The Rogue’s Proposal. Jennifer Haymore. 2013. 401 pages. Forever. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of Netgalley.]
Emma’s husband is dead and her family is on its last pennies. Luke’s mother is missing and he’s got a chip on his royal shoulder. They’re after the same man, whom they hope has the answers they both need to put their respective lives back on track. The two team up in search of the elusive Roger Morton, but get much more than either of them bargained for.
I don’t typically read historical romance, but I found myself caught up in this story. Within a few pages, I forgot that I was reading a story set centuries ago and instead was wrapped up in a compelling plot. The themes and experiences of Emma and Luke transcend time and are easily relatable. Emma struggles with learning the truth behind her marriage and is forced to come to terms with her sheltered sexual experiences. Luke is tired of being seen as a scoundrel while living in the shadow of his “perfect” brother and is grappling with a revelation about his family that complicates his ability to forge his own identity. Together, they’re challenged to think differently not only about their travel arrangement but their willingness to love freely.
This book was very engaging and surprisingly easy to read. I expected to constantly run to my dictionary to look up anachronistic terms, but these were few and far between. The author’s focus was clearly on creating a cohesive story and she did exactly that. Nonetheless, the imagery provided a clear picture of the time period. I could vividly imagine the grand estates and horse-drawn carriages that Emma and Luke were surrounded by. The dialogue among all the characters felt true to the time period without being pretentious – Luke’s family is from the aristocracy, after all. It was necessarily formal when appropriate, but reverted to a more casual style among family that was more realistic.
What I enjoyed most about this book was that it’s plot wasn’t as predictable as I initially thought. Emma’s husband left her a destitute widow, and I thought I could predict the outcome. That definitely wasn’t the case, and I appreciated a plot that threw a curveball. Of note is that this book does have a huge sexual component that has some instances of bondage. It actually ended up he being less prevalent than I expected based on the build-up of the relationship between Emma and Luke.
All in all, The Rogue’s Proposal is a book that is definitely worth your attention. It has a solid story that accurately reflects it’s historical era without being a chore to read. Beyond that, it is consistently interesting and enticing – give it a try!