15 March, 2016

The Rogue You Know by Shana Galen

Length: 353 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2015)
Date: September 1, 2015
Sold by: Amazon
Series: Covent Garden Cubs (Book 2)
Sexual Content: 4-5
Language: mild


She's beyond his reach...
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London's dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society's most untouchable women, Lady Susanna Derring.

...and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London's glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother, and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it's too late. But as she descends into London's underworld, she finds that nothing - not even Gideon - is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she's willing to pay...for the love of a reformed thief.


Mixed reviews about this 'free for a time' second installment in Shana Galen's Covent Gardens series. And, maybe I should have read the first novel prior to reading this one, too.

However, it wasn't a horrible read and was actually written quite well, but with continuity issues.

For me, when a sheltered woman who spent her entire life under the thumb of oppression suddenly and without much provocation does a complete turn-about, it irks me.

To have that same woman behave as if she came from an entirely different past with an entirely different set of circumstances at her disposal in order to behave like someone who lived a completely different life just doesn't make any sense to me.

At all.

Where do the bravado and gumption suddenly come from, I wonder? Who is this staunch Independent Thinker and why did she possess this once-mousy Wallflower?

The yearning for things like love, freedom, acceptance, and even sympathetic understanding are all viable, but the way in which an oppressed woman from the early Nineteenth Century goes about obtaining those things is not as cut and dry as the author would like us (or assumes) to believe.

Where is the fear, the guilt, the shame, and the doubt when Susanna hears gossip about her overbearing mother, so she takes it upon herself to visit Covent Gardens to find the answers to something that may or may not have even occurred twenty years ago?

And, what would she expect to find after all that time?

How is chatting up a home invader who just happens to know her sister-in-law an acceptable practice for one raised the way Susanna was raised? How is it possible for someone like her to order the thief about and demand that he accompany her to Covent Garden on a whim, after dark, and without a clue as to the workings of the 'outside' world?

I don't mind at all that Susanna comes from breeding and Gideon does not. I don't mind at all that these two might fall in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together. Heck, I don't even mind that Susanna fled that house and went on an adventure for the first time ever.

I just mind the personality conflict and total erasure of twenty years' worth of mindset that went out that door with her.

She spent 48 hours away from her mother and never once thought about the woman or how much trouble she might be in as a result of her far-fetched scheme to visit the Gardens and find out about that mother's mysterious past.

It was uncharacteristic and doesn't comply with being oppressed your whole life by domineering and heartless parents.

Gideon and Susanna together wasn't such an awful thing, and love-at-first-sight on his part doesn't bother me a whole lot. What confounds me time and again is how a woman of that caliber and upbringing can allow a man like him to be that forward and touch happy with her person.

In hovels and dark, musty cellars crawling with rats no less.

The author confused the two, I think, in having us believe that it was Gideon who fell in love first and not so much Susanna, who rarely offered us a glimpse of her inner feelings for anyone other than herself.

And yet she gave him far more than any woman of that period would give, and to a veritable stranger, whom she had no qualms about running off with, trusting implicitly, and naively assuming she'd be safe with the entire time.

All because she had the necklace he had stolen and wanted to run off with, change his entire persona after cashing in on, and never returning to London again.

Gideon as a street rat with some seasoned theft skills was believable, and his character was well-developed in my mind. Even a tad on the sexy side, but with some personality and fight-skill deficiencies that went against the grain of all things Romantic Hero.

Not that the hero needs to be perfect.

Gideon just wasn't the dashing type, nor was he the robust warrior type. He was a common thief with a half-conscience yearning for a different way of life, and that was his only redeeming quality.

Bottom line: easy read and somewhat enjoyable in the it's different category of Regency Romance, but more care needs to be taken in the development of personality traits, the era, and the sub plot about why it was so important for Susanna to discover the story of her past.

Even though these are labeled as stand-alone, I would recommend reading in order anyway. I, for one, became easily distracted by the introduction of the two leads from the first novel and kept wondering about them throughout this second in the series. "Would it make better sense if I'd read the first one first?" kind of thing that might have worked against my thoroughly enjoying this second novel.

Follows Earls Just Want to Have Fun and precedes I Kissed a Rogue.

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