The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden.
It’s no love match…
Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar.
It’s not even the match that was made…
Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter.
But could it be the perfect match?
Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…
Check out my review on GoodReads over here!
*Wipes tears* And another hit from Caroline Linden!!
“And as they drove back to the house in Farley Street, she made a silent promise to her husband that she would never be so faithless or disloyal, as his family had been. Tates were made of sterner stuff. Together, they would build a new family, and find happiness there.”
ABOUT A ROGUE brings vastly different characters together and creates a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings. Linden creates a refreshing take on a historical romance novel, choosing a rogue with a chance at dukedom, and pairing him with a hard-working glazer whose family runs a ceramics business. Their hate/indifference-to-love relationship is a beautiful slow burn, as readers grow to appreciate both characters as they fall in love with each other.
In the prologue, we find that the Duchess of Carlyle is searching for distant cousins to be readied to become the next duke. One of these distant cousins, Max, is a rogue and a gambler. Her incentive for turning him into a sober and decent man is a large allowance, in order to prepare him for the possibility of becoming a duke in the future. Max, however, doesn’t really want to become a duke. He may be a rogue, but he’s looking for honest work and a chance to have his own… everything. His own home, his own passion, and his own family. Through a mutual acquaintance, he strikes up the friendship of Mr. Tate, who owns a ceramics factory, and becomes interested in his company. However, Tate keeps the company within the family. So what can Max do, but ask to marry into it? Good thing Mr. Tate has two eligible daughters…
We begin the story with Bianca despising Max, thinking him a dandy and rogue that only married into her family for money. Max doesn’t care either way, and he’s ready to get started with learning the business. We begin to see a relationship unfold as Bianca cannot ignore Max’s earnestness, and Max remains patient to eventually wear down her anger. I thought these interactions were so pure and sweet, and their slow-burn progression to loving the other was perfect. Max’s respect for Bianca’s knowledge in ceramics and passion for the business was beautifully evident. Her own empathy with his poverty-led path and struggles was also really heartwarming to see. Together, they make a powerful team as they both bring new ideas to the Tate business that pave the way to success.
“Perhaps… just perhaps… this ill-begotten marriage would turn out to be a brilliant match.”
Not only is the premise refreshing, but the angst is kept low as well (as usual with Linden books). The main conflict was not dragged out, and I found the characters’ reactions realistic and empathetic. It was very evident to see the main couples’ love for one another, as well as a colorful cast of supporting characters who supported them every step of the way.
Linden is a queen of historical romance, and ABOUT A ROGUE captures my favorite aspects of her stories. I would recommend this for someone looking for a refreshing historical romance, with a unique premise and spunky characters that just tug on your heartstrings. In fact, this might be one of my favorites of her books, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!
off-page details of abuse (physical, mental), trauma and mental illness
I do have to note: while Linden maintains historical accuracy with the storyline set in London, I don’t think mentioning the culturally appropriating costumes of Vauxhall adds to the plot. Maybe the setting? It goes unchallenged, since historical accuracy and everything, but I didn’t think it was necessary. There is also a side plot that deals with mental illness that definitely could have been explored, and in a more respectable way. It wasn’t a focus of the story, but there was a lost opportunity in that.
Thank you Netgalley and Avon for the review copy!