A Rogue for All Seasons by Sara Lindsey

Title: A Rogue for All Seasons
Author: Sara Lindsey

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Romance / Regency)
Publisher/Publication Date: Sara Lindsey (6/1/2013)
Source: The author.

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I raced through it gleefully!
One-sentence summary: A wallflower facing spinsterhood finds herself in a mock courtship with a stunning rogue when both realize they want their courtship to be real.
Reading Challenges: E-book, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I'm not wild about it, but I'm actually not really a fan of historical romance covers.

I'm reminded of...: Maya Banks

First line: For a girl of only eight years old, Diana Merriwether was very good at hiding.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy -- charming, engaging, and very sexy!

Why did I get this book?: A woman I met at a friend's wedding is friends with the author, and she asked if I'd be open to connecting with the author.

Review: I'm a sucker for happily ever afters, but I'm picky about the journey. When a historical romance doesn't work for me, it's usually because the obstacles are created due to lack of direct conversation or there are misunderstandings so outrageous they beggar belief.  When historical romances do work for me, they feature a hero and heroine who are learning about themselves as much as they are learning about each other, and the challenges in their courtship are dramatic and emotional without being unhealthy.

This book is one of those that work.

Henry Weston comes from the blessed Westons -- wealthy, good-looking, good-humored.  While his sisters have fallen happily into matrimony (Lindsey's two previous novels), Henry is just as happy to keep up with his string of women and fun-loving life.  Except, he's kind of not.  When he finally acknowledges he has an aspiration -- to breed horses -- he learns that the owner of the famed stud he plans to purchase is afraid Henry will turn it into a brothel or some pleasure palace.  To purchase the stud, Henry has to prove he's a real gentleman.  Henry's parents are agreed; if Henry can find investors for half the cost, they'll front him the other half.

Diana Merriwether is the granddaughter of a duchess, facing her seventh season single.  Resigned to being a spinster, Diana has guarded herself from all impropriety due to the scandal of her parents' separation more than fifteen years earlier.  Wounded, too, from her father's rejection of her and preference for her brother, Diana is certain that love is fickle.  She wants none of that nonsense.

After being encouraged to be nice to Diana for years, including being urged by his mother to dance with her at least once if they're at the same event, Henry offers Diana an odd bargain.  If she'll enter into a mock courtship with him to make him seem as if he's the reformed gentleman -- for who but the blameless would Diana Merriwether court? -- he guarantees his interest in her will draw other suitors, and she may 'throw him over' at the end of the season for her real choice.

You can imagine the shenanigans that ensue from this arrangement.  Refreshingly, while there are some moments of miscommunication that do add conflict, Lindsey doesn't turn this into an agonizingly long wait for Diana and Henry to just admit their feelings.  

To my surprise and delight, the novel's end doesn't come with their inevitable to marriage, but their growth as a couple learning to trust each other and behave honestly.  Diana doesn't trust that she's loveable.  Normally that's a trope I loathe in a heroine but Lindsey articulates it in a manner that makes sense, given Diana's past, and when Diana gets over it, it's so very satisfying.  (And kind of made me teary, because, yeah, I've got my own anxieties about my loveable-ness!)

Now, for the important part: the sex is hot.  They're into each other, there are no weird hang ups about liking sex or their bodies, Lindsey doesn't use any uncomfortably odd euphemisms for body parts, and happily, it's more than just missionary style.  Those who are shy or prude-ish might be uncomfortable but the sexy scenes still feel romance novel-y rather than erotica-y.

I was stunned to discover upon finishing this book, that this is self-published. The quality of the writing, the editing, and the e-book's formatting had me assuming this came from a traditional publisher. Kudos to Lindsey for that.

I'm absolutely eager for another book from Lindsey and can see why her fans keep calling for more of the Westons.  They're a charming bunch, and I'm smitten.  If you're facing hectic holidays, consider adding this one to the queue for fun, engrossing escapism.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. It is -- super professional looking. Really so v impressed with this one!

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  2. I'm actually not nuts about the cover, either. I like the billowy dress, but the face looking back at me is too sorority girl, esp after reading your description of her!

    But I also share your pet peeve of novels whose conflict is based solely on the fact that the character can't have a single adult conversation and one or the other is constantly flouncing away without actually listening to a word. I like the growth it sounds like these characters grow through, though! And hot sex is never bad!

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    Replies
    1. This one was really good and had reasonable adults -- which is such a relief! Really great fun.

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    2. This is totally up my alley!!!! I love it and it sounds like fun. I like the cover actually! And reasonable characters?! Count me in! I'll add it as great vacation reading!

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    3. It's really perfect for the vacation -- would love to know what you think if you end up reading! I'm still smiling thinking about them!

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  3. I hope you do! It's wonderfully fun!

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  4. This sounds so good! I also find it frustrating when characters cause their own problems and everything you liked about this one matches up with what I look for in my historical romance too :)

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    Replies
    1. I know -- I do hate the artificial tension so often found in romantic story lines. (It's not a problem in just romance novels -- there are plenty of historicals that have such contrived obstacles!) In this case, there is a little silliness in terms of obstacles, but it worked for the story, and was fun enough and serious enough to keep the book diverting.

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  5. This sounds really good. I also hate when characters cause their own problems and all of the things that you mention liking about this one line up well with what I look for in historical romance.

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  6. I agree 100% about the jounrey, ESPECIALLY WITH ROMANCE. I feel like everyone knows a HEA is in the offing so the author's main job is to make getting there a fun and interesting read.

    This isn't my normal type of read, but it sounds like a great palate cleanser when other books get too heavy. I have a hard time with romance type novls
    (too much sexism/alpha male tactics) so it's good to find one that a friend recommends!

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    Replies
    1. Jessie, this is totally a heavy book palate cleanser! There's no alpha male-ism here, aside from a little chest thumping when our hero thinks his sister's husband is stepping out on her, and I can live with that. Otherwise, I found him remarkably, reassuringly, refreshingly healthy and well-adjusted. It was so delightful!

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  7. I've actually only read one book with a mock relationship, Shannon Stacey's Yours To Keep, and loved it so I'll be looking for Lindsey's book in a minute. You saying it works is enough for me :)

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