To Romance a Charming Rogue
The title of Nicole Jordan’s newest book, To Romance a Charming Rogue, is a rather forgettable arrangement of all of the latest historical romance title buzz-words. Not bad, just generic. Unfortunately, the book itself is more or less the same.
Lady Eleanor Pierce is dismayed when her blooming courtship with an Italian prince is disrupted by the arrival of Damon Stafford, Viscount Wrexham, to London after a two-year absence. She last saw him when she broke off her betrothal with him, after he publicly flaunted his affair with his mistress. He left her with her heart broken and her desire to find love smashed. So, despite his reappearance, Eleanor is as determined as ever to make her Italian prince fall in love with her.
Damon returned to England when he learned that Eleanor was being courted. He knew of the man’s reputation, and wants to spare her the inevitable pain of marrying a man who truly is a philanderer. Damon, you see, faked his rendezvous with the mistress so that Eleanor would break off the engagement – because he felt too strongly for her, and after the tragic deaths of his twin brother and parents, Damon had vowed to never love anyone again. He still feels strongly about Eleanor, though, and his feelings intensify as he spends more and more time with her, in attempts to prevent her marriage to the Italian. However, someone else is interfering, too — poisoning and attacking her new suitor.
The book started out fairly promising. I liked both Eleanor and Damon; I thought they worked well together, and while both of their emotional issues were on the unoriginal side, they still were believable. They had good chemistry together, and their characters were both just so likeable. A bit emotionally dense at times, but still enjoyable characters. There were some decent side characters as well, obviously protagonists of former or future books – but they didn’t interfere with the story at hand.
However, the ending was a mixed bag. The conclusion to the mild suspense theme was anticlimactic and full of holes. I knew who the villain was all along, but his reasoning made me sigh, and ask myself, “Really? Really? That’s your suspense plot, Nicole Jordan?” It would have been much, much better if that subplot were eliminated all together.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about the writing, either. Sometimes it seemed unnecessarily verbose, and used strange turns of phrase or dialogue that just seemed awkward and stilted to me. This wasn’t an overwhelming problem, though; it just occasionally pulled me out of the book.
Overall, the story was enjoyable, even if not innovative. However, the problems I had with To Romance a Charming Rogue prevent me from fully recommending it.