…another Company of Rogues book in my trip down memory lane…
Simon St. Bride, man of mystery! He’s the Rogue who’s hardly been mentioned in the previous books except to say that he’s in Canada. Where in Canada? York, which is now Toronto. What’s he been doing there? Fighting in the War of 1812, then attempting to tidy things up afterward. Now it’s 1816 and time to return to England, but a duel and an unwanted wedding get in the way. Then someone really tries to kill him.
The Rogue’s Return, the 12th book in the “Company of Rogues” collection introduces us to Simon St. Bride – a Rogue that has been referred to but we haven’t met, as he has been out of the country. Simon was sent to Canada, specifically York, (which is now known as Toronto) to accomplish many things. He fought in the War of 1812 and then was involved in tidying things up in the aftermath of the war. He is gathering evidence of misappropriation of funds at the Indian Affairs Department and hoping that something will be done about what he considers a shameful situation. Days before he is due to return to England he is challenged to a duel by the man he suspects is the embezzler. Because of a strange set of circumstances he is forced to marry Jane (Jancy) Otterburn, his mentor’s niece. This creates a sticky situation for both of our primary characters; Simon is a member of the aristocracy and he will be bringing Jane (who is not) home to his family. Jane is hiding secrets that could prove to be the undoing of her if she is found out. She lives in fear of just that as she comes to love her husband quite dearly.
This book provides many positive aspects. We are provided with many scenes that provide interesting historical information. This is of particular interest as “The Rogue’s Return” is the only book that is set in Canada – quite a departure from the glam and glitter of Regency England! This particular story isn’t one of the action packed ones but rather a slow, gentle and sweet development of romance that charms the reader. We are given another glimpse into the life of Hal Beaumont – one of the Company of Rogues who lost an arm in the war and loves a woman far less suitable than Jane. The inclusion of Hal and Blanche provide a much needed perspective to the the problems of the lead couple.
Although I was happy to read yet another Rogue book, I felt that this particular novel was a bit off. The first third of the book deals with Simon’s life in Canada, his duel and subsequent marriage of Jane (Jancy). It seemed odd to me that Simon had to be involved in the duel and then had to marry Jane (Jancy). I felt the connecting points to be thin. The middle third of the book covers their boat ride back to England and although there was some tension around whether or not the embezzler is on board, it is also a rather sedate furthering of the couple’s relationship – their learning more about each other. The last third of the book deals with an unexpected loss in Simon’s family and the discovery of the identity of the villian. This part had alot of action packed into a small period of time. It seemed to rush the book to it’s end.
The Romance Reader shares my opinion. They gave this book 4 stars and say the following: “The Rogue’s Return has earned four hearts because the writing is superior to that in many other romance novels and the character development is particularly strong. Nevertheless, this is not a unqualified recommendation, and other readers may find themselves sharing my exasperation over Jancy and her secrets.”
The Rogue’s Return can be purchased from Amazon