Title: My Rogue, My Ruin
Authors: Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan
Series: Lords of Essex
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 21st Nov
The Marquess of Hawksfield’s lineage is impeccable and his title coveted, but Archer Croft is as far from his indulgent peers as he can get. His loathing for the beau monde has driven him to don a secret identity and risk everything in order to steal their riches and distribute them to the less fortunate.
Lady Briannon Findlay embraces her encounter with the Masked Marauder, a gentleman thief waylaying carriages from London to Essex. The marauder has stirred Brynn’s craving for adventure, and she discovers an attraction deeper than the charming thief’s mask.
Brynn is a revelation, matching Archer in intelligence, wit, and passion. Stubborn and sensuous in equal measure, she astonishes him at every turn, but when someone sinister impersonates Archer’s secret personality, and a murder is committed, Archer begins to think he doesn’t stand a fighting chance without her.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
I found this rather disappointing. For a historical debut the details were pretty good aside from a few minor things (like the bloomers – no, just no – and the Season being during the summer, when everyone who could afford it tended to leave London), but the attitudes were a bit iffy and I really, really disliked Archer.
Yes, he’s a Robin Hood style hero, dashing around in a mask, on a horse, holding up rich people who can afford to lose their precious heirlooms, while he donates all the money to charity. The problem is that Archer himself is an arrogant ass. He thinks he’s so much better than the rest of peerage because of his criminal activities, but he doesn’t actively campaign for better lives for the poor or even donate his own money. He just robs other people and feels virtuous about it.
He’s also reckless and selfish and doesn’t even have a charming personality to overcome any of his faults. Yes, yes, he had a terrible childhood, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s an idiot and treats Brianna with a casual disregard for her reputation that I found rather unpleasant.
Then there’s Brianna (Brynn), who was a sickly child and much coddled by her mother. But she’s more than her weak lungs – she can shoot better than any man, rides around bareback on a stallion and regularly fences with her brother. All in secret, because somehow no one but her brother has ever noticed this wild streak. She’s also something of a chameleon, one moment dull and meek and plain, the next a spitfire who snaps at Archer. She can be mistaken for a boy in men’s clothing, but is also curvaceous and buxom and beautiful. In fact, the character at the beginning bears little resemblance to the one at the end, although her personality doesn’t change. She’s feisty and independent and not really very historical.
I was also confused about how little these two families knew about each other, considering they lived on neighbouring estates. Apparently Archer had played with Brynn’s brother as children, but the men despise each other now. And I have no idea why. Similarly, Brynn used to play with Archer’s sister, but now they are practically strangers. It didn’t make much sense.
The plot felt pretty slow for most of the book, with a mystery that I didn’t much care about. Maybe if I’d liked Archer more, I would have been more interested, but I didn’t and although Brynn was more engaging, her fluttering over her feelings for Archer – and her initial hostility towards him – I found more annoying than not. I also really didn’t like how useless she turns towards the end, it just undermined all the good things about her that the entire book had been building up.
So in all, this one wasn’t for me. But if you like feisty Regency heroines and don’t mind brooding heroes lacking in charm, then you might find something to enjoy here.