Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Legendary Rogues #1
Publication Date: 8/18/14
I read the third book in this series, Lord of Fortune, and absolutely loved it so I just had to read the earlier books in the series. This one didn’t reach out and grab me by the ears and pull me into it like the third one did, but it was a good story and it had another job to do. It did an excellent job of setting up several recurring series characters and the overarching story of the thirteen treasures and the secret organization, The Order of the Round Table, who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. The H/h in this book are the parents of the main characters in the next two books. I think I liked our MC’s of this book much better in the third book.
I noticed a lot of Americanisms in the book and sometimes felt like I was reading something from 2018 rather than 1794. Another thing I never got a handle on was Mr. Digby. Was he a Mister, a Lord, a peer of the realm? He’s referred to in all of those ways in the book – in Chapter 18, he is even referred to as a baron.
“Mr. Digby stood. “Good morning Mr. Bowen.” Rhys scrutinized the baron thoroughly.”
I never really bought into the chemistry between the two main characters. Yes, the lust was there and I understand that, but given the side most often shown to the reader, I couldn’t see what would make either of them fall in love with the other. That seems true for the heroine much more than the hero. The author tried to give an explanation for her mistrustfulness, but if she was that fragile, she really had a problem! She was just a piece-of-work – she didn’t trust Rhys yet she suddenly decides to get into bed with him. Say what. She actually initiates intimate encounters twice – then gets up, acts very cold and walks out – leaving him to wonder what just happened.
I absolutely LOVED the action/adventure portion of the story. Sort of Indiana Jones(ish) or National Treasure, etc. Discovering the missing books, finding the code and then finding the treasure while trying to outwit the villains (yes, more than one) is an adventure to keep you flipping those pages!
Miss Margery Derrington and her dear aunts are on the verge of being totally impoverished. If they can’t find something of value stored somewhere in their townhome, they’ll have to sell the townhome and try to survive on the proceeds. Margery wants to avoid that at all costs because that is all her aunts have left and they’ve lived there for a great many years. They took Margery in when she was just ten years old and had just lost both of her parents. She loved her aunts beyond measure. If she can’t find something to sell, she’ll either have to enter into a loveless marriage (if she can find a groom who will marry her without a dowry) or she’ll have to become a mistress. Neither option is appealing to her. So, she and her aunts are plowing through all of the trunks in the attic when they finally uncover a very old manuscript. Is it valuable? It is beautifully illustrated and the tales are wonderful. Margery becomes immediately attached to it, its beauty and its history. They will just have to contact a renowned antiquarian to get a valuation on it.
Rhys Bowen lost his father just a couple of years ago and he’s still mourning for him. His father was the only person in the world that Rhys loved and now he is gone. His father, Alexander Bowen, is a renowned antiquarian as is Rhys. However, Rhys wants to break out from his father’s shadow. Rhys is tall, handsome, very intelligent and not so comfortable around ladies and children. Now, he has a young ward named Penn (hero in 3rd book) and he’s feeling his way through how to handle that. Rhys never had any female influence in his life because his mother died within a day of his birth, so he’s not particularly comfortable with hugs. I think he was doing a great job of handling Penn, but they definitely needed a woman’s touch.
A letter asking for a consultation arrived – addressed to his father. Some ladies were asking for a consult about an item they had found. He expected older ladies and his mouth dropped open when the person who arrived was a beautiful young woman and her companion. She shows Rhys the book and he is stunned. It is a medieval manuscript with beautiful illustrations. Rhys recognizes it immediately and can’t wait to verify that it is real. His cousin already owns the companion piece to the book and Rhys knows that there is supposed to be a code contained in the book that should lead to a treasure. Rhys isn’t interested in the treasure for monetary reasons – he’s interested in the historical value. That is – if the tales are even true – and he sees nothing in the book that would indicate that they are true. So, Rhys offers Margery thirty-five pounds which is the full value of the book itself. Margery can’t believe it – only thirty-five pounds. They can’t live on that for any time at all.
Things go back and forth between them and he tells her about the treasure. They end up taking off on a quest to see the other book only to find it has been stolen. Then, they are off on an adventure to find and see the other book, solve the code, and find the treasure. Margery is attacked multiple times by someone wanting to steal her book. Being an independent, adventurous, resourceful lady, she manages to fend off the attacker. During the adventure – she doesn’t trust Rhys because he didn’t tell her about the treasure right away – and then – Rhys doesn’t trust Margery because she really does do a betrayal of him. The adventure is exciting and fun.
As I said above, I just never bought into the chemistry between the two. I can see why Margery would be attracted to Rhys but I can’t see it from his side. She was mad at him for lying to her, but then she betrayed him and took every opportunity throughout the rest of the book to lie to him and deceive him – yet he just keeps coming back for more. Then, there is Digby. Margery didn’t like him from the first, yet when she runs into him she immediately puts her trust in him rather than Rhys and tells him all – including the solution to the code to Anarawd. Say what!
I did absolutely love the King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table aspect to the story (and the series). It is exciting and keeps you interested from beginning to end.
It is definitely a good read and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”