cover image A Rogue of One’s Own

A Rogue of One’s Own

Evie Dunmore. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-984805-70-6

All the elements that made Bringing Down the Duke such a delight are present in Dunmore’s smart, sexy second League of Extraordinary Women romance, but an unwieldy plot puts a slight damper on the fun. After all the reputable newspapers of Victorian England refuse to publish a report on the horrors wrought by the Married Women’s Property Act, firebrand Lady Lucie Tedbury buys shares in a publishing house of her own. Unfortunately, her fellow shareholder reveals himself to be Lord Tristan Ballentine, Lucie’s childhood nemesis, now a war hero, celebrated poet, and notorious rake. Tristan needs the income of the publishing house to free himself from his abusive father’s financial control, so he’s not about to let Lucie sink the business with radical reportage. The war left Tristan hardened, but not so much so that Lucie, his childhood infatuation, doesn’t stir him. Their enemies-to-lovers dynamic is electric and steers the book through a pileup of romance tropes, half-baked mysteries, and underdeveloped secondary characters (notably including Tristan’s Indian manservant and a spurned gay villain). Still, Dunmore’s prose sparkles, the sex scenes sizzle, the heroine stands tall, and historical details and literary allusions (including a cute cameo from Oscar Wilde) add charm. It’s a bumpy ride, but there are moments of brilliance. [em]Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Sept.) [/em]