A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior is the second book in Suzanne Enoch's "Adventurer's Club" series. I did not read the first book, but this one has made me want to seek it out.
Colonel Bartholomew James has returned from India a tortured man - both literally and figuratively. He suffers physically from a leg that has refused to heal and emotionally as the only survivor of a "Thuggee" attack. Back in London, Tolly is, understandably, having a hard time adjusting to life, rebuffing his family and society in an effort to be alone to wallow in his guilt. His family - and Theresa Weller - are made of sterner stuff.
Theresa - Tess - is a model of proper behavior and has even written an anonymous book on the subject: "A Lady's Guide to Proper Behavior." A bit of very improper behavior when she was a young girl had dire consequences, and she has striven to not set a foot wrong ever since. However, life has turned out to be very dull and she finds herself breaking all her own rules in an effort to get to know the fascinating Tolly better.
When the East India Company attempts to damage Tolly's reputation by denying the existence of the Thuggee, it is another spur to action for Tolly, for how can he marry Tess if he is disgraced?
Enoch writes tortured heroes very well - one of my favorite books of hers is England's Perfect Hero in which she gave us a doozy of a tortured hero. While Tolly isn't as far gone as that hero was, he is definitely in need of both sympathy and a slap upside the head - both of which Tess is ready to supply.
While there was a time or two where I felt the political machinations of the East India Company intruded a bit too much into the love story, overall I enjoyed A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior. Tess and Tolly were lovely characters and their families were very well drawn and integral to the relationship. I was also intrigued by the other denizens of The Adventurers Club and look forward to getting to know them better in future books.
Reviewed by Cheryl Sneed, May 26, 2010