Sunday, May 25, 2014

Review: The Rogue's Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

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So many things have happened to Lord Lukas Hawkins in such a short period of time. First, his mother has mysteriously disappeared. Then, he discovers that he was the product of an adulterous relationship between his mother and a neighbor.

Such revelations are enough to drive any man to drink, but Luke's drinking problems started long before that ... and we wondered why. This is his story.

Luke has always felt the need to prove himself to his older brother, the Duke of Trent, and has always fallen short of his own expectations, leading him into a downward spiral of disappointment and dejection. Now he sees an opportunity to redeem himself and has asked to take on the investigation into their mother's disappearance. He has been following a series of clues that has sent him to Cardiff, then to Bristol, looking for information about Roger Morton, a man who is connected to the Duchess's disappearance.

Emma Curtis is also looking for Roger Morton, who is responsible for her husband's death and her family's loss of fortune and subsequent decline. When she hears that Lord Lukas Hawkins is looking for Morton, she approaches him with an offer: she will help him find Morton, but he must bring her along.

Emma possesses vital information that could lead Lukas to his mother, so he agrees -- even offering his own (quite scandalous) counter-proposal to his beautiful new traveling companion, which Emma refuses, telling Lukas that they would never have "relations" ...

One will notice in Luke's conversation how much value he places on the idea of good: being good enough, being too good for someone like him, etc. Luke projects the image of confidence and indifference, but his insides are being gnawed by fear and insecurity that stems from his childhood and the abuse he suffered from his "father", the former Duke of Trent. Even Emma comments on the irony of their situation: Luke believes Emma is too good for a rogue like him, but it is Emma, in her straitened situation, who is actually not good enough for a duke's heir.

... "I want you, Emma. I have since that first night. Every single night, my body is an inferno burning just for you. And every night I deny it. Every night I suffer. Will you beg> Will you relieve my suffering?"

Her throat was dry. She squeezed her eyes shut because she couldn't bear to gaze into the blue fire of his. Soon, that fire would consume her. "I ... I don't know."

"Don't do it," he whispered, his breath whispering over her lips. He brushed her lips with his gently as he continued. "I'm not good enough for you. Angels aren't meant for devils."

"I'm no angel," she whispered, "and you're no devil." ...
- Chapter 5

Emma is also dealing with her own insecurity: she married a man who she thought loved and valued her, only to realize (too late) that he was after her money. She had been married three months and it was a disaster from day one. She feels she is responsible for what happened to her family's fortune, and now intends to rectify the situation. She knows that Luke desires her, and it surprises her. She had one experience with a man, observed the proper courtship, and married him. She believed she had chosen her late husband carefully, but later discovers that she had fooled her (and her family). Now, Emma finds it difficult to accept that anyone could want her, want to be with her, and love her.

What a naive, stupid little girl she'd been. So taken with a handsome and dashing Henry Curtis. He had a curricle like this one, but smaller and even more dangerous. Riding in it had made her feel so reckless and wild, so brazen. The first time he'd taken her riding in Hyde park and kissed her behind an elm tree, she'd been so breathless and excited she'd nearly swooned.

She wasn't that girl anymore.
- Chapter 3

This is a story of two people seeking redemption, and, in the process of finding it, find something greater: love and acceptance. I admire how Emma handled Luke's alcohol problem. In the beginning, she paid attention to his habit, but didn't push or pry too much. When they reached a certain point in their relationship, Emma drew the line and was able to help Luke manage his addiction. In the beginning, she had used her body as a means of distraction, but, it was actually when she didn't allow Luke into her bed, that awakened Luke from his stupor.

"Em," he said softly, "the drunken version of me is so much better than the nightmare version."

"The best part of you is the real you. Not the you that has been dulled and subdued by drink."
- Chapter 14

I felt sorry for Luke and what he suffered at the hands of the old Duke. It was very brave of him to bear it silently -- that none of his siblings would know or feel what he was going through. Luke always believed he was evil, that he was bad ... but, in truth, Luke possesses such an amazing heart. Despite all that he had gone through, he still stands up for the weak and defends the defenseless. He tries his best not to hurt the people around him. I think it is a reflection of Luke's character how he comes to visit Bertram at the asylum every month. For most, Bertram would be considered an extraneous variable. He served his purpose in the first book, and should, by all accounts, be forgotten already ... but Luke has not forgotten about Bertram and sees him as someone with value.

Their love story runs alongside the search for Roger Morton and the Duchess of Trent. As I mentioned in my review of the first book, I love how Haymore has expanded this mystery ... Like a pebble dropped in a pond, the ripples of one simple action has spread wider: where is the Dowager Duchess now? Who is she with? And why? I look forward to The Scoundrel's Seduction, which will be released on May 27.

To find out more about Jennifer Haymore and her books, click below:


  1. I loved the first book in this series. I really need to get myself all good and caught up. It sounds like a wonderful addition :)

  2. Hi! The second book is much better-written, I think. ^_^

    I'm kinda glad I delayed reading this series, because now I only have to wait a week before reading Sam's story. ^_^

  3. Lovely Review! This is one of my favorite series, and I really loved Lukas' Story. It was riveting and emotional. I loved seeing these characters together. I really enjoyed this one, not my favorite book of the series, but a very enjoyable romance.



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