Series: A League of Extraordinary Women, #2
Published by Berkley on 1st September 2020
Buy on Amazon
A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she must pit her wits against the wiles of an irresistible rogue bent on wrecking her plans…and her heart.
Lady Lucie is fuming. She and her band of Oxford suffragists have finally scraped together enough capital to control one of London’s major publishing houses, with one purpose: to use it in a coup against Parliament. But who could have predicted that the one person standing between her and success is her old nemesis and London’s undisputed lord of sin, Lord Ballentine? Or that he would be willing to hand over the reins for an outrageous price—a night in her bed.
Lucie tempts Tristan like no other woman, burning him up with her fierceness and determination every time they clash. But as their battle of wills and words fans the flames of long-smouldering devotion, the silver-tongued seducer runs the risk of becoming caught in his own snare.
As Lucie tries to out-manoeuvre Tristan in the boardroom and the bedchamber, she soon discovers there’s truth in what the poets say: all is fair in love and war…
‘A Rogue of One’s Own’ is Evie Dunmore’s sublime offering to contemporary women readers who have always scrabbled for brave, against-the-grain heroines righteously pushing for justified causes—count me in there.
Meticulously researched and so unusual in pitching a narrative smack in the middle of a time period where a minority of passionate women who wouldn’t just standby and pay lip service to women’s rights, it’s easy to like Dunmore’s story just for the fascinating mix of politics, societal norms and business dealings alone.
In spite of this being a romance, the star of the show really, is Lucie Tedbury, a character so admirably ahead of her time: she is intentionally fashioned so that she soundly resonates with the woke, highly feminist crowd of contemporary society, and serves at the same time, as a reminder of how far we’ve come in 2 centuries. Her struggles and her indefatigable fight for women’s rights inevitably raise the comparison of how we live today—not to say that inequality has been fully stamped out—as women’s rights to vote or even to matriculate (all the things she stands for) aren’t quite called into question any more in the civilised world (we can only hope).
The fear of compromising these values that have defined Lucie for a majority of her life emerges later in the book, and perhaps this is probably the most poignant bit that would be met with empathy and nods of understanding—again, probably amongst a particular demographic today that still devours romantic fiction and wants that escape from drudgery. Independent, fiercely well-spoken and so, so sharp a sword in the midst of blunt blades, Lucie carries the narrative single-handedly almost, even if ‘A Rogue of One’s Own’ is nonetheless, a historical romance.
Pinning Tristan Ballentine down is a lot harder in contrast, in the way he seems to vacillate between the ‘useless’ fool who does things without a care and the sharply manipulative, intense, almost-crazed man with single-minded drive to get what he wants. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the ‘virgin and rake’ trope that’s still rampant in historical fiction and the irony is that it’s within this feminist historical romance that this has been written into—more so with an ending that felt a bit rushed and somewhat unconvincing because I could never quite take a shine to Tristan at all.
If I came to ‘A Rogue of One’s Own’ for the sake of its fascinating blurb, I stayed for Lucie to the end. My enthusiasm waned slightly especially when I couldn’t quite buy into a pairing that didn’t feel quite like one that I could root, but all things considered given its highly contemporary and debatable subject matter, Dunmore has written something definitely too unique not to be memorable.