The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden.
It’s no love match…
Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar.
It’s not even the match that was made…
Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter.
But could it be the perfect match?
Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…
Loved this start to a new series!
About a Rogue definitely has a bit of a Taming of the Shrew vibe to it, with a father with one “sweet, obedient” daughter and another who’s a bit more…opinionated. (The two sisters actually have the same names, though they’re reversed–here Cathy’s the older but sweet sister, and Bianca’s the fiery younger one and our heroine–so I’m not sure if she was purposefully invoking Shakespeare’s work or if it was coincidental.) Cathy has a beau, though he’s been a bit of non-starter until her father offers her hand to another as part of a business deal; then a fire is suddenly lit under both of them (though it’s up to Bianca to actually put together an elopement plan–apparently the two of them were just going to leave immediately, and hope for the best?)
Long story short–Cathy goes AWOL on her wedding day, but her father has already given (his choice of) her perspective groom 25% of the family business, so Bianca ends up married to Max, a former gambler who is current third in line to a dukedom and trying to make something of himself. It’s somehow both not quite as mercenary as it seems and *exactly* as mercenary as it seems…
…and then the fun begins! Max is actually a good guy, though a good guy with secrets–it seems all he was waiting for was a chance to make something of himself and now he’s going to throw everything he has into the project. And of course Bianca’s passion for her family business (heck, just her passion in general!) draws him to her almost from the start.
Bianca, though, is not having any of it. She sees him as a money-grabbing opportunist and isn’t willing to give him an inch…except that he does start to show some business acumen. And he is willing to listen to her ideas, not just her father’s. And goodness, is it just her, or does the temperature of every room he’s in seem to elevate, just a little…? 😉
The banter in this book between the two of them was wonderful; I had such a good time watching the two of them fall in love. Their black moment came from a completely unexpected source (seriously, I did *not* see that coming at all!) but is resolved in a most satisfactory way, without too much fuss. The ending leaves us with one heck of a teaser–where *is* the captain who is first in line for the dukedom?–and the novella at the end gives us a secondary romance as well as sweet look at Bianca and Max’s relationship from another angle.
All in all I am counting the days until the next book–write fast, please, Ms Linden!
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.