March 15, 2012
It's the finger point outward guy!
Well, I wanted to read a marriage of convenience story and I still do. A Rogue by Any Other Name has some nice things going for it, but it also has some reach-through-the-page and squeeze things moments.
Some of the nice things were the correspondence between the heroine (Penelope) and the hero (Michael) over a period of approximately 10 years, little bits of their life that we are let in on at the beginning of each chapter. I enjoyed the set up for the rest of the books in the series - which may not be a good sign, because I was more interested in the secondary characters than I was in the main characters. I enjoyed the occasional glimpses of not being bullied from the heroine; just wish there had been more. I thought the flashbacks to childhood memories were wonderful and sweet. It's just unfortunate that those precious children turned into the whiney, it's-not-my-fault guy and his wife, unworthy-kick-me-when-I'm-down woman.
Now, let me say right up front: I love marriage of convenience stories. They are one of my favorite plot-lines. Nothing better than a troubled marriage to see how well an author can write, how well they can dig into human emotions. Some of my favorite character-driven books are those in which I get to watch a married couple finally find their HEA. And, I was excited when I started reading A Rogue by any Other Name, because they are married almost from the beginning of the book, so, I thought we were in for a treat. Alas, silly me, I forgot the "revenge" plot was also at work in this story, and I am not a big fan of revenge stories. I usually find them mean-spirited. Turns out that this one fits into the mean-spirited category. Maybe it wouldn't have been so mean-spirited if the hero hadn't been Mr. Jerk, if he had a legitimate reason for revenge. Say, someone killed his dog, his parents, his sister, his horse, his butler. I'm sorry, but there was no one standing behind him with a sword aimed at his head forcing him to sit down and gamble away his birthright. I don't care if he was only 21. 21, for pete's sake! There were people fighting Napoleon at 21! N-o-o, he isn't forced, but he still blames the older man for somehow tricking him into gambling, for pressuring him. I thought for a revenge plot, this one was pretty weak. And, never ever in any part of the book does he ever admit that the loss of his estates had anything to do with his own actions. Even the unworthy heroine, when she finally tells him where to get off, never confronts him with his own responsibilities. I also thought the kiss the heroine, then kick the heroine routine happened one too many times.
While I'm on the subject of the please-kick-me-I'm-not-worthy heroine. Don't any of these women have a mirror? How can you not see what lovely eyes or gorgeous smile you have. Puleese! Women have been sitting in front of mirrors since the dawn of...mirrors. Hey! Kick-me-I'm-down woman - his disinterest in you doesn't have anything to do with you - he's just a whiney-not-my-fault cold, calculating creep. Dump him! Run off with the nice guy!
Anyway, I was disappointed in A Rogue By any Other Name. What started out promising ended with me being frustrated by a very jerky hero. There were four other men in this book, so, I'm assuming there are stories in the works for them. And, I will be putting those on my list because I know Sarah MacLean can deliver a good story. It is just that this one didn't work for me.
Time/Place: Late Regency England
Sensuality Rating: Sort of Hot