Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Rogue's Folly by Donna Lea Simpson

Lady May von Hoffen has been plagued all her prim young life by the scandalous behavior of her widowed mother and the licentious men she consorts with. When she finally finds herself free of her mother and in sole possession of Lark House, she relishes the sense of decorum and freedom it gives her. But the surprise discovery of the injured Frenchman Etienne hiding on her estate—the man who once rescued her from an attack on her virtue and the only man she’s ever been able to trust—turns her newly peaceful solitude into a maelstrom of bewildering thoughts and disturbingly passionate curiosity.

Etienne is a self-avowed rake, and even now is on the run from ruthless adversaries who accuse him of trying to murder a marquess and seduce his wife. Following a stabbing that nearly claimed his life, he finds sanctuary on the land of an unfamiliar estate, hoping to recover and evade capture. But when the lady of the house turns out to be none other than the lovely and innocent Lady May, his feels his heart stir even as his body is gripped by pain and the fear that she will renounce him.

As May nurses Etienne back to health and learns the truth of his supposed crimes, along with a much-needed education on the relations between men and women, a burning desire smolders between the two opposites, and soon they will be forced to trust each other and their feelings in order to save one life and two hearts.

Another well-written Regency from Simpson, though not one that pulled me in as a reader. It became clear when reading that this must be part of a series, and I certainly felt the entire sub-plot regarding how the two main characters met depended on knowledge from a previous book to set into context. May was a judgmental and sometimes aggravating heroine; it was unclear to me at times what exactly Etienne saw in her. He was in may ways a delight of a hero, though once his whole story unfolded, I was underwhelmed by his dramatic determination to say May from herself. The dramatic tension of the situation (hiding Etienne from the law) helped isolate and pull the two together, though I for one think May would have had better success hiding him in the house and simply telling her servants to keep quiet about the whole situation. All in all this was an OK read, but not one of the best from this prolific author.

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