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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ARC Review: Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt

Don't get me started on how much I LOVE Elizabeth Hoyt. I am just so addicted to her historical romances it's not even funny. The stories, the characters, all of it just floats my boat. I'm so glad that the Maiden Lane series has been such a long running one because I honestly think I'd cry if it ended all of a sudden. Can you believe that the two main characters in her upcoming book are a crippled former captain and a vision impaired aristocratic woman?! She just makes it all work in the best way possible!

Oh wow, I guess I did ramble on a bit there. Lol.

Format: .mobi (provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Release Date: May 26, 2015


Lady Phoebe Batten is pretty, vivacious, and yearning for a social life befitting the sister of a powerful duke. But because she is almost completely blind, her overprotective brother insists that she have an armed bodyguard by her side at all times-the very irritating Captain Trevillion.


Captain James Trevillion is proud, brooding, and cursed with a leg injury from his service in the King's dragoons. Yet he can still shoot and ride like the devil, so watching over the distracting Lady Phoebe should be no problem at all-until she's targeted by kidnappers.


Caught in a deadly web of deceit, James must risk life and limb to save his charge from the lowest of cads-one who would force Lady Phoebe into a loveless marriage. But while they're confined to close quarters for her safekeeping, Phoebe begins to see the tender man beneath the soldier's hard exterior . . . and the possibility of a life-and love-she never imagined possible.

Elizabeth Hoyt never fails to enchant me with her unique characters. Who would have thought that a crippled former dragoon captain and the blind sister of a duke would end up being such a delight? With so many “perfect” characters, these two were a breath of fresh air.

Lady Phoebe Batten was born into a privileged life filled with balls, pretty gowns and an elevated social status befitting the Duke of Wakefield’s sister. Unfortunately, due to her fading eyesight, all but her social status is being denied to her by that same well meaning but overprotective brother. Insisting that Phoebe have an armed guard with her at all times, the duke employs a former dragoon captain to be her personal bodyguard.

After a leg injury leaves him crippled, Captain James Trevillion grudgingly becomes Lady Phoebe’s bodyguard, resigning himself to a dull life of following her around. When she suddenly becomes the target of persistent kidnappers, James falls back on his training, taking Phoebe away from her home to unfamiliar surroundings. Spending so much time in close quarters means that there’s little more to do but get to know one another. James finds that Phoebe is more than a typical society lady and Phoebe learns that James is more than just her brooding, straitlaced bodyguard.

There’s something to be said about reading a romance with a pair of characters who have been around for quite some time. Trevillion and Phoebe have been secondary and minor characters respectively for most of the Maiden Lane series. For me they were almost an afterthought in those books, quickly discarded in favor of the main couples. Now that they were the main couple, it was like a mix between getting to know a long time acquaintance and meeting two new people. James Trevillion was always the “other guy” that the Ghost of St. Giles had to watch out for. The one who threatened to arrest him and reveal his identity to all of London. I never thought he would ever wind up being one of my favorite characters in the series. Heck, it never even dawned on me that he had a first name and it felt weird using it. A couple of times I found myself thinking “Who’s James?” Because I was just so used to him being simply “Trevillion”.

But it was James Trevillion who ended up being the true surprise of Dearest Rogue. Instead of a gruff, stoic and seemingly bitter man, Hoyt gave readers a pensive, loyal, tender man with a surprisingly simple past. There was no need to overcomplicate a plot that already had a complicated romance between two people from vastly different social classes. James wasn’t all that complicated to understand and that was part of his appeal to me as a reader. So far in this series, there have been all manner of complex heroes with dark sides that threaten to overwhelm them. With James there just wasn’t. The best trait of his I believe was his compassion. While society and her family saw Phoebe as an invalid who couldn’t and shouldn’t be allowed to do a thing on her own, James saw a woman who was capable of doing anything she set her mind on. He didn’t patronize her or treat her as if she were fragile. He treated her as he would have a woman with sight. He was honest with her yet he wasn’t cruel. He gave Phoebe the freedom and independence she desperately needed while still keeping her safe.

As prepared and worldly as James was, it was the sight impaired Phoebe who was the most level headed and wisest between them. I loved Phoebe’s courage, the fact that she didn’t shrivel up and die because her sight was gone. She didn’t mope or whine or lash out at people because she couldn’t see. She made the best out of a bad situation and still had the will to live a life of her choosing. From the very first time she appeared in the series, it was clear that this was not a character who would take her impairment lying down. She just needed time to realize that she didn’t have to let people decide what she could and couldn’t handle in life. She had such a joy in her and an appreciation for what she did have and it was infectious, as was her sense of humor. It was hard not to smile whenever Phoebe was happy or being sarcastic. I loved her!

Though Dearest Rogue may not have been a Ghost of St. Giles book, it didn’t lack for adventure or mystery. In fact, I would say that the mystery factor was pretty darn high. The person behind the kidnapping attempts was definitely not who I was thinking. However, the revelation of the villain’s identity left me with more questions than answers, the biggest one being, was that the end of that character’s plans or will there be more consequences? I can’t help feeling like the villain was just too sneaky and petulant to have had just one plan in action. There’s a lot to think about with that villain and I could go on all day about it and still not have a clue. I guess time will tell.

Elizabeth Hoyt stands out as one of the best authors in historical romance with her earthy, passionate characters and thrilling plot lines. She never fails to surprise me in the best ways and I always look forward to her books.

Each book in the Maiden Lane series, including Dearest Rogue can be read as stand alones but I don’t really recommend it because each book is amazing and builds on the world Hoyt started with book 1. If you’re new to Elizabeth Hoyt, do yourself an enormous favor and pick up the whole series.

Final Verdict: Dearest Rogue is officially part of my permanent "re-read" list. It's that good.

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