Desert Isle Keeper
Pursued by the Rogue
I think we can all agree that Romlandia abounds with rogues. Indeed, they appear nearly as plentiful as dukes. Sometimes “rogue” is code for what seems to be the Regency version of a frat boy, but in other cases, the word “rogue” seems to be code for, “The hero is a really nice guy but I have to use a descriptive word that will make you buy the book and I know ‘sweetheart’ just won’t do it.” The hero in Kelly Hunter’s Pursued by the Rogue is definitely one of the latter. With some authors I might mind this, but in Hunter’s case, I enjoyed the story and the writing so much that I just kept on reading.
Dawn Turner and Finbar Sullivan got together, albeit briefly, when Dawn was in high school. Their fling and the aftermath are a secret Dawn has carried ever since. Now, 10 years later, we learn Dawn has found success as the owner of a biotech company (think of the real-life Elizabeth Holmes here) and she has reluctantly agreed to reunite with her three closest high school friends. Since one of her friends happens to be Finn’s sister, this means she will have trouble avoiding him.
Dawn clearly hopes that successful musician Finn will be out on tour, but no such luck. When she meets with her friends in the Sullivan family pub, Finn has come to do a special musical appearance. And of course, the old chemistry is still there. Finn wants to pursue things more than does Dawn, but they get together nevertheless.
I don’t want to spoil the book by telling all of the dark secrets. However, I will say that in the context of this book, it makes perfect sense for Dawn to feel haunted by her past with Finn. Her insistence on having casual flings only, something that normally drives me up a wall, also makes sense. And surprisingly, even though she does things that drive me nuts, I really like Dawn. She comes across as believably brainy and strong, even though she lives under a burden of secrets that anyone would find heartbreaking.
I like Finn, too, though he doesn’t leave so vivid an impression as Dawn. I picture him with a mischievous smile, but that’s pretty much the most roguish thing about him. He came across as a genuinely nice man who loves Dawn and feels things deeply. He wears his heart on his sleeve at times during this story, and I empathized with him as he kept readjusting, trying to find ways to navigate the strange territory of a fling with Dawn. He’s falling in love in a context where his partner seems to have unwritten rules that he doesn’t entirely understand, but he sticks with it nevertheless. And though he is a nice guy, he’s not afraid to take a bold step or two when needed. There’s a particular scene at the pub with a particular performance by Finn that just gave me chills. Good stuff.
I did have moments, particularly closer to the end, where I just wanted Dawn to trust Finn and let him in on some of her secrets. However, I loved this book overall. I’m not sure I’d call Finn a rogue, but I’d definitely call this a good read.