Schooling the Viscount by Maggie Robinson is the first book in the Cotswold Confidential series. Captain Lord Henry Challoner is a young viscount who’s left his ambition on the plains of South Africa. Wounded in the First Boer War, he’s come home and wishes he were anywhere else, until his desperate father sends him to Puddling-on-the-Wold to rusticate and recalibrate. How can Henry have any fun without any alcohol, or worse yet, any women? Kept under house arrest under the watchful eye of his draconian housekeeper and earnest local vicar, he’s bored enough to begin speaking to sheep until he literally stumbles across schoolteacher Rachel Everett. Rachel knows she’s not on Henry’s improvement plan, but can’t seem to avoid or repel him no matter what she does to keep him at arm’s length. Could it be that she quite enjoys being in his arms, even if it’s against all the Puddling Rehabilitation Rules? Can Rachel circumvent the town fathers and Henry escape his personal jailers and demons.
Schooling the Viscount is a historical romance that takes a route different than any I have read before, which was a nice change. However, I found the set up to be a little too contrived. Not that I doubt titled families doing this sort of thing to each other, whether out of caring and concern or less honorable reasons nor do I doubt that people (even today) would be willing to make a dollar from this sort of enterprise. It just seemed a little much to me, although some of that was because this as the first book in a new series, and there needed to be some groundwork laid down. I did like Rachel's character for the most part, but hated to see her simpering and whatnot to the town's leaders. I also liked that Henry's troubles were realistic, and that he was just as upset with the way Rachel was treated and so on as I was. I did like the romance portion of the story, although some moments seemed a little off in the grand scheme of things. I also liked Henry's perspective and how he grew as a person, his reactions and thoughts were on point, and occasionally highly entertaining.