Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Evie Dunmore - A Rogue of One's Own

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-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.
As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre 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…

Comment: After having really loved the first book in this A League of Extraordinary Women series by Evie Dunmore, I obviously had to read the rest and this is book #2, featuring Lucie, a friend of Annabelle, the protagonist of the first story.

In this new book we focus our attentions on Lucie, the daughter of an earl whose childhood was forever imprinted with the notion women have no rights, no independence and husbands or fathers own them without respite. It was because of this she decided to be a suffragist and thankfully to an aunt's will, she has the funds to be on her own, fighting for the Cause.
Her childhood neighbor, Tristan, used to be a second son but now his older brother is dead, he will inherit his father's title at some point and the pressure is on for him to be whom his father deems worthy, something he never had while he was a child and why he was sent into military career. Although Tristan has the reputation of a dissolute, he only has one goal: to take his mother back to India, where she can be safe from his father's clutches.
These two have never seen eye to eye and now both have shares in the same printing house, although for different goals. Will they be able to put that aside so their business is successful?

This book, like the previous one, has many ingredients I tend to enjoy while reading a novel. The protagonists at odds but secretly curious about the other person, external obstacles to their romance, serious issues that matter to them and a strong moral compass which allows them to suggest ultimatums but in truth, they always seem to make the right choice.

This story follows the central theme of the lack of woman's rights in the 19th century. The main characters might have different goals in their lives when this book begins, but at the back of everything is how mistreated women were and how laws were slow to be presented and accepted so that women might have some protection if a relationship went badly. This is even more poignant when we all know now so many of the laws already in place took so long to happen and many of the women who fought for it never saw it become a reality.

I suppose this is why I like Lucie's dedication to what she calls the Cause. We spend our whole lives, sometimes, not really having something to dedicate ourselves to and to think we are free to make choices simply because someone once didn't have the same possibility... of course, for romance purposes, the fact Lucie acts so intransigent is seen as something slightly negative and I liked how the author researched factual examples of women who were suffragists and had a personal life, after all we all have to live with others and to cultivate family and Causes can be done.

So, Lucie is obstinate and we soon learn why she became this fierce woman but an interesting perspective was, obviously, how she was also worthy of love and empathy and I was quite glad she found in Tristan someone to confide in and whom saw why she had this need to do something.
Tristan, for me, was the most complex of the two because we see he was a timid and sweet boy and his family life forced him to be stronger and more cynical. Still, he is a hero in many shapes and while one could fault him some decisions, he was a good person caught in a bad situation and I can see why he thought he had no other way to secure something he felt was important.

Their relationship was like cat and mouse but it was clear they were already interested in one another before they started spending more together for several reasons. I think the author did it well, in portraying their attraction but also their admiration as time went by, for who they were and for the positive aspects each one saw in the other, mainly the fact they could be a team at many levels and not just as a romantic couple.

The external obstacles were a bit too convenient and placed in a way we know something bad will eventually happen and that is the peak of the problem. There are two types of antagonists here, the obvious one such as Tristan's father, and others who act due to superficial reasons but still cause quite an effect. It was because of this that the best scene in the book happens (best for me, of course) but that doesn't mean instant HEA altogether. I liked the author planned things and that the end was more or less suitable. I say this because my more romantic side wouldn't have minded something even sweeter.

I had a great time reading this and will certainly keep up with the series.
Grade: 8/10

No comments:

Post a Comment