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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Release Date: November 3, 2015

Daphne Swift has not laid eyes on her devilishly charming husband, Captain Rafferty Cavendish, in quite some time. As a matter of fact, she wants the rogue to annul their brief marriage so that she can marry the reliable and estimable Lord Fitzwell. But the breathtakingly handsome Rafe is not interested in letting Daphne go-at least not without paying his scandalous price...

Rafe prefers to face the dangers of spying alone, but this time he needs his innocent, fiery wife to uncover the information he seeks. He has even agreed to release her from their marriage if she submits completely to his plan. However, Daphne's alluring combination of courage and curves makes her a dangerous distraction, and it is not long before Rafe is trading subterfuge for seduction in order to prove that Daphne is meant to be his and his alone...

I. Loved. This. Book. Like, really, really loved this book. A historical romance with spies is always going to get my attention but a historical romance with spies where the heroine doesn’t sit at home wringing her hands with worry? Absolute gold. But the cherry on top of this triple chocolate brownie cake is that The Irresistible Rogue is loosely based on Philip Barry’s play (and successful movie) The Philadelphia Story! It is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time and if you haven’t seen Cary Grant, James Stewart and the incomparable Katharine Hepburn in action you REALLY need to. Author Valerie Bowman was able to capture the fun wit of The Philadelphia Story and channel it into her own characters all while placing those characters in very different situations as the story went on.

Where to begin? Ah, how about Rafe? The absent-until-the-worse-possible-moment husband. He was a smooth talking scoundrel with an agenda but he clearly didn’t expect the temptation his secret wife Daphne would present. I just love a hero who gets caught in his own machinations. It might be mean spirited but I loved watching Rafe flounder when he realized he was even more attracted to Daphne than before and that keeping things “professional” was going to be more difficult than he thought. Serves him right for turning poor Daphne’s world upside down again. He needed an ego check and he got one!

With Rafe being such a scoundrel he naturally needed a strong willed heroine to drive him insane and make him come to his senses. Daphne was the lucky lady for the job and she did do a fine job of challenging the all too sure captain. Daphne was lively, spunky and too quick witted for any common man and that’s what appealed to me. Even though she denied it, Daphne wasn’t a common woman, she was odd for her time and those are my favorite kinds of heroines, the ones that go their own way.

As a couple it was clear that Rafe and Daphne complimented each other but what I really wanted to know was how were they going to be as partners in a life or death situation? Rafe may have intended Daphne to be little more than a prop to complete his undercover role but Daphne had other ideas. After a bit of head butting these two ended up working together beautifully once Rafe learned to trust that Daphne could keep herself safe. I loved how effortlessly Daphne fit in with Rafe and his fellow spies. She really held her own for being the new kid on the team. Having Daphne take an active part in Rafe’s plan made The Irresistible Rogue so much more exciting!

Final Verdict: With only a handful of scenes that were clearly inspired by The Philadelphia Story, Valerie Bowman’s The Irresistible Rogue paid tribute to a wonderful play and film all while carving out its own identity with spies, lies and passionate embraces.

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