on August 27, 2013
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Also in this series: Not Quite a Wife, Not Always a Saint
Sometimes. . .
Even the most proper young lady yearns for adventure. But when the very well bred Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend impulsively takes the place of her pregnant twin, it puts her own life at risk. If the kidnappers after her sister discover they've abducted Sarah instead, she will surely pay with her life. . .
A Rogue. . .
Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning his back on his heritage and becoming a formidable Bow Street Runner with a talent for rescuing damsels in distress. But Sarah is one damsel who is equal to whatever comes. Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself into his arms, she challenges Rob at every turn.
Another enjoyable Lost Lords romance! Mary Jo Putney is on my autobuy list, at least for her historical romances. Somehow she manages to make even the most unlikely plots and scenarios believable. I think it’s because her characters are so well-drawn. While some of Putney’s recent books have been a little lighter, not quite as rich and engrossing as books such as The China Bride or the Fallen Angels series, I still find them thoroughly entertaining, and this book is no exception.
Sometimes a Rogue is the fifth book in the Lost Lords series, which features the men who attended Lady Agnes Westerfield’s unconventional school for boys of good birth and bad behavior. The hero here is Rob Carmichael, an important secondary character in two of the previous books (Nowhere Near Respectable and No Longer a Gentleman), while the heroine is the twin sister of Mariah, the Duchess of Ashton (Loving a Lost Lord.) I’ve been waiting for both their stories, but frankly, I never expected this pair to end up together.
Sarah has always compared herself unfavorably to her unconventional sister Mariah, but she proves to have plenty of spirit, courage, and intelligence — not to mention more than a soupcon of unconventionality — pretending to be her twin so the kidnappers will leave the laboring Mariah alone. Rob shows up at Ashton’s estate just in time to hear that Sarah has been kidnapped, and immediately goes after her. Once he finally locates Sarah, she holds her own as they attempt to escape her kidnappers and return to England. More than once, Sarah rescues Rob (the frying pan scene is delightful!) and it’s clear from early on that these two are a good match in terms of temperament. There’s plenty of sensual tension between them, too, but the social obstacle is considerable: although born a gentleman, Rob is a Bow Street Runner; neither his income, his lifestyle, nor his social standing are sufficient to allow him marry someone of Sarah’s pedigree. He’s too honorable to pursue a relationship given his circumstances, and Sarah reluctantly concurs. But circumstances can change, and Rob’s do, quite dramatically.
The pacing of Sometimes a Rogue is somewhat uneven. The beginning third is fast and suspenseful; then there is a longer, slower interlude during which Sarah and Rob’s relationship really develops, and the book finishes off with an abrupt, action-filled suspense section and a sudden denouement. It’s a mark of Mary Jo Putney’s writing skill that she manages to connect these sections and make them work together, in much the way that a good symphony is a cohesive work although each movement has a different mood. What ties the sections of Sometimes a Rogue together are the main characters. Sarah and Rob are well-drawn and both have depth and enough flaws to be interesting. Their deepening relationship carries the story through the quieter section. Two secondary characters, relatives of Rob’s, also enliven that portion of the book, and even these experience some growth and development despite their briefer appearances on the page.
Overall, I enjoyed Sometimes a Rogue very much, and recommend it to fans of Mary Jo Putney and Regency-era romance in general. It can certainly be read as a standalone, but you may wish to read the earlier books in the series either before or after this one; they are also quite delightful and offer some background for Rob, Sarah, and a number of minor characters.