Fiction: “A Rogue’s Game” by Renee Bernard

Renee Bernard is relatively new to the romance scene. I read her first novel, A Lady’s Pleasure a couple of years ago, and this title had been sitting on my shelf for a couple of months. I clearly still needed some easy brain food. However, I would have read this quicker if I hadn’t had the need for a ‘lunch break book’ — I’ve been reading two books at a time for a while now, because typically, there is one title I can’t bring to work and read in public without being teased about my reading choice. So stay tuned for the review of the ‘lunch break book,’ The Pirates! In an Adventure With Communists, coming soon!

But I digress. Apparently, Ms. Bernard turned A Lady’s Pleasure into a trilogy (as romance authors are wont to do), taking characters from her first book and spinning them off into their own stories. A Rogue’s Game is the story of Lord Julian Clay, the Earl of Westleigh (he may not be called ‘Lord’; I can’t be bothered to verify this, however, so we’re going to just go with it), who was the supposed villain in A Lady’s Pleasure. Also apparently, there was a second book between Pleasure and Rogue’s Game that I was unaware of; the good thing about this type of trilogy, however, is that you don’t need to read them in order. At all. ANYWAY. Lord Julian Clay, who is a bit of a rogue, has fallen on his luck. He’s losing at card games and depending on the kindness of rich friends to allow him to stay through the Season.

Meanwhile, the lovely Eve Reynolds (as all heroines are determined to be lovely) has arrived in London with her uncle, Warren Reynolds. Uncle Warren is passing himself off as a wealthy industrialist, but really, he’s a gambler. Or, rather, he’s a poor gambler, relying on his niece Eve to win the real money at friendly card games with sweet old ladies. Eve wants to escape her uncle’s life, so she is betting (and winning) jewelry and other baubles, hoping to cash them in eventually with enough money to escape.

And then, she meets Julian. And Julian meets her.

Their courtship is fiery. What I (kinda) like about Ms. Bernard’s stories is that the characters do not play by the same Regency rules: normally, the woman would remain chaste as long as possible. Not Eve (and not Merriam, the protagonist from Lady’s Pleasure). She’s very modern in her depiction, going after she wants and damn the consequences.

I can get behind that.

Grade for A Rogue’s Game: 2 stars


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