From the author of Married to a Rogue comes a Regency romance celebrating the witty and romantic world that fans of Georgette Heyer have fallen in love with.
Lady May von Hoffen has been plagued all her prim young life by the scandalous behaviour of her widowed mother and the licentious men she consorts with. When she finally finds herself free of her mother and in sole possession of Lark House, she relishes the sense of decorum and freedom it gives her. But the surprise discovery of the injured Frenchman Etienne hiding on her estate—the man who once rescued her from an attack on her virtue and the only man she’s ever been able to trust—turns her newly peaceful solitude into a maelstrom of bewildering thoughts and disturbingly passionate curiosity.
Etienne is a self-avowed rake, and even now is on the run from ruthless adversaries who accuse him of trying to murder a marquess and seduce his wife. Following a stabbing that nearly claimed his life, he finds sanctuary on the land of an unfamiliar estate, hoping to recover and evade capture. But when the lady of the house turns out to be none other than the lovely and innocent Lady May, his feels his heart stir even as his body is gripped by pain and the fear that she will renounce him.
As May nurses Etienne back to health and learns the truth of his supposed crimes, along with a much-needed education on the relations between men and women, a burning desire smoulders between the two opposites, and soon they will be forced to trust each other and their feelings in order to save one life and two hearts.
This is a rerelease of a book that was originally published in the early 2000s. In style I think it straddles the line between old school historical romance (flowery language and one of those feisty heroines who strides around in breeches) and the style more popular today. It’s highly readable and very much focused on the romance side of the historical romance genre.
It’s also a bit anachronistic!
There’s a book that comes before this one. You can easily read this one on its own, but there is clearly a backstory here. I enjoyed the different feel to the story, and even with the anachronistic behaviour there were things about it that felt more “historical” than many books coming out now.
This was a very easy read. I’d abandoned another historical romance the afternoon I started this one, and this was definitely the book with the more engaging writing.
As for those anachronisms? Well, we have a heroine who strides around with her hair out and trousers on, and thinks things like this:
She was followed by no groom, and she gloried in the feel of men’s breeches clinging to her legs and her horse between her knees, the way God surely meant women to ride. What idiot thought that sidesaddle was in any way comfortable? It was another of those conventions intended to keep women bound and gagged by society, without one iota of freedom men enjoyed every day of their lives. They misused that freedom to wield power over their wives and daughters, forcing women into stays and sidesaddles and restricting marriages.
And a much older woman reacts like this:
“As for the…er, the breeches, I have often thought that the reason I never enjoyed riding is the silly way we women are forced to ride.”
And then she reacts to her not dressing her hair or wearing a hat out with:
“And the hair is strangely becoming. It softens you.”
It’s a clear case of imposing twenty-first century values onto Regency era characters. If you’re fine with that, you probably won’t have the issue I had with the book.
I also really hate to see books with this setting that have characters saying “the fall” for autumn!
The romance develops at a steady pace. Again, there’s a backstory here I’m not familiar with, but this is a tame book as far as the physical aspect goes.
I read The Rogue’s Folly very, very fast, so this is definitely an author whose writing can draw you in.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.