REVIEW: The Curious Rogue by Joan Vincent
Dear Ms Vincent,
I love Georgian historicals and if authors can toss in some daring do as well, I’m a happy woman. I read the first book in this series, “A Bond of Honour” and while I didn’t like two particular things that happened towards the end of the story, I was intrigued by the secondary character of the French Comte de Cavilon and was delighted to see that he had his own book. After all, heroes of nationalities other than England are few and far between.
It was a strange experience for Elizabeth Jeffries to have a rogue jump into her carriage on a rainy night–and kiss her passionately. She was disturbed more by the excitement of his embrace than fear of him. And though he vanished, the memory of him lingered, making it difficult for Elizabeth to marry the foppish Comte de Cavilon–though Cavilon’s tender ways intrigued her.
The book starts off great. It’s a dark and stormy night when our political Scarlet Pimpernel-French hero makes his way back into England via a storm tossed ship after which he must elude the British authorities in a mad dash for freedom which ends with the meeting of our two lovers though it’s far from lover like for most of the encounter. Our heroine comes off as nicely level headed and not given to fainting – something she laments – nor is she overly impressed with our hero’s kiss — something he is annoyed about.
I liked our mincing hero and his desire to have someone marry him for himself rather than his money – though his old friends call him on it. I enjoyed his transformations from man of danger to town fop. I liked that even though he had been wounded in love before, he didn’t hold it against all women and seemed to be hopeful of marriage. Thank you for omitting any oaths that he’d never marry and protestations that all women are grasping beyotches.
Louis’s visits to his old friends the Earl and Countess of Tretain got a little gooey, corny and caught up in demonstrations of felicity and fecundity. I was glad there wasn’t too much of them cluttering up this book.
Elizabeth is sometimes very prickly and hard to like. I’m so glad Louis called her on the fact that she was a nuisance and hindrance to him during the trip to France to rescue of her brother. She does show great deal of honor after the rescue when she tells Louis of the other man’s offer, never knowing it was actually Louis in disguise, and that she turned it down because of her prior pledge to him.
Uncle Henry and Aunt Waddie are not as stereotypical as most secondary characters would be. He was trying to push the match with Louis – in his fop mode – for typical reasons that would have been important then. But he wasn’t making an ass of himself and was willing to let Elizabeth out if that’s what she really wanted.
The rescue of Elizabeth’s brother Morton was slightly anticlimactic – as is probably true in real life – but with the book’s opening tones of the Scarlet Pimpernel I was hoping for a little more swashbuckling.
Readers looking for a more old-fashioned style of Regency might check this out in its reissued form from Belgravia House publishing. I wish I could give it a higher recommendation but I did like it better than “A Bond of Honour.” B-
This can be purchased from Fictionwise.