A Rogue's Embrace
I’m always on the lookout for a good romance set in an under-utilized period in history. Though this one is set in the not-enough-used Restoration period, it didn’t quench my thirst for a good romance.
Elissa Longbourne, a widow with a young son, has been summoned to London by King Charles. Elissa fears that the summons concerns her son Will, heir to a large estate bequeathed to him by his abusive and adulterous father. Elissa is determined to protect her son and his inheritance.
Sir Richard Blythe, sometime playwright and former soldier for King Charles, has also been summoned by the king. Richard hopes that the king has found a way to restore his ancestral estate to him, which was sold by Richard’s uncle while Richard was on the continent fighting for King Charles. A standard arranged marriage follows for Elissa and Richard.
Both Elissa and Richard have problematic pasts that have left them emotionally cold. This reviewer found Elissa comparable to a dysfunctional freezer, one that thaws and freezes over and over again. Elissa is rightly concerned with protecting her son at the beginning. However she continues to hesitate over trusting Richard, acting childish and petty almost until the end of the book. She constantly accuses Richard without clear evidence of any transgressions. Even when she realizes she is being churlish, she still refuses to believe in Richard.
Richard has a difficult past, and women tend to fall over his pretty face, but he remains true to Elissa and never wavers in his regard. He genuinely wants to make a life with Elissa and Will, but Elissa’s constant quixotic behavior leaves him bewildered. As a result, Richard makes a few poor choices regarding his marriage.
Descriptions of the period were vivid, and this reviewer could almost smell the stench of London when Elissa arrived. For added flavor, the author included authentic language in the form of curses, which unfortunately grew tedious after every character had to use these curses repeatedly.
This story would have worked better for me had Elissa acted like an adult earlier in the story. I like tortured characters, but when they move from tortured into whiny and childish, even I can’t forgive them.