Gone with the Rogue

Griffin: St. Martin’s.. (First Comes Love, Bk. 2). May 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781250218780. pap. $7.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Julia Fairbright has been under the thumb of the noxious Duke of Sprogsfield ever since she became his daughter-in-law. Now a widow, Julia is terrified the duke will take her son away unless she obeys his strict rules, including not remarrying. A chance encounter with handsome shipping owner Garrett Stockton, who rescues her from a tree, tempts Julia into passions of which the duke surely wouldn’t approve. When an opportunity to bring down the duke appears, Julia reluctantly enlists Garrett’s help, as they’ve already fallen hard for each other. Their relationship moves surprisingly quickly (making love on the floor just days after meeting), so the suspense lies not in will-they-or-won’t-they but in how Julia will break free of the duke. A side plot involving Julia’s friend wanting to join a convent, while interesting, takes up much of the last third of the book and detracts from the central romance.
VERDICT Though the romance starts promisingly, the characters never quite feel well-rounded enough to make the story emotionally engaging. An optional purchase for most libraries and for fans of traditional Regencies.

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