Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor.
Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realizes he’s far too intelligent to fool. Revealing the truth is impossibly dangerous, yet day by day he wins her trust, and then her heart.
But then her enemy closes in, and Rose turns to Thomas as the only man who can protect her and the children. And when she asks for his help, Thomas finally understands his true purpose, and with unwavering commitment, he seeks his redemption the only way he can—through living the reality of loving Rose.
Loving Rose is a warm and satisfying historical romance, and something of a mystery — but it is first and foremost a novel of redemption. The hero, Thomas Glendower (formerly Malcolm Sinclair), was the villain (and I use the term advisedly) in several previous books, and Laurens has done remarkably well at rehabilitating him believably for this story. Thomas’s redemption isn’t easy — in some ways, it’s about as painful as it’s possible to get — and it isn’t fast. There’s a prologue which covers several years, starting from the end of The Taste of Innocence, and he’s not yet fully redeemed at the beginning of this book. He is, however, determined to reach that point. In fact, he becomes both an admirable and a likable man by the end of the novel – or even sooner.
I also enjoyed Rose, whose quiet strength, determination, and willingness to accept Thomas as he is are quite appealing. The children are delightful as well. Surprisingly, there’s very little romantic tension; the love story is exactly that, with no manufactured misunderstandings, no major crises in the relationship — just a growing accord, love, and dedication to each other, and on Thomas’s part, to the children as well. That’s rare in a romance novel, but not necessarily in real life, and I found it refreshing.
The mystery of exactly who threatens Rose and the children, and why, unfolds slowly at first, and then more quickly once you reach the middle of the book. And it offers a chance for readers to reconnect with Barnaby and Penelope Adair and Inspector Stokes and his wife Griselda (Where the Heart Leads) and Heathcote and Violet Montague (The Masterful Mr. Montague), as well as more briefly with some of the Cynsters. The mystery is a bit more puzzling than it appears at first glance, and misled me pretty well for a while. There are essentially two endings; the first managed to surprise me, while the second offers a welcome but somewhat expected finale and a well-earned reward.
Frankly, although it’s not as suspenseful or intense as some of Laurens earlier novels, Loving Rose
is one of her best in recent years — and I didn’t really miss the suspense. I forgive her for the disappointment of The Curious Case of Lady Latimer’s Shoes
, and I’m once again looking forward to the new Cynsters novel, By Winter’s Light
, coming in late October.
* * *
Rating: 4 stars (well, 3.75)
Category: Historical romance
Series: Casebooks of Barnaby Adair #3
Release date: July 29, 2014
Book source: purchased
The Casebooks of Barnaby Adair (in order):
1. Where the Heart Leads (Penelope and Barnaby; Stokes & Griselda are a secondary romance)
1.5 The Peculiar Case of Lord Finsbury’s Diamonds (reviewed 1/23/14)
2. The Masterful Mister Montague (Montague and Violet)
2.5 The Curious Case of Lady Latimer’s Shoes (reviewed 8/21/14)
3. Loving Rose (this review)
Malcolm Sinclair/Thomas Glendower also appears in:
Bastion Club novels (as minor character):
5. To Distraction
6. Beyond Seduction
14. The Taste of Innocence (as important secondary character)