To Rescue a Rogue
The Company of Rogues is finally complete. I’ve been waiting for Dare’s story for a while, along with every other fan of this series, I’m sure. Dare lived up to my expectations completely, although I had to warm up to his heroine, partly because she’s very young. Mara does mature (thankfully) and puts her TSTL tendencies behind her.
For those that haven’t heard of this series, where have you been? Seriously, however, although you can read this without having read any of the others, it’s not the place to start, particularly since some of the earlier books are even better reads. The series as a whole features a strong pedigree and rich history, and to realize the full effect of these yummy heroes, I’d recommend starting earlier. They all come together here, as do their wives, in order to help Dare with his most difficult battle.
Lord Darius Debenham was always the lighthearted one, the sarcastically humorous one, the playful one. Now he is none of those, for he fights an opium addiction forced on him by his so-called “rescuer” after Waterloo. Therese was no rescuer however, and made him an addict, along with keeping him a prisoner by using two children she stole as hostages. When Dare managed to escape with Pierre and Delphie, he was a changed man, addicted and emaciated.
Fast forward eight months and Dare has managed by tooth and nail to wean himself down to nearly no opium, but has not been able to make the final leap. He tried, but it was a devastating failure. Nicholas Delaney sent a Chinese herbalist and Tao master Feng Ruyuan to help Dare heal his mind and body. The combination of fighting, tai chi, massages and herbs allowed Dare to function, but barely. He returns to London in hope that a change of scenery will help him with the final transition, although he refuses to attend any society functions. Instead he ends up saving an old friend’s sister from disgrace.
Lady Mara St. Bride (sister to Simon from The Rogue’s Return) made an incredibly stupid decision which landed her in her underwear running around London. She is a young woman yearning for adventure, and she almost found far too much. Thankfully for her virtue and possibly her life, she is near Dare’s home. She throws herself on his mercy; he is one of her brother’s best friends, after all.
Both Dare and Mara glimpse something in each other that night, and Mara is determined to bring Dare out of his shell. She has no idea of the demons she is dealing with, which is perhaps a good thing. Her innocence and determination is what ultimately helps Dare make the final leap to life without opium.
As I mentioned, Mara is a young heroine, with many of the inherent problems of young people everywhere. She acts young and thoughtless sometimes, and occasionally borders on TSTL. What saved her character for me was her willingness to learn about Dare’s addiction and persevere, even if she is misguided at the beginning of their relationship.
Dare is an extremely tortured hero. The reader visits all the horrors of his addiction right along with him. It’s not pretty, and he hates himself for his weakness. He is unwilling and unable to attend society functions, so his courtship (such as it is) of Mara takes place during tours of many unusual places in London (the cork museum sounds amazing). Dare will remain in my memory a long time; I consider him my favorite Rogue.
Honestly, this story stayed with me long after I finished the book, which is unusual in itself. Many times even though I’ve enjoyed a book, I forget the details within a few days. Although there were aspects to Mara I didn’t enjoy, overall this book was a success for me and I’ll be able to look back and remember it fondly.