Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Rules for a Rogue by Christy Carlyle

Kit Ruthven's Rules (for Rogues)

#1 Love freely but guard your heart, no matter how tempting the invader.

#2 Embrace temptation, indulge your sensual impulses, and never apologize.

#3 Scorn rules and do as you please. You are a rogue, after all.

Rules never brought anything but misery to Christopher “Kit” Ruthven. After rebelling against his controlling father and leaving the family’s etiquette empire behind, Kit has been breaking every one imaginable for the past four years. He’s enjoyed London’s sensual pleasures, but he’s failed to achieve the success he craves as London’s premier playwright. When his father dies, Kit returns to the countryside and is forced back into the life he never wanted. Worse, he must face Ophelia Marsden, the woman he left behind years before.

After losing her father, Ophelia has learned to rely on herself. To maintain the family home and support her younger sister, she tutors young girls in deportment and decorum. But her pupils would be scandalized if they knew she was also the author of a guidebook encouraging ladies to embrace their independence.

As Kit rediscovers the life, and the woman, he left behind, Ophelia must choose between the practicalities she never truly believed in, or the love she’s never been able to extinguish.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

If you're a historical romance fan, you know there are tropes that are generally included in the novel. A feisty heroine (either a feminist in the making or marriage-minded), either a stuffy or roguish hero, siblings dependent on the H/h, death in the family where the man becomes the head of the household, a past (together), scandal, debt, an unwanted love interest the H/h wants out of the picture, one in the couple dragging their feet, and a ball where something either good/bad happens. On top of all that, there are always a few couples introduced who will get the next few books.

Rules for a Rogue is no different, having each and every trope mentioned above. However, Kit and Ophelia did give the reader a fresh take, which had me reading voraciously until almost the end.

Kit and Phee have been friends since they were children, but Kit's overbearing father was controlling, so he left Phee behind to start a career as playwright in London. While Kit loved Phee, he broke her heart.

Phee is a strong woman. After losing her mother when she was a teenager, leaving Phee to raise a toddler little sister, then her best friend whom she thought she'd marry one day left for the limelight. After all that, her father passed, leaving Phee as the breadwinner. A single female in England, whose options are marriage or allow the house to fall down around her head. But Phee, she is made of sterner stuff, and she refuses to marry for money. She's a survivor, and she found an ingenious yet scandalous career as an etiquette writer (writing the opposite of what a good lady should be). The only problem, Phee is a tutor to fine young ladies, teaching the archaic tenets she doesn't believe in.

Kit is a scoundrel, a playwright who loves the stage, but his heart is always seeking Phee. When his father passes, he's thrust back into Phee's orbit.

What follows on the pages is a cat and mouse game. Will-they-or-won't-they. Tension. Hunger. Lust. Love. With a ton of angst, I was pulled right into the story and didn't stop until I'd finished the novel. One of the brightest spots for me was the female empowerment. All the women supported each other, true friendships were forged, and the siblings wanted nothing but the best for each other. Nothing catty, silly, grating on the nerves to read. With the rules Phee believes young ladies should live by, it was icing on the cake to see all the women rally around one another in support.

The following didn't affect my rating, because it's found in most historical romances. The book was slightly too long, repetitious. Too much indecision for an empowered woman. Too much running away instead of just getting to the heart of it, purely because to do so would have shaved off the page-count. One or two times in a novel, I won't even notice. Near the end of the novel, I was very close to just skipping to the ending, because it was pretty much events that wouldn't have happened – again – if someone would have been honest/decisive/took what they wanted with their empowered self, both on Phee's and Kit's part.

*Note: Not a ton of purple prose, over-description, or right-clicking to change words via the thesaurus. I felt the need to mention this, as some hisro readers love those things. I don't, which is why I was entertained without having to wade through the tedium.

Recommended to Christy Carlyle fans and readers of Historical Romance. I can't wait to read the next in the series, no doubt featuring Sophie and Grey – sounds like another deliciously angsty read on the horizon.

Fueled by Pacific Northwest coffee and inspired by multiple viewings of every British costume drama she can get her hands on, Christy Carlyle writes sensual historical romance set in the Victorian era. She loves heroes who struggle against all odds and heroines who are ahead of their time. A former teacher with a degree in history, she finds there’s nothing better than being able to combine her love of the past with a die-hard belief in happy endings.

Connect with Christy

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Rules for a Rogue (Romancing the Rules #1) by Christy Carlyle to read and review.

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