Friday, 25 July 2014

Review: Rogue with a Brogue - Suzanne Enoch*

A Rogue For Every Lady
London, 1817: Stuck in a Mayfair ballroom, thanks to his lovestruck brother, Highlander Arran MacLawry wants nothing but a bit of distraction from an arranged betrothal—and a clever auburn-haired lass in a vixen's mask promises just that . . . until he discovers that she's the granddaughter of the Campbell, chief of clan MacLawry's longtime rival. Despite their families' grudging truce, falling for fiery Mary Campbell is a notion too outlandish even for this Highlander…
The Thrill Of The Forbidden
Raised on tales of savage MacLawrys, Mary is stunned to realize the impressively strapping man in the fox's mask is one of them. Surely the enemy shouldn't have such a broad chest, and such a seductive brogue? Not that her curiosity matters—any dalliance between them is strictly forbidden, and she's promised to another. But with the crackling spark between them ready to catch flame, love is worth every risk…

It wasn't until starting Rogue with a Brogue that I realised how long it's been since I've read a historical romance, and boy am I glad that I started again.

Rogue is the second in Enoch's new Highland Regency series, Scandalous Highlanders, and is the first I've read but it certainly won't be the last. Rogue tells the story of the second son of Glengask, Arran MacLawry, who has come down to London to save his brother from the Sassenach influence he's surely under (the tale of the first in the series The Devil Wears Kilts). Whilst there Arran meets the enchanting granddaughter of the chief of his clan's sworn enemy, The Campbell's. Arran and Mary are essentially a Highland Romeo and Juliet - albeit a lot more mature and rational - they know they can't be together and yet they cannot resist their mutual attraction. What ensues is an enjoyable romp through eighteenth century Britain as the couple seek to find a way to be together.

As I've said, Arran and Mary have the touch of the star-crossed lovers about them but they are a lot more together. First meeting at a masked ball, Arran is instantly entranced by the mysterious vixen he dances with but it is clearly and most definitely lust and not love that he feels for his masked partner. I really loved the development of the character's relationship, from the start their dialogue sparks and the growing attachment they feel for one another, growing from lust to love, is a real joy to read. Arran, the stalwart protective beta of his clan comes alive in Mary's company and for herself, Mary really comes into her own becoming a heroine that learns to fend for herself, chase what she wants and claim her life as her own. Arran and Mary's journey, both figurative and literal, really is a romp  - boisterous, full of laughs and misadventure.

The supporting cast to the novel are also wonderful, I became particularly attached to loyal sidekicks Peter and Howard and can only hope that they return later in the series. As for the MacLawry clan, we didn't really get to see much of younger sister Winnie who has her own adventure in Enoch's third instalment, Mad, Bad and Dangerous in Plaid (I am loving Enoch's titles for this series by the way), but she's featured just enough to piqué my interest, as is younger brother Munro who's story surely isn't far away.

I thoroughly enjoyed Enoch's Rogue with a Brogue, however, there are a few small details that are holding it off that coveted five star spot for me. Firstly, the constant anti-English sentiment offered by Arran occasionally goes too far for my tastes and is, thankfully, not all that accurate and exaggerated by Enoch for the benefit of her story. Secondly, the accent that Enoch writes for Arran and his kin is constant, erroneous and gets really frustrating to read after a while - so much so that after a time I just did my best to ignore it. These are merely personal catches to the novel though and I would definitely not let these prevent me from reading more of Enoch's promising new series.

If you're a fan of the tartan clad hero and the outspoken heroine who have some undeniable chemistry then Rogue with a Brogue is definitely for you and well worth a read.

*ARC received in return for an honest review, Rogue with a Brogue is published by St. Martin's Press and is available from July 29th 

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