So basically I was braced for a hard turn into normalcy/respectability at the end. I was at the very least expecting a papering of further respectability over the heroine (roughly analogous to the beginning, where she's set up as Not Really Like That) and probably for her adopted sort-of-uncle to turn out to be outright evil rather than just a cheerful con artist.
But no! At the point when the book stops, she's still a faro dealer, her family of affable criminals and weirdos are still a bunch of affable criminals and weirdos, and while it's suggested at various points through the book that her aunt would like to stop running an illegal underground casino, there's no indication of this actually happening and in fact every single character in this book's inability to execute successful long-term plans make the odds of it continuing in some vaguely muddled form, through inertia if nothing else, more likely than not.
Also, that bit at the end where she tells him she's going to start a faro table - Max, you THINK she's joking, and she probably is at that point, but if you really piss her off I can absolutely guarantee that you will come home that evening and find that your house is now a casino filled with every ne'er-do-well in town that she personally knows, which is most of them.
It's possible that the author wrote the ending with the idea in mind that 5 minutes after the end of the book Ravenscar is going to buy them all a house in the country and nothing scandalous will happen again ever, but honestly? Based on every single thing that's happened up to this point, the entire rest of his life is going to be ENDLESS scandal and despair and both their aunts giving them horrified looks, paying off her family's never-ending debts, and dealing with the parade of losers, gamblers, and runaway brides she's going to drag through his life. Deb is still exactly as much of an irrepressible free spirit at the end, with Max in her life, as she is at the beginning when she's a faro dealer that no respectable person will speak to. It's great.
Basically, as much as I enjoy a good character-learning-lessons arc, nobody in this book learned a damn thing from ANY of this and it was truly refreshing. The only one of them who really grew as a person was Adrian quietly learning to take responsibility in the background.
Also, the hero's sweet but canny sister outfoxing the guy who's trying to scam her was one of my other favorite things about the ending - especially since it didn't involve turning him into an outright bad guy or taking a sudden left turn into punishing him for essentially being not one of the finer breed of people. Nope, he just got outconned by a better con than himself, who happens to look like a sweet-faced teenage girl.
So yeah, I spent the entire book braced for all the things that didn't happen at the end (Deb settling down and taking her place in respectable society in particular) and then it was absolutely nothing like that, and I loved it.
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