I don’t read a whole lot of historical romance any more. It’s just fallen out of my reading patterns for the most part. However, there is one historical romance author I continually keep up with and that is Elizabeth Hoyt. She is the author of one of my absolute favorite books, Scandalous Desires, and on the whole, I tend to really, really love her books. Dearest Rogue is her latest book (it releases this coming Tuesday, May 26!) and it is JUST PLAIN WONDERFUL. I have been waiting on tenterhooks for Phoebe’s love story and it is the sumptuous and charming kind of story I expect from Elizabeth Hoyt.
Phoebe is blind. I’m just going to put it out there. She has been losing her sight through the course of the Maiden Lane series and unfortunately, things are no better in her own story. But Phoebe is not one to be pitied (though honestly I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been to be blind during this time period. She is an aristocrat and has a cushion fortunately but still, tough times all around). Unfortunately, her brother, Maximus, is a Duke and he wants to protect his sister above all cost, even if it means constraining her life to only the smallest of pleasures and happiness. Heck, she even has a guard with her at all times. James Trevillion pretty much pines for Phoebe through much of this book. He has been for awhile in fact, if you’ve kept up with the series. He wants to protect her but he does not think the way Maximus keeps Phoebe in cotton wool is the way to go about it. Unfortunately, life is about to get more dangerous for Phoebe when there are several kidnapping attempts on her life. Maximus rightly goes even more strict while James become more protective. Phoebe is not dumb. She knows she has to be cautious but she also does not want to simply have no life whatsoever. I very much felt bad for her situation.
Phoebe is not necessarily head over heels in love with James at the beginning of the book. But when he leaves her life, she notices quickly what an immense void is left behind. They have developed a friendly and snappish rapport with each other and it’s hard to not have him in her life, especially when Maximus is so domineering. Ah but when they finally reunite, it’s like bells tolled in my heart (yes, I am going that purple prose route).
Truly they are just a wonderful pair together. She trusts him implicitly and he looks out for her no matter what, even when he may not always want to give her the freedom she craves. Nonetheless, he doesn’t want to limit her life anymore. There is a scene where they are riding horses together and it’s simply so nice because James let her do it. She knew he was keeping watch over her and thus, Phoebe felt free to truly enjoy an activity that had previously been limited because of her sight.
I did think the kidnapping plots somewhat slowed the course of the story, at least initially. Once it set James and Phoebe on the run together, that forced intimacy was wonderful to behold. Sexy times ahoy, friends! I was truly glued to the pages of this story in a way I haven’t been in a long time for a historical romance.
Dearest Rogue does stand alone completely but I will say, I liked that I’ve “known” Phoebe and James awhile. Both have been strong characters throughout the course of the Maiden Lane series and it was very nice to see them finally get their own love story. This is a series well worth reading and fortunately, Hoyt has moved far away from the ghost of St. Giles plot that propelled the earlier books.
Simply put, Dearest Rogue captivated me from start to finish. It is utterly romantic in even the smallest of gestures and words and that is what makes Hoyt such a fabulous storyteller to me. Her love stories exude sensuality even at the most mundane of moments (like riding in a carriage and laying one’s head on the shoulder of the man you love). Lovely!
ARC received from publisher via Edelweiss for review.