So I’m still sick (seriously, I think I came down with the plague… this chest cold / allergy attack / sinus infection — whatever the hell it is — just won’t go away), but I really wanted to get a post up today so I could gush about something completely unrelated to the book I’m about to discuss. My sister brought a beautiful baby boy into the world yesterday. I’m going to have so much fun spoiling my nephew. (He’s such a cutie patooty.)
Right. On with the review.
The publisher’s blurb, courtesy of Goodreads:
Even the most proper young lady yearns for adventure. But when the very well bred Miss Sarah Clarke-Townsend impulsively takes the place of her pregnant twin, it puts her own life at risk. If the kidnappers after her sister discover they’ve abducted Sarah instead, she will surely pay with her life…
Rob Carmichael survived his disastrous family by turning his back on his heritage and becoming a formidable Bow Street Runner with a talent for rescuing damsels in distress. But Sarah is one damsel who is equal to whatever comes. Whether racing across Ireland with her roguish rescuer or throwing herself into his arms, she challenges Rob at every turn.
This book struck me as being well written but not necessarily well crafted. It had complete sentences and deft descriptions that provided enough detail but not so much that I was distracted by it. It had a fast-paced adventure story that was entertaining. It had a romance. But it didn’t put all these elements together all that well, and it didn’t have much in the way of character development. As a result, though I was entertained by the adventure story, I didn’t see the point of it.
Rob and Sarah seemed to passively float through the adventure and the subsequent settling-in at Rob’s run-down estate; they didn’t actively participate in the story, changing and being changed by each other, the external forces at work, etc. They were cardboard cut outs that kissed when it was right for the pacing of the story, not when it was right for them as characters. It was a little bit disturbing, to be honest.
Also, there were times when I felt like I was reading one of Stephanie Laurens’ more recent books, except that this book didn’t have any supremely weird sex scenes (for which I am thankful), and Rob was not quite a Laurens-style hero. It was the adventure that did it: a kidnapping plot–foiled by a dashing rescue–and the characters scampering about the countryside ducking villains at every turn.
Lastly, this book did not entirely work as a standalone story. Many of the facts that establish these characters and enable one to comprehend why they are doing what they are doing are based in previous books in this series, and Putney did not put a lot of effort into bringing new readers up to speed. I spent much of the book confused by the characters, but folk who have read the other books in the series might like this one just fine.
One element that I did very much enjoy was the relationship between Rob and his grandmother, because their relationship actually developed over the course of the story (and because I love me a snarky old-lady character, and our introduction to Rob’s grandmother is with her poking his unconscious body rather disdainfully with her cane. Is it weird that I loved that snippet of the scene?).
I wish I had picked a different first Mary Jo Putney book to read. From the reviews that I’ve very briefly scanned on Goodreads, it seems that her earlier books might be way more up my alley than this one was. Have any of you read a Mary Jo Putney book that you can recommend?
Sometimes a Rogue was released on August 27, 2013 as a paperback and e-book by Zebra, an imprint of Kensington Books. For more information about the book, please click on the cover image above to visit the book’s page on Goodreads. To learn more about Mary Jo Putney, please visit her website.
*FTC Disclosure – I received an e-galley from Zebra via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*