Book Review: A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

Book Review Evie Dunmore A Rogue of One's Own

Title: A Rogue of One’s Own
Author: Evie Dunmore
Release Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher:
Penguin Random House
Genre:
Regency Romance
Pages: 448
Buy: Indigo, Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Rating: Bookclub it!
Disclaimer: Spoilers

summary book review

Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.

Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smoldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.

As Lucie tries to out-maneuver Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war… (Penguin Random House Canada)

Thoughts book review

Before I really jump into it I have to say how much I looked forward to this book. So much so that I made note of it in my calendar and got myself to a bookstore the day it came out. I so enjoyed the first book in this series, Bringing Down the Duke, and had high hopes for the second installment. 

Well, I devoured it within twenty-four hours. 

If you are a historical fiction lover who happens to have an unhealthy obsession with regency romance novels (like me), you should make a point of picking this series up. I have been reading regency romance (or, as I like to refer to them, historical romance) since I was twelve. My collection within this genre outweighs all my other books. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it makes up most of my home library. 

With that in mind, I like to think of myself as an expert on the subject. 

You’re welcome. I read a lot of cheesy crap in order to be here to tell you that A Rogue of One’s Own is not, in fact, cheesy crap. 

First of all, it’s smart. Like wickedly smart. And I don’t just mean the writing style and the obvious extensive research that went into creating an accurate depiction of the world these fictitious characters would have lived in. What I mean is, the characters are smart. If there is one thing I hate most about romance novels, it’s stupid female protagonists. 

To be fair, I was skeptical when I first came across this series. It is called A League of Extraordinary Women. Thank the book gods, the book followed through with such a serious claim. 

Here we have Lucy (Lady Lucinda) who makes it her personal mission to fight for the rights of women. She is unapologetically devoted and aims to make a difference for womankind. 

*cue the Sister Suffragette song from Mary Poppins

Honestly, applause all around! Nevertheless, it does keep her from living her life. That is until a sexy rouge enters the picture. Hello Tristan. Oh, what’s that? You have a brain, too?! *swoons* 

The best thing about the pairings in these series is that everyone is evenly matched. But, I’m not here to talk about the series. So, let’s get to these two lovebirds. 

Lucy and Tristan work as a great yin and yang, so to speak. Everyone knows Lucy is smart and a bit of, well, a pain in the ass. She is dedicated to her beliefs and fights hard to make changes. However, it makes her come across as cold and disinterested in close personal relationships. Meanwhile, Tristan plays the rogue so well that people don’t see past his handsome face. Yet, here we have a dude who’s an undercover poet. 

Guys, he has a published collection called, “A Pocketful of Poems”. Shut the front door. 

Of course, Dunmore takes it up a notch. This man doesn’t just write poetry. As all great and aspiring writers alike know, to write is to read. He quotes poetry in his head all the time. It’s his way of making sense of the world around him. Now, if he was walking around quoting poetry out loud, the cheese factor of this novel would have spiked considerably. Thankfully, he keeps it to himself, which makes it sweet. 

So, we have someone who comes off as cold and rigid crossing paths with someone who comes off as too hot to handle. What a perfect recipe for balance. I think this is such an important component to love story chemistry for me as it helps make it more believable. 

Another thing that helps me, the reader, believe in their love story, is that they have known one another since they were children. No matter what kind of romance novel I am reading – contemporary, fantasy, regency, and so on – using this trope strengthens the bond between characters. I mean, if you are someone who believes in love at first sight, that’s cool. I just happen to be a cold-hearted cynic. I hate reading stories of people just falling in love after knowing one another for a hot minute. 

Ok, so we have intelligence, creativity, and history. Perfection. 

Well, almost. 

My only complaint — now, now, hear me out! There is an unfortunate lack of steamy love scenes (or just one really good one).

Before you call me a horn dog, let me just say this. Would you enjoy a mystery novel as much without a murder? Nah, you probably wouldn’t. Obviously, these two hook up and good for them. Yes, there are scenes that suffice, so my complaint isn’t huge. (Ha!) But Tristan is suppose to be some sort of sex god. THE MAN IS KNOWN FOR WHAT HE DOES IN THE BEDROOM. For heaven’s sake, almost as soon as we meet him we learn he had sex with someone while another man watched. Ok, cool. 

Then we have him making a deal with Lucy – he gets a night with her and she can gain the majority share of the publishing company they both own.

(I probably should have mentioned this. To make a long story short: Lucy buys a publishing house in the hopes of helping her cause and Tristan steps in to stop her. You see, this publisher publishes his poems and her scheme would hurt sales. So, he purchased the other 50 per cent of the company. Suddenly our characters are at an impasse — gasp!)

And….? I’m waiting. Yes, there are sex scenes. But I was left feeling like there was something missing here. Something that worked better in the first book, Bringing Down the Duke. It is possible, though, that my memory is failing me. I did read this first book in January.

Whatever. I only mention this because I want to know what other romance readers think about sex scenes (or lack thereof) within romance books. Do you think we need them? Personally, I think they serve a purpose. I mean, lust is what they are feeling way before love shows up, especially when you attribute physical attraction as the main cause of someone seeking another person out. In this particular instance, Lucy doesn’t know that Tristan has been half in love with her since the first time he saw her. She thinks he is just behaving like the gossips say — a player. So, while she finds herself attracted to him, she fights her deeper feelings that start to surface to protect herself. Even if she can’t seem to put a stop to what was supposed to be a “one time” thing. She even asks Tristan if what they share together is normal. It’s not, Lucy! At least, I don’t think so because I didn’t get all the details. 

At least we get moments like this: 

“I should add what a lovely, pocket-sized thing you are,” came his voice, “with very lickable breasts and an arse that fits my hands perfectly, all of which I find greatly arousing.”

A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore, Chapter 38

Anyway, maybe this is a me thing. Either way, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this was an excellent example of what a historic romance or regency romance should be. It’s obvious Dunmore spent time getting things right. No, I am not a historian, but she never hesitates to describe exactly what is going on. 

I was always rooting for Lucy and Tristan. Though they didn’t have the typical regency ending (marriage), they had an ending that was absolutely perfect for the two of them. They’ll marry when Lucy will be recognized as his equal before the law. 

“Well done, Sister Suffragette!”

Looking for other historical romance novels with well-rounded female protagonists? Be sure to check out Lisa Kleypas, Julia Quinn, and Tessa Dare (to name a few). 

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