[Trigger warning for lack of consent, sexual assault]
I received an advanced reader copy of this book from Avon. It was published on September 25, 2012. It is the third in a series. I reviewed the second in the series, How to Be a Proper Lady, in July.
Beautiful Diantha Lucas understands society’s rules: a young lady must find a man to marry. But Diantha has a bigger goal and she’s not afraid of plunging into adventure to achieve it. When daring, dashing Wyn Yale rescues her, she’s certain he’s just the man she needs.
As an agent for the secret Falcon Club, Wyn knows his duty, but he’s not about to admit he’s a hero of any sort. He has a plan too: steal a prized horse, murder an evil duke, avenge an innocent girl, and probably get hung for it—in that order. Wyn can’t afford to be distracted by a pretty face, even one with delectable dimples and kissable lips. But how can a country miss and hardened spy solve their problems when they can’t keep their hands off each other?
Diantha is on a journey to find her mother. Her mother left four years ago, when Diantha was 15. She went without warning and Diantha does not understand why. What she does believe is that her mother has gone to France and is possibly running a brothel there. Diantha imagines her mother as a “wayward, wicked woman” and that she, too, is possibly one due to genetics.
Mr. Wyn Yale is, as Ashe describes him, a “penniless third son of a Welsh squire of little land and less wit” and “something of a specialist at returning runaway girls” in his role in the Falcon Club. The Club is “a small, secret organization dedicated to returning lost persons of distinction to their homes.” A mission gone wrong years earlier has left Wyn seeking alcohol to manage his emotions and fearing any woman who puts her trust in him. After Diantha has turned to Wyn in hopes that he will help her with her adventure he thinks, “God help Diantha Lucas for seeing a hero where none stood.”
Wyn tries VERY hard to push Diantha away, even as she tries very hard to get closer to him. As he tells her at one point, he has her best interests at heart and “those best interests do not include me.” And yet, of course, he is incredibly attracted to her. After they kiss for the first time Ashe writes:
He saw a flash of her pink tongue and wanted it wrapped around every inch of his body – several inches in particular. He wanted her here, beneath him in the straw and damn every scruple, rule, and plan he’d had for the past five years. Ten. Fifteen. The way Diantha Lucas made him feel was far from gentlemanly. He needed to be inside her.
The book is their travels across England, she believing they are making their way to the coast for her to catch a ship across the Channel, Wyn desperately trying to figure out how to thwart her without her knowing. They must contend with elements of Wyn’s past: an enemy who is on their tails, a legacy he doesn’t want, and the ghosts of that failed mission from years before.
Diantha continually pushes Wyn for more intimacy, then, in a drunken state (worse than normal, at least) he nearly attacks her, and she must throw him off. She thinks he was trying to teach her a lesson about harassing him but he just wanted to have sex with her and was overly aggressive about it. It’s a HARD scene to read because, of the two characters, I like Wyn much more. But then suddenly he was a drunken predator and I hated him. And then Diantha says the next day that she shares some of the blame for his attack because she encouraged him. He asks for her forgiveness and she replied “if you can forgive yourself we shall call it even.” Ugh with situations like this. I know that consent between two people in a relationship is not going to always be black and white and that fuzziness is a reality. But I have a hard time reading scenes where the male protagonist steps clearly over the consent line and then the female protagonist dismisses it. How am I supposed to like either one? Wyn does give up alcohol after this and that causes a major shift in his personality, one that shows that he 1) was as disturbed by that scene as anyone else and 2) does not want anything close to that to happen again. And it doesn’t.
Their flirtations and desire do not ebb. And eventually they consummate their relationship. But then their adventure comes to an abrupt end. What happens in the rest of the book is not something I want to give away. It is the best part of the book, though. I think that this may be true for a few reasons: 1) I was used to Diantha by this point. I found her trying as a character and it took me a long time to simply give in to her headstrong, stubborn personality. While I normally appreciate that kind of female protagonist, in this book, that behavior just came off as willfully difficult without much purpose. But by the time we reach the last quarter of the book, I had come to just accept this about her. 2) Secrets were finally revealed. 3) They save each other.
In the end, I enjoyed a fair amount of this book at the same time that I found large chunks to be tedious.
I give How A Lady Weds a Rogue 3 out of 5 stars.
Purchase it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book People, Book Passage, Boulder Book Store, Brookline Booksmith, Changing Hands Bookstore, Harvard Book Store, iBook, Indiebound, Kepler’s, Kobo, Politics and Prose, Porter Square Books, Powell’s, Schuler Books, Sony, Square Books, Tattered Cover