The Right Kind of Rogue
Do you like stories of unrequited love? What about ladies falling for their best friends’ brothers? Jealous heroes? If you nodded vociferously to any of those, I’d recommend picking up the newest addition to Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides series, The Right Kind of Rogue.
In this tale, two people are in need of mates. One, Meg Timmons, knows exactly who she wants to be that mate, but also knows he will never choose her. She has loved her best friend’s older brother, Hart, Viscount Highgate, since time immemorial but knows it’ll never happen for two very important reasons: their families hate each other (so Hart’s father would throw a fit if his heir tied himself to an enemy), and she’s broke.
Our hero is also in need of a march down the aisle, but has no one in particular in mind. Hart grumpily accepts it is time to take a bride, but let no one think he’s happy about it. His requirements are simple – she must be inoffensive and rich.
So, the obstacles for Hart and Meg’s happily ever after are set up early and firmly; the course of true love never has run smooth…
Like many self-respecting theater kids (that tribe of teenagers who have limited engagement with the Super Bowl but can recite the last seventeen years of Tony winners), I have a strong relationship with Eponine from Les Miserables. Unrequited love is the language of teenage girls, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve groaned at my own antics to catch the attention of whatever dude stood in for my Marius du jour. Like, girl, take a seat, he’s not worth it. So much of this trope in romance suffers from the same angst-ridden issue, but what makes this book so much fun is that Hart is absolutely worth it, and Meg knows it. Instead of allowing herself to get trapped into an adequate life with an inoffensive husband and spend her days wondering what if… she grabs the bull by the proverbial horns and goes after him.
Her pal Lucy (who is my least favorite part of this book) loves a scheme and agrees to help Meg convince Hart to see her in a new way and hoooooo buddy, does he. Hart has always had an affection for her and was drawn to her on some level. He and Meg even shared a secret kiss in a garden following a misunderstanding several years previously, but he never took things any further because she was Meg; but once she appears in a particularly stunning dress (courtesy of Lucy), he realizes (slowly of course) that wee Meg Timmons, whose company he has always enjoyed, may just be his best match and she shifts from Sarah’s Best Friend to Potential Partner.
There are certainly antics associated with Lucy’s schemes that made me sigh deeply and mutter ‘really?’ under my breath, and I didn’t love Hart’s reaction to the main point of conflict at the end, but there was enough in the rest of the sotry that kept me turning the pages and left me feeling satisfied with the outcome. I don’t normally dig jealousy, for example, but Hart’s worked on me, largely because he was still so clueless that it was adorable. I loved how strong the friendship is between Meg and Sarah (and even Lucy), but I found the conflict between the two families to be a tad overblown (as in Montague and Capulet overblown) but it gave Hart a fabulous moment of defending his beloved in the conclusion, so I took it in stride.
Overall, if you’re in a part of the world where the days are growing shorter and you’re looking for a solid historical read to enjoy in front of the fire, and find any of the tropes contained in this book enjoyable, one-click and enjoy The Right Kind of Rogue.