REVIEW: Rogue’s Lady by Julia Justiss
Dear Mrs. Justiss,
I think if readers are looking for a nice, safe Regency that doesn’t rock any boats then “Rogue’s Lady” is a good bet. There’s the rake hero who’s trying to reform in order to land an heiress with money to resurrect his crumbling estate, there’s the “daughter of a misalliance” heroine who’s fiercely proud of her parents who married for love and lived in happy poverty, and an assorted bunch of secondary characters which Regency fans will easily recognize. Fans searching for something that does anything different with the standard plots featuring these characters will need to look elsewhere though.
Will is a rake. Orphaned in his youth, brought up by those who did the bare minimum of their duty to him, he’s been on his own for years. The only relative who has ever cared for him shows up at his door and forces him to agree to squiring her around during the latest Season. Maybe while doing this, Lucille will help him nab a young lady of fortune. Like Lucille, I found it hard to believe that some girl who wanted a title wouldn’t have already married him. Some nabob’s daughter/granddaughter maybe. He’s good looking, not insane, seems to have his own teeth so why would he believe no one would accept him?
And I really can not believe that Will would feel the need to ask Allegra to tutor him on what and what not to say to innocent young women. That he wouldn’t know that most of his early comments to Allegra would be viewed as incorrect things to be said to a young lady of good family. The man would have had to have been raised under a rock not too. I could accept that he’s bored with talking to young misses straight from the schoolroom but not that he doesn’t know how to gently flirt or what not to say.
Of course Allegra’s parents were loving, kind, wonderful, supporting, altogether perfect even if they lived in poverty. Naturally she’s a gifted musician too. And her hoydenish temper and ways could be assumed to be from her Italian father. It’s just as obvious that she’ll never want to fit into the stiff-necked London ton. I have to be honest and state that once we know what we know about her father’s background, the fact that, even when he knew he was dying, he didn’t attempt to set her straight about it makes me think he’s an idiot and poor parent. And why is her mother called Lady Grace? She’s the daughter of a Viscount, correct? Wouldn’t that make her an Honorable Miss?
Allegra’s cousin Lynton is a priggish stuffed shirt. I saw nothing more to him beyond being kind to Allegra because she’s family but of course he won’t understand her or see her true worth or admire her for who she is — the plot won’t allow it. I thought for a bit at the end that he might redeem himself but then, no, he went straight back to prighood.
Sapphira, Dowager Lady Lynton is an evil, beyotch whore. Again there’s nothing more to her at all. Though I do have to admire the lengths to which this self absorbed woman will go to discredit Allegra in the eyes of Society. And Mrs. Randall, Allegra’s put upon chaperon, she’s a nonentity in the story and in person. She’s got no personality or interesting aspects to her character at all and could be a potted plant for all she does for the plot.
I kept waiting to see if this was all really a send up of so many versions of this story I’ve read before. I felt the last seventy pages were extraneous. But I do like that Will is getting a chance to be his own man and work for his estate rather than have all his money problems miraclously solved by change in his or Allegra’s status.
There’s nothing really, terribly wrong with all this but I’ve read it so many times before. It’s not that I don’t like Will and Allegra and hope for their happiness. I do. But there’s nothing new or fresh about them or their road to their HEA. C