- Series: Rogues of the Road #1
- Publication Date: 2/1/21
- Number of Pages: Novella
Lord Harry Steele is the fourth son of the Duke of Redditch. Harry is definitely a free-wheeling, young man who follows none of the social norms. He’s flamboyant, outrageous, as well as kicked out of the family home and cut off without a farthing to support himself. In the year since his father kicked him out, he has started his own business. Now, instead of always causing scandals, he is managing scandals for others. There was no way he could have kept his sanity and gone into a job as a soldier, clergyman, etc. as his father wanted. Along with managing scandals, he and his friends, known as Rogues of the Road, have started a coaching enterprise – which works really well as a cover for their more questionable enterprises.
Alice North is an heiress, the daughter of a man who was very big in trade. He could buy any member of the ton several times over and still have pocket change. In other words, he was very rich. Her father’s wealth is the reason she has to seek out someone to manage a potentially scandalous situation in her family. Her younger sister, Patience, is besotted with a man Alice is sure is a fortune hunter. He’s slick, ingratiating, and sly. That is how Alice finds herself employing Lord Harry Steele to extricate them from the clutches of Cuthbert Saint.
Harry and Alice are immediately attracted to each other, but she is … well, she knows his reputation. Harry does the most outrageous things (even by today’s standards) and he leads her into some really low-life places. Yet, she finds them titillating rather than offensive.
It seems that I have a love/hate relationship with books written by this author. I love the idea of the stories and they are well plotted. They are also filled with anachronisms and period incorrectness (is that a word?). Basically, it is a very contemporary story that just happens to have a carriage and a chemise thrown in. In this novella, I couldn’t even begin to guess the correct period in which the story is set. Somewhere a date would have been a welcome addition. The heroine wore dresses that buttoned down the front and the hero wore trousers with a button placket rather than a fall-front. So, definitely later than Regency. However, the hero is starting up a new coaching line – which doesn’t seem to be a very good business decision with train travel on the way not too long after the Regency period. Anyway, things like this may not bother you in the least, but they make me crazy. If this doesn’t bother you, you’ll probably love the story. I might have the periods all muddled up, but I would like to know which period I’m reading.
I found myself remarkably ambivalent about both Harry and Alice. I didn’t really love them, but I didn’t hate them either. I think I just never came to care about them as people or as a couple. My favorite character was actually Patience, and I would have loved more page time with her.
My bottom-line is – I mostly enjoyed the read, but I would not read it again. The other friends in Harry’s Rogues of the Road sound much more interesting than Harry and I’ll look forward to seeing how things go for them.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.