The Irish Rogue by Emma Jensen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Emma Jensen is one of those authors who's not writing anymore, and I mourn her absence. She knows how to write a very involving, enjoyable love story. The dialogue is excellent, and the chemistry between Christor and Ailis was outstanding. There were moments that got downright steamy, although this is definitely a sweet romance. It's all about description of feelings and the way the couple interacts that gives a book a steam factor for this reader. And some pretty sizzling kissing scenes. Ms. Jensen brought some fire into this traditional regency romance.
Let me apologize in advance. There are words that have Gaelic accents, and I'm unable to do that in this review. I hate to murder this lovely language, but I sort of have to, in this case. This is a hard book to rate. It veered into five star territory several times, but then it jumped over to four and 1/2 star region. I think the reason that it wasn't a five star book for me, is when the tone shifted abruptly to social comedy. I do love that about regency-set romances, but the way the scenes would go from more intense couple scenes to social comedy was a bit too jarring to me. But I have to admit, she had me laughing at the slyly humorous descriptions of the members of Dublin high society.
Christor was an awesome hero. He's sexy, dangerous, intense, but also intelligent, and principled. He is the kind of hero I like to see in Regency romance. He is showed as a masculine, attractive figure without having to be a skirtchaser to get that image across. He's had women in the past. Of course. But his list of conquests does not need to be waved in the reader's face to show his appeal. He's a noble aristocrat, but he's down to earth, and genuinely cares about all people. His pursuit of Ailis really kept my interest. And boy, could the man kiss!
Ailis was the kind of heroine you like, but at times, can be annoying. She was a little bit judgmental towards Christor. She pegged him as another Anglo-Irish aristocrat who wouldn't know the real Ireland if it hit him with a frying pan. She's very proud of her Gaelic-Irish roots, and is fairly snooty about it (in a reverse sort of way). That was the only issue I had with her, really. Of course, she has to go barreling off to get into trouble at the climax, but it's sort of expected in a trad regency, isn't it? I liked that she started loving Christor for himself, and didn't compare him to An Cu for very long. She soon realized that the traits she found so appealing about her masked adventurer, were traits that Lord Clane (Christor) had. Kudos to her for that. My somewhat mixed feeling about Ailis is another reason this wasn't quite a five star book for me.
If you are an admirer of Irish/Gaelic culture, you will love this book. This turned out to be the perfect book to read in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Although I am Black American, I have a strong Irish heritage that I am very proud of. This book resonated with me in how it showed aspects of Ireland that I don't get to see very much in Regency romance. I believe that Ms. Jensen did a great job in infusing these elements into this romance, and they added another level of appeal and flavor to this story.
If you are a fan of books with a hero in disguise, and masked adventurers, you'll enjoy this one. Although I don't go out my way to read highwayman/bandit books, I enjoy a well-written one, and I'd suggest this book if someone asked for a recommendation. An Cu/Christor is the type of bandit that you would want to sweep onto his horse and carry you away into the night, kissing you senseless the whole while.
So, all in all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read, for numerous reasons. Another winner by Emma Jensen, who I wish would please come back to writing romances.
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5.0 stars.
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