surprisingly a lot more deeper/complex than I imagined it would be. The hero of this novel, Wakefield, suffers from some serious war guilt, for surviving the war and for his friend dying; every time something good happens to him–or is about to happen to him, anyhow–he would suddenly back off out of fear, guilt, etc. This especially serves as a roadblock between Louisa and he but it’s an understandable sentiment, and the way the author approaches his feelings on the matter makes him a rather different character from other characters I’ve encountered in this genre suffering from similar conditions. I was also surprised to read another subplot develop concerning missed opportunities and unrequited (if you can call it that?) love and the way that life just plays a hand in such situations. Sorry, that statement’s really vague, but I don’t want to spoil that subplot as it was a pleasant surprise, not to mention because of the following note.
Having said that, this book was almost great if not for the way that it ended. For the most part the pacing has been great, it felt longer than what my eReader was saying it was haha, but towards the end it started feeling a little rushed. The last two chapters I think could’ve been expanded to an extra chapter or two. There were also a number of loose ends: some of them made sense as they will carry on to the next book with Lavinia (namely Lavinia and what she was up to, as well as that surprising subplot that I mentioned), but others I felt should’ve been addressed in this book. Tuck and Wakefield’s ongoing moot issue for example should’ve been fleshed out more; their last conversation together didn’t feel like that definitive, hammering out the problem, but more like a bridge over to said important conversation needed. Louisa’s issues concerning marriage–namely her mother and her fears stemming from that–should’ve been verbalised a little more at the end (however cute Wakefield’s proposal was).
Despite of the seeminly rushed ending, I enjoyed reading The Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane. It was funny, all of the characters were wonderful, and the development of the romance was nice. Some elements could’ve been fleshed out further, and a few more scenes here and there connecting the themes and the character relationships could’ve been used, but overall I liked it. I’m looking forward to the next book, whenever that will be released (I’m reading conflicting dates right now between the end of this year and early next year), but in the meantime I have the first three books to check out at some point 🙂