Desert Isle Keeper
The Last Rogue
Charming, delightful, and funny too! Deborah Simmon’s new book The Last Rogue, had me smiling, snickering, and laughing out loud all the way through it. I don’t want to give away anything, but when Raleigh tells his blushing wife why he does not wear a nightshirt – I defy anyone not to laugh!
When Deverell Fairfax, Viscount Raleigh is visiting his friend the Earl of Wycliffe, he stumbles in drunk one night and falls into a bed. The next morning, he is wakened by screams and finds out he has fallen into the bed of Lady Wycliffe’s visiting sister Jane. Naturally, he has to marry her (the servants would talk) and the two are quickly leg-shackled and depart for Raleigh’s father’s home. Jane is a plain and starchy woman who is not pleased with the marriage at all, while Raleigh is worried about his parent’s reaction – they had expected him to marry a rich heiress.
When Jane and Raleigh arrive at the Earl’s home, they are given the news that Raleigh has been left an estate, Craven Hall, by a distant relative. Oh yes, the Earl and Countess are not pleased with their son’s marriage – Jane is only a vicar’s daughter. Raleigh’s estate is in Northumberland and, not wishing to stay where they are not welcome, Jane and Raleigh depart to check out his inheritance.
Along the way, Jane begins to unbend a little. Their valet is not with them and she has to help Raleigh with his clothing. Her efforts getting his tight coat on and off of his tight body, soon have Jane looking at her husband with umm, shall we say lust? As for Raleigh, he just defines the word lovable. He is handsome, charming, well-dressed, funny, polite, and perfect, just perfect. Poor Jane (who thinks of herself as plain) can’t believe this gorgeous creature is her husband and tries to distance herself by making cutting remarks. Raleigh just ignores them and continues being his wonderful charming self. By the time they reach Craven Hall, Jane has loosened up a lot.
Craven Hall is an ugly, dusty pile of masonry presided over by a sepulcral housekeeper named Mrs. Graves. From the first night they spend in the Hall, sounds and apparations that are usually found only in gothic novels begin to plague Jane and Raleigh. Glowing skulls, rattling chains and pools of blood appear, terrifying Jane, but Raleigh (who is a fan of gothic novels) pronounces the horrid effects unoriginal – stolen page-for-page out of Lady Ravenscar’s books, or straight out of The Castle of Otranto.
Readers who hate it when the hero and heroine are separated will love this book – Jane and Raleigh are together for the whole novel. Together they try to fix up Craven Hall and find out who is behind the noises and apparations that are plaguing them. Jane begins to realize that Raleigh is more than just a pretty face, while Raleigh grows more and more charmed with Jane – at one point he compares her to an apple pastry – flaky and tart on the outside and warm and sweet on the inside (Raleigh just loves food). The sexual tension in the book builds up to a love scene that is sensual, sweet, and just plain wonderful.
The Last Rogue is one of the most delightful books I have read this year. I loved everything about it. The dialogue was hilarious, the main characters were adorable, and the supporting characters (especially Raleigh’s valet Antoine), were perfect. I especially loved the way Deborah Simmons poked sly fun at gothic novels. I give this book keeper status – five hearts – two thumbs up – and, an A. Read it, you will love it!