Harrington, Anna. Once a Scoundrel. New York: NYLA Publishing, 2016 [Print edition published in 2017 via CreateSpace]. ISBN-13: 9781542548083. Print List Price: $11.99.
I tend to view many reformed rake plotlines with skepticism these days, and the idea of a son being acting out as a reaction to the expectations of his so-called perfect family is something of a cliche among all novels with rakes. But what kept this novella from being like those for me is that it actually focuses on a very real tragedy that compels him to change his ways, as well as the difficulty others might have accepting that he has changed.
And as this is a sequel set a few decades in the future, following the children of characters in the first three books, this story was of course a lot of fun, as we see the older versions of those characters. Knowing more about Stephen’s family definitely helped me to understand why he might have made the decisions that he did. And while I did not have a lot of strong feelings toward Faith, I did feel like it’s incredibly obvious she takes after her parents in wonderful ways.
Speaking of her parents, I’m glad we got to see Edward and Kate play major roles. I definitely pictured Edward being an overprotective father as he aged, and was not disappointed in that regard. And the part where Kate agrees to accompany Faith to visit the sick tenant on Stephen’s estate was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book.