The Scoundrel's New Con Book Cover The Scoundrel's New Con
Lady Goosebury's Tales
Catherine Stein
Victorian, Gothic, Romance, Fiction
Catherine Stein, LLC
May 28, 2020

He’s pulling the con of a lifetime. Unless she exposes the naked truth.

Conman Jack Weaver has his eyes on the prize. The arrogant Earl of Bardrick has offered five thousand pounds to anyone who can prove his castle is haunted. With money like that, Jack can ensure he’ll never end up on the streets or in prison again. And his spirit photography skills are just the trick needed to convince all of the earl’s houseguests to believe in something unseen.

Investigative journalist Tess Cochran believes in one thing: the truth. She’s not going to let phony ghosts and trick photographs swindle anyone, even a snobbish aristocrat like Bardrick. And she’s certainly not going to let herself be swayed by Jack Weaver’s charming smile and mischievous antics.

When Jack and Tess stumble upon one of the castle’s many secrets, they realize something nefarious lurks behind the earl’s competition. To solve the mystery, these rivals forge a reluctant partnership. As they strip down the facts, Jack and Tess begin to find that the deepest truths may be concealed in their hearts.

Available to Amazon.

Review by Aethena Drake

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

This book changed my perspective on historical romance for the better.  Instead of being hapless victims of the times and circumstances, the characters take charge of their challenging situations and pursue a path of self-betterment.  This pursuit inevitably leads to the conflict between the two main characters, Tess and Jack.  I very much enjoyed observing the push and pull between these two characters as they fight a growing attraction to each other despite their seemingly opposing goals.  The author does a wonderful job of keeping an equal power balance between the two characters while still keeping the reader guessing who might actually be the champion of their race for success.

The setting of this story was elegantly constructed.  The overall feel of a historical romance is enhanced by the traditional gothic horror environment of an old castle with ghosts and secret passages on the backdrop of gloomy coastal weather.  There is just enough detail to create a time frame of when the story occurs, but not so much that the reader is overwhelmed with details.  Even the book cover has just the right look to convey the intensity of Tess’s personality and the gothic feel of the story.

Although I would have liked a slightly more intricate mystery, I enjoyed the resolution of this book.  The main characters were well developed, and the secondary characters were intriguing enough that I would like to see some of them in books of their own.  Even the antagonists were interesting enough to get to know a little better.  This story is a stand-alone, but it exists in the fairytale world of the series, Lady Goosebury’s Tales which is shared by several authors.  Perhaps the reader may have a chance to see some of these secondary characters in more additions to this shared world.  I am not hinting at all.  Really.

I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a historical setting, artfully constructed characters, an interesting twist on gothic horror, and an adventuresome ride through a tempestuous enemies-to-lovers romance.