Rake’s, rogues, scoundrels. The terms for the heroes who dominate the pages of Regency romances may not change, but the depth of character has. Evie Dunmore presents to us in her newest addition to the Leauge of Extraordinary women series, a heroine who does the saving, a hero who shows his vulnerable side and a love story that will have you swooning for days.
I discovered the series with the first book, Bringing Down the Duke. It was a Book of the Month selection and I devoured it over quarantine. From my Goodreads review:
I am always in awe of authors who create tension in a HEA. The very nature of the genre makes me know that all ends exactly as I expect it to, yet Dunmore had me tearing through pages until the very end.
I love the League of Extraordinary Women series. The heroines are the opposite of the weak romance women I remember from my early years reading historical romance. The heroes are not sexist, misogynistic men. They may be rakes or rogues, but they still respect the women in their life.
A great Victorian era book, a spicy romance and full of women’s suffrage ideas.
I thought it might be hard to follow up her first book with a strong sophomore offering. The world of England during the Suffragette Movement had already been established. We found worthy romantic leads in Annabelle and Montgomery and we got to know the women who fought for rights at a time when men controlled every moment of their lives.
A Rogue of One’s Own almost surpasses the first book. Lucie is firey, stubborn, full of sass and high morals. Not the morals society tells her she should have as the well-bread daughter of the aristocracy, but the morals of a woman who fights for the rights of those the rest of society has discarded.
She meets her match in Tristan Ballentine. A man who has loved her since he first set eyes on her as a kid. His life is not his own after his brother dies in an accident and now he has the duty of family weighing heavily on his shoulders. He must marry, produce an heir and keep up the Ballentine name.
Tristan has a reputation. That of a rake who has no problem that most of London society gossips about the wild oats he sows. When he purchases half of the shares in the printing company Lucie and her band of suffragettes have purchased he makes Lucie a deal she can’t refuse.
One night with him and she can take over the majority shares.
Lucie and Tristan fight their growing feelings. Both assume they know what the other person’s life is like and the expectations of what it will take to keep it that way.
Lucie must confront the idea she may not be suited for the life of spinsterhood like she thought and Tristan deals with the dark family secrets that have kept him running for decades.
The best part of this book is consent. Consent is sexy. I wish more men knew that and more women fought for it. Every step of the way, Lucie was in control and Tristan never assumed anything.
He always asked for her consent.
Not all of the reviews of the book are positive. A lot of readers said it was too much politics for a romance. For me, there would have been no story if it weren’t for the struggle Lucie and her peers faced. Tristan and her love would have had no conflict, no antagonism, no returns on investment. We all know they are perfect for each other, but both of them had to examine what it meant to be in a relationship and what it might cost and decide whether or not their love could withstand the balance.
She gave a little huff of surprise. “I confess I find a fairy-tale ending involving a man difficult to envision, given the circumstances.”
She used to think that she was lucky to have been born now, rather than a century or two ago. “Spirited” girls with ambitions could respectably get by as spinsters these days, or eventually settle down with staid old professors called Bhaer.
Annabelle sighed. “Well, whichever path you choose, doing something in your mind is different from doing it. Reality has unpredictable consequences. You could accidentally cross the Rubicon.”Page 236
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What are your thoughts? What other books would you suggest that have strong female characters and rakes and rogues who aren’t afraid to show their vulnerable side?