She’s beyond his reach…
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.
…and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay…for the love of a reformed thief.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
There’s something slightly familiar about this book. Our heroine Rapunzel Susanna has spent her life locked in a tower respectability, closely watched by her mother. She longs for an adventure, to get out and see the world. And then a thief turns up in her library. Flynn Gideon is looking for somewhere to hide his satchel bag containing a valuable tiara necklace, which holds the key to freeing him from his life of crime. However, thanks to a trusty frying pan candlestick, Susanna manages to hide it from him. She’ll only give it back if he promises to take her to see the floating lights Vauxhall Gardens…
Okay, you probably get the picture. This isn’t just a fairytale retelling in a Regency setting, this is Disney’s Tangled, only with more grimy bits. It even has a bunch of ruffians who end up talking to Susanna about having a dream, when she tries to stop them from handing Gideon over for a reward. Instead of Maximus the horse, we have Beauty the dog who starts out the book by chasing Gideon. It even starts with the same line as the film!
Now, some people might find this cute. I did. At first. Then right about the moment when Gideon guesses for the second time where Susanna hid the necklace it started to grow old. When the head thug tells her to “Go. Live your dream.” I was so very close to giving up. If they’d sat in a boat on the way to Vauxhall watching the fireworks while gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, I definitely would have. It was a cute idea that went too far and is still hanging around right up to the end, which made this whole book a lot less enjoyable than it could have been.
Then again, Susanna is most definitely foolish beyond permission. I know she’s been sheltered by her mother’s overbearing protection, but really, can she possible be both incredibly naive and boldly reckless? I struggled to connect the girl who is almost sick at escaping to the retiring room at a garden party with the same one who runs off into the night with an unknown thief. The idea that she’s always been stubborn and headstrong really doesn’t fit in with the girl we first meet. Nor the dim-witted things she says when she and Gideon first start out on their adventure.
Gideon too suffers from being shoved into the Flynn Rider mould. I frequently wondered how he possibly managed to survive so long in London when he’s so very good at making enemies. Funny in a Disney film, but less workable in a book that’s trying to show off the dark side of Seven Dials. Considering how much I liked him in the last book (Earls Just Want to Have Fun), I was a bit disappointed in him here. He seemed to have more integrity when dealing with Marlowe. Here he’s just too much the loveable rogue, always up to no good, but with a cheeky smile for the ladies. He even has a Smoulder Look.
As for the whole reason why Susanna wants to go to Vauxhall in the first place? Flimsy at best. Add in the lack of concern about how long she’s gone for… Well, let’s just say this book didn’t bowl me over. By the time I reached the (quite frankly ludicrous) plot with her mother I just gave up and hung on grimly for the end, just in case her hair turned magical and/or the chameleon turned up. I’m a little surprised that neither did.
Overall this book tries to be fun and sort of is, while also trying to show of the darker side off Regency London – with an added Disney twist. It’s daft, basically, and if you can put aside any hopes of a serious or even remotely believable tale, then go for it. I would have enjoyed it more if I knew Tangled less. In my opinion it’s neither as fun nor as strong as the first book in the series, even without the film references, but I still have hopes for Sir Brook’s tale in the future.
The Rogue You Know is out September 1st.
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