Last year I severely curtailed the amount of Kindle freebies I downloaded, and a much higher quality reading year ensued. This year, I completely ignored that fact when I was sent a link to Book Bub and went to town on the download button. Rogue’s Honor was the first of that bunch of freebies and doesn’t bode particularly well for my enjoyment of the rest. It wasn’t written so poorly as to be offensive to my eyes, but it didn’t really have much going for it either.
Set in Regency England, Lady Pearl is a noble do-gooder aching to get down and dirty with the poor of London so that she can improve their situations and bask in the glow of her own wonderfulness. Disguising herself as a servant she soon finds herself in one of London’s slums and in the company of the notorious Saint of the Seven Dials, a Robin Hood type figure who robs the nobility blind so he can improve the situations of the poor while sating his own feelings of hatred toward the ruling class. Of course, the two go gaga over one another. But…will Luke (the aforementioned Saint) still want Pearl once he realises she’s part of the hated nobility? There’s no real doubt that he will – a lifetime of prejudice is easily overcome by honey coloured hair, after all.
But…society will never allow for a relationship between a poor thief and a rich lady. Luckily for Pearl, she easily deduces that Luke is blissfully unaware that he is actually the secret lost Earl of Hardwyck and gets his title restored. But…her awful stepmother wants her married off before her 21st birthday and so forces Pearl to choose between marrying Luke or marrying Lord Bellowsworth ( a man Pearl detests and has been trying to avoid marrying for most of the book), and so of course Pearl chooses Bellowsworth (because of, erm, stuff). But….will Luke let the marriage go ahead? No, of course he won’t, and after two duels wins her hand.
With both characters perfectly in love with one another there was no real tension throughout the book, and the many twists of the story were mostly ridiculous obstacles put in their way for them to hurdle on their way to a happy-ever-after that was never in doubt. Instead of adding much-needed tension to the tale, these merely added extra padding and helped make a light, inconsequential book drag on for way too long.
Pearl, despite apparently being a spirited, intelligent woman, seemed to employ insane troll logic to make most of her imbecilic decisions and I actually started to hope that she’d been knocked up during one of her illicit trysts and would have her reputation ruined, leading to abandonment by Bellowsworth and discovering that Luke was really a rogue after all who had no intention of marrying her, so she could find out first-hand what it was actually like to be one of London’s poor. Sadly, I was disappointed in this and will have to content myself with not reading any of the rest of this series.