This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Signet
Released on April 1, 2014
The Company of Rogues series has always been a source of fun and one of my comfort reads over the years. I just love the romantic adventures the rogues come together to solve and this was no exception.
This book is technically not a Rogue book because David Kerslake is the brother in law to a Rogue and an intriguing character who was key in an earlier Rogue book, The Dragon’s Bride. It is directly associated with the earlier book, but in a pinch it could be read out of order as can the whole series if one doesn’t mind a few hints about the other stories.
The story opens with Lucy Potter, daughter of a wealthy merchant, learning that her widowed father has plans that will alter her life drastically. He plans to remarry to get a son and he plans for Lucy to rejoin her mother’s family in upper class society. Lucy doesn’t hate the woman who is to become her step-mother, but she doesn’t want to be around to see her making changes in the home that was her mother’s so she heads the three miles into the West End and a whole other life to enjoy the pleasures of the season and hopefully avoid the fortune hunters long enough to find love like her parents had.
David Kerslake-Sommerfield, the new Earl of Wyvern, is at wit’s end. He has two different legacies to uphold. He is the smuggling captain for the area and has a responsibility to keep things organized and as safe as possible for those involved even in the face of greater pressure from the exciseman and a few of his own. Then there is his other troubles that came with the extraordinary way he became an earl. The mad earl bankrupted the estate with his crazy schemes and David’s mother stole the rest when she ran off leaving a letter that shocked society making the claim that David was the mad earl’s heir though he is technically no relation. Now David has to marry a fortune to save the estate, but not just any fortune will do because he can’t have a woman observant enough to notice his clandestine activities on moonless nights.
Lucy and David meet without exchanging names in a bookshop with both wistfully thinking of the other, but then they meet again at a ball and the sparks fly. David and Lucy circle each other warily, but then with growing interest. The attraction is there, but David has secrets that might be too much for Lucy to accept.
The plot on this one is gentler and meandering. The romance takes a while to come into the open though the two characters both fell in love pretty quick. It was refreshing because it’s not quite a typical Regency romance of a lord and lady courting in high society. Lucy comes from the merchant class and David is for all purposes, a criminal and they conduct their courtship in secret assignations and yet fully in front of London society. There’s a steady pacing to their romance that grows more passionate as it goes along. Some back and forth mental monologue-ing made it drag a bit, but not to the point where I started skipping pages. I confess that the main conflict wasn’t as sharp as many of the other books in the series though it did have a big scene near the end that got things racing along. It was great to see that the Rogues and their ladies were strongly represented as they came together to help out one of their own from a previous story and were around to help out David in his quest.
The characters were both likeable enough though Lucy could be a steamroller at times. She has decided ideas and thinks like a business woman with strong, independent notions which is so different from the usual women of her day, but it also makes her a perfect fit for a man like David and his dual roles. I did find her way of romancing was lacking on occasion in that she treated David like he was on a leash and at her beck and call when she’d get cranky about him not showing up at the precise place and time she wanted him even though he’d have to be a mindreader to do it with all the parties and stuff going on all the time. It didn’t kill the story for me as it was just part of her maturing process and adjustment to adult society. David didn’t seem to mind and joked about her being his virago so, eh.
David had his story begin in his sister’s book and it’s interesting to see how the changes in his life have affected him. I liked him in the other story as the guy who leads in the shadows and is a bit rough and dangerous even, but it was interesting to see him polished and acting as the nobleman now, but not letting go of the other either. David in love was fun to watch too. He thought he was the predator and the romantic seducer and then had the tables turned on him when Lucy proved to be a whole lot more than he bargained for. They were fun to watch.
In the end, a nice read that wasn’t my favorite in the series, but was an enjoyable historical romance. This is for those who like their romance to fall more toward the sweeter end of things with a touch of spice and are in the mood for a gentle cozy historical romance. Fans of the Company of Rogues will enjoy seeing this follow-up story for sure.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.