Genre: historical romance
Honor Among Rogues
Alexander Edgware, Lord Xavier, has quite a reputation--for daring, wagering, and wickedness in all its delightful forms. But the wager before him is hardly his preferred sport: Xavier must persuade a proper young lady to attend his famously naughty Christmas house party--and stay the full, ruinous two weeks. Worse, the lady is Louisa Oliver, a doe-eyed bookworm Xavier finds quite charming. Yet to refuse the challenge is impossible--he will simply have to appoint himself Miss Oliver's protector. . .
Mischief Among Misses
Louisa knows her chance for a husband has passed. But she has no desire to retire into spinsterhood without enjoying a few grand adventures first. When Lord Xavier's invitation arrives, Louisa is more intrigued than insulted. And once inside the rogues' gallery, she just may have a thing or two to teach her gentlemen friends about daring. . .
I have read some not so great reviews about this book, so I was a bit hesitant to start reading it. But I did not need to worry, as I totally loved this book. It sure is a bit different from my usual historical romances, and especially concerning the hero. I do love originality in a book, and to be surprised by the author. And Theresa Romain certainly managed to surprise and engage me.
And yes, I know, this is the second book in the series, and I haven’t read the first one! Well, yes, but I won this book on Book Girl of Mur-Y-Castell blog, which is my excuse, and lucky for me, it is perfectly readable as a stand alone novel.
In the first book, Louisa is engaged in a marriage of convenience with James. But James falls in love with her sister instead, and marries Julia. They all blame one of James’ friends to gossip about it, Lord Xavier. So when Lord Xavier invites Louisa to his Christmas house party, along with her aunt Lady Irving as a chaperone, she accepts. Out of curiosity, and because she is ready for something new. She can’t stay living with her sister and James and watch their happiness from the sidelines, they need time alone.
Lord Xavier only invited her, because of a wager with his cousin, the Marquess of Lockwood. It was wrong of him, to gamble on the reputation of a lady, but he could not just refuse him. Lord Xavier has a reputation to always win his wagers, and he will have to do his best to protect her reputation, now that Lord Lockwood is set on ruining it, in order to drive Louise home before the two weeks are gone, so he can win the wager. He is hellbent on beating his cousin. His cousin, who has everything, a title, wealth, looks, while Lockwood’s father almost ruined his part of the family. But of course he can always freeload on Xavier.
I loathed and distrusted Lockwood from the start, someone who only cares for himself and the next bottle. I was intrigued by Lord Xavier, as that first scene set the tone that there was more to him. And Louise totally captured my attention. She is a bluestocking; she loves old books, and knows quite a lot about them. She has just finished cataloguing her brother-in-law’s library, and one of the lures Lord Xavier uses, is his promise of free reign in his own considerable library. Which is currently organized by color. Not on subject, not on alphabet or author, but on color. Which is pretty ofcourse, but impossible to find something quickly.
And yes, she is attracted to Xavier, but when she overhears the two rakes talking about the wager, she will take full advantage of that fact. She now knows why Lockwood is behaving so badly towards her, trying to shock her or intimidate her into leaving the party early.
And Louisa had other reasons for coming to the party, she wanted some new experiences, she wanted to be kissed. And she does manage that.
But I have to admit, Alex, Lord Xavier, stole my heart. He is not the usual arrogant sure of himself hero. He has made himself into a caricature, always witty, always wearing a mask, calling them expressions by name and number. But inside, he wanted to be different, wanted to be liked for himself, and not for his entertainment value. He has a horrible reputation, but most of it is just gossip without truth. And now he is really interested in Louisa. She doesn’t react like other young ladies of the ton, she sees behind his masks to the real man inside, and he is not sure he likes that. Can he change? Does he really care for the opinion of the ton? He struggles with nearsightedness, and starts caring for his estate thanks to Louisa’s influence. So, I have high hopes of him that he will become a real Earl at last.
And the ending really did surprise me as well. I never expected Louisa to come back, and what happened next. It was fun, it was fresh, and it was just good. Neither of them sets out for marriage, they just start caring for each other, first as friends, and slowly and steadily as they learn to know each other, there is more. Of course both are careful, and don’t want to reveal what is in their hearts, but it is there nonetheless.
So, my first Theresa Romain book will certainly not be my last. I already ordered the first book in this series and will certainly keep my eyes open for more. I like Theresa’s writing style, this is not one of those books with sex in the first few chapters, only some seducing, and sex only after the proposal. I liked that. Lord Xavier is known for his wit, but he is not the only character who has a way with words. Then there are the secondary characters. I loathed Lockwood, enjoyed the scenes with Lady Irving, and like Xavier’s cousin Jane. I am looking forward of reading her story someday, she sure is ready for some action!
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian