Synopsis (from Goodreads):
HE THOUGHT HE’D SEEN IT ALL . . .
The rogue’s life has been good to William Somerhall: he has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom. Then he moves in with his mother. It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion. Now home to keep his mother from ruin, William intends to learn what’s afoot by keeping his friends close-and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still.
. . . UNTIL HE MEETS HER
He’s tall, dark, and damnably intelligent-unfortunately for Jenna. She and the duchess are in the “redistribution business,” taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it’s going great – until he shows up. But even as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .
Oups, I did it again, I read a his-rom oh baby, baby… ;p
Still it is a splendid occasion to review a bit differently – by dismantling the official synopsis bit by bit. I’ve always wanted to try that and somehow never got a good opportunity until this novel. Still before I focus on any pros and cons I must say that, like the previous Bowen book reviewed by me not so long ago (see the link below), this is not a historical novel. It’s only ‘historically-flavoured’. Even though the author clearly knows a lot about the Regency era in England her characters talk and behave as if they lived in contemporary times. If you look for a solid his-fic romance well, keep looking; this position will only make you laugh. Or shout with anger, depending on your tolerance.
Ok, the proper dismantling is coming your way.
“The rogue’s life has been good to William Somerhall: he has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom.”
Weeeell…I suppose there is too much assumption in such a statement. William simply inherited the title and money and everybody knows such things hardly equal happiness. Whether he himself considered his life really good or bad – hard to tell. And he didn’t sound especially roguish tbh.
Then he moves in with his mother.
Of course – every rogue dreams of moving in with his mom, mainly to atone for too many good things in their lives. ;p Still I was puzzled why he didn’t actually invite the lady to live with him – after all his house was bigger. It was one of many plot inconsistencies which I found not exactly well-thought-out.
It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion.
Once again, the author assumes wrongly there were few eccentric aristocrats around and let me tell you the Duchess of Worth’s efforts at eccentricity I personally found rather pathetic. Chickens? A boa constrictor? Phew! And I’ve never heard that your paid companion shouldn’t be too bright or too beautiful – after all it depends on the requirements of the employer, right?
William intends to learn what’s afoot by keeping his friends close-and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still.
Hmmm…the blurb lacks one important piece of info – William had met Jenna Hughes at a ball and he had fallen in insta-love with her. Then she disappeared Cinderella-like, only to resurface as his mother’s companion. Small wonder he wanted to keep her closer.
He’s tall, dark, and damnably intelligent-unfortunately for Jenna.
Aren’t they all? *yawn* Tall, dark – more or less ok, but intelligent? Oh, wait, he is a duke. Intelligence is just one part of the whole package *snickers*.
She and the duchess are in the “redistribution business,” taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it’s going great – until he shows up.
Yeah, our Cinderella and the eccentric duchess have such a tender social conscience that they are playing at Robin Hood. Still such a premise rings very hollow in my ears, for more than one reason. Well, I did mention this book is as far from history as Egypt souvenirs are from real antique treasures from the times of the pharaohs but let me repeat it again. VERY. UNLIKELY. COMPLETELY. WRONG.
…as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .
Here comes the crux of my review. Neither Jenna nor William are rogues and the title seems a complete misunderstanding to me. I think it most probably was chosen to add a bit of scandalous thrill to the whole story. Let me remind here that a ‘rogue’ means a dishonest or unprincipled man. William’s principles are as stiff as your average stays of a corset and he does his best to be as honest as possible. Jenna cheats others out of their money but she, contrary to your average con artist, hand-picks her marks very carefully – she is interested only in those who had been dishonest themselves and hurt innocent families of different merchants. She strives to deliver a kind of social justice in times when justice was unavailable to many people, especially to those positioned lower on the social ladder. I think I don’t have to mention the fact that such a practice, even if backed by the Dowager Duchess herself, sounded simply suicidal and rather improbable. Well, it is such a book.
A failed his-fic romance but with an interesting heroine who, nevertheless, seemed to me a bit off. I won’t comment on William Duke of Worth because there is simply nothing that makes him stick out from the crowd of similar his-rom characters. All of them are handsome, muscled (huh? really? your average aristo was never muscled) and incredible in bed (another inconsistency but whatever rocks your romantic socks, dear ladies). Instantly forgettable candyfloss of a book – watch your literary waistline! The lower stratas of meh.
Other books by Kelly Bowen reviewed on this blog:
I’ve Got My Duke To Keep Me Warm (The Lords of Worth 01)