Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tuesday Review: How a Lady Weds a Rogue

How a Lady Weds a Rogue
Falcon Club #3
By Katharine Ashe
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 25, 2012

Diantha Lucas may be headstrong and troublesome, but she’s wise enough to know that traveling in a public coach without even a maid jeopardizes both her reputation and her physical safety. Her carefully constructed plan to visit her scandalous mother in Calais while the rest of her family thought her visiting a school friend hit a snag when Annie, the friend’s maid who was to accompany Diantha on her adventure, abandoned her for adventures of her own with a handsome farm lad and his interesting muscles. Diantha needs a hero, and just as she is realizing how rare heroes are, she recognizes one of her fellow passengers as a gentleman who has already proved himself not just a generic hero but her particular hero.

Whatever anyone else may think, Wyn Yale knows that he’s no hero. Fortunately, he is an expert at rescuing and returning runaway girls. Such tasks have become his specialty in his work for the Falcon Club. Wyn has to see a man about a horse, and then he plans to end his career by killing that man, a duke whose lies and licentiousness were behind the death of one runaway Wyn could not save. For five years, he has gone about his business for the Falcon Club, using alcohol as a sedative to enable him to tolerate the pain and guilt of his failure. But once he recognizes Diantha as the sister-in-law of one of his closest friends, he understands that his mission will be delayed until he can return her to her family. 

Wyn soon discovers that returning Diantha before she has achieved her goal is far more difficult than he suspected. He doesn’t doubt his ability to do so, but he understands that this job will be more challenging than any other he has encountered. Thus, the two begin a journey together, equal in their determination that the journey end according to their very different plans. They are joined by a motley collection of strays that Diantha charms and befriends, and the journey is complicated by Wyn’s struggle to stay just sober enough to stay in control, by those in pursuit of Wyn, and by the spark between Diantha and Wyn that threatens to ignite at every touch.

Ashe has given readers two completely engaging characters in Diantha and Wyn. Most readers will recognize that the innocent beauty with a kind heart, and an underappreciated intelligence whose naïveté adds to her charm as a romance heroine who perhaps made her first appearance in novels by Georgette Heyer. Diantha is a delightful example, true to type and yet appealing as an individual. Despite some grim elements in her history, she possesses a contagious joy that lightens Wyn’s darkness and touches the reader. The silver-eyed Wyn with his formidable intelligence is a tortured hero par excellence, and his Welsh background is a bonus. My favorite part of the book was the time they spent in Wyn’s home in Wales.

For all its lightness (and there are some deliciously humorous moments), the story deals with substantive issues such as alcoholism, the nature of heroism, and the self-sacrificial element in love.

How a Lady Weds a Rogue can be read as a standalone. Readers new to Ashe should have no difficulty following Diantha and Wyn’s story, but fans of the series will be pleased to see characters from earlier books make brief appearances. The continued exchange of letters between Lady Justice and Peregrine is almost interesting enough to distract one from the main plot, and Lady Constance grows more intriguing in this book. I’m eager to see where Ashe goes next with this series.

I seem to have read a large number of books recently that combine humor and darkness. Do you prefer your romances dark or light? Or are you persuaded that the best books are those that evoke both tears and laughter?


quantum said...

Thanks for this most informative review Janga.

I had a look at Ashe's bio and was fascinated to learn that she is a professor of European history and during her PhD while studying in the Vatican, in her own words: " I furtively filled my laptop with steamy chapters about a heretic priestess and the inquisitor-knight to whom she burns to surrender."

I really must try one of her books, especially if she has locations in Wales .... I love the Welsh mountains and beaches! LOL

On the whole I am persuaded that the best books are those that evoke both tears and laughter. As long as the humour has the last laugh with a HEA.

Great review of Novak's Whiskey Creek books. 'When Lighning Strikes' is in the current audible audio book sale for a fiver. I just bought it.

irisheyes said...

I like the books with the angst and the humor. It tends to reflect real life moreso than the constant drama or the funny, witty comment out of every character's mouth.

I have yet to read a book by Katharine Ashe. Maybe this is a good place to start.

I, too, read the Whiskey Creek free novella and purchased the first in the series. I really liked the novella. I want to read more about Olivia and Brandon, but will settle for diving into Gail and Simon's story.

Janga said...

Q, I hope you like the Whiskey Creek books.

I've read all of Ashe's books, and I like this one the best. Not that the others haven't been interesting books, but these characters had such great appeal for me. I'll be interested in your response to them.

Janga said...

Irish, I'm hoping that Olivia and Brandon will make an appearance later in the series. I know there is at least one more book in the series. If Novak follows the pattern of her Dundee, Idaho series, we can look for several more.

I think HALWAR is a good place to start with Ashe, but once you do, you may want to read her backlist. Her world is a connected one, and that's true not merely for the books within this series.