When You Wish Upon A Rogue by Anna Bennett
I have to admit I was a little bit wary when I started this book, because one trope I really dislike in novels of any era is one of the protagonists getting ‘magically cured’ of some physical or mental illness literally just by the presence of their love interest, and I had my suspicions that might be what happens here. I was very happy to be proved wrong.
Reese, Earl of Warshire, is lately returned from the Peninsula Wars and suffering from both survivor’s guilt and PTSD, both of which have combined to give him an insomnia which is absolutely destroying him mentally. But here’s the thing; although HE thinks it’s just Sophie’s presence which is helping, it’s obvious to the reader that Sophie is, all unknowing, actually conducting psychological therapy sessions with Reese which are helping him to deal with and move past his trauma. Combined with some herbal remedies (and yes, valerian really is a good natural remedy for insomnia) she does cure him, but there’s nothing magical about it at all. Even though he thinks there is.
Sophie’s got her own problems, with a family sliding rapidly into debt and the weight of rescuing them on her shoulders. Betrothed to a man she has no interest in whatsoever, she doesn’t want to fall for Reese, but as she gets to know him, it’s pretty much inevitable. He’s also the first man who’s really taken the time to get to know her, and she finds she likes the person she’s allowed to be with him, rather than the stifled version she’d have to be as the wife of her destined husband.
This is the third in a series about three young women who write a revolutionary feminist gossip column, but you absolutely don’t have to have read the others to thoroughly enjoy this. Sophie is a delight and Reese a good man struggling under an intolerable burden, and there’s a lovely cast of well-realised supporting characters who all have their part to play. Five stars for an excellent read.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.