Gone With The Rogue by Amelia Grey
I didn’t like The Earl Next Door, the first in this three book series about three widows finding new love, but I was convinced to give this one a try in hopes that I’d like the hero a bit better. And, thankfully, I did, because Garrett Stockton is a thoroughly decent man. Although he has the reputation of a rake, he doesn’t so much as look at any other woman than Julia in this book. From the first moment when he has to rescue her from being stuck up a tree, to his dedication to helping her out of an untenable circumstance, I liked him very much.
Julia, Lady Kitson Fairbright, liked her husband well enough but didn’t love him. She does, however, adore her four-year-old son Chatwyn, and will do anything for him. Unfortunately, she’s not her son’s guardian; that honour is held by her husband’s father, a duke who has definite ideas about how a widow should act and threatens Julia with the loss of her son to keep her toeing the line. When Julia discovers the duke’s pious act is a sham, she decides to find some proof in order to gain her leverage to escape his clutches with her son - and recruits Garrett to help her out.
The obvious solution to Julia’s problem, considering Garrett was a wealthy ship owner, was for them to just hop on board a ship with Chatwyn in tow, and defy the duke to do anything about it, and I really didn’t comprehend why Garrett didn’t suggest exactly that. Orders from an English court would have held exactly zero authority in America or Italy or any one of a number of other places Garrett was apparently familiar with and they could easily have defied the duke’s orders until Chatwyn came of age.
I did buy into the romance between Garrett and Julia - they had a rather charming meet-cute and honestly, when you’ve got two attractive people who are both honourable and decent, there’s no reason NOT to believe they could fall for each other quickly. However, we didn’t get a lot of character development, just repeated rehashes of Julia’s predicament and a couple of sex scenes - it didn’t even seem to occur to Julia that a pregnancy would REALLY mess up her situation when the duke found out. Logic and thinking through of consequences didn’t seem to be the strong point of either of these two.
This was pretty much just fluff, and the apparent inability of the characters to consider anything but the most obvious course of action was pretty frustrating. I didn’t hate it because I actually liked the two main characters, but it could have been so much better. Three stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.