ARC Review: When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

Release Date: January 21, 2014
When the Rogue Returns
by Sabrina Jeffries
Book 2 of The Duke's Men Series

3 stars

Sabrina Jeffries for me is right there next to Lisa Kleypas, Stephanie Laurens, Celeste Bradley and Julia Quinn. These are my favorite historical romance authors. When I'm in the mood for some whimsy and Pride & Prejudice-style romance, I grab whatever books I have by them. Sadly this one didn't measure up to my expectations.

Spoilers ahead, please be warned..! I'll do my best to be careful and hide them all.

Ok. So. What's lacking for me is the romance part of the story. I loved the premise and the promise of a second chance at love. However, I think too much time was spent on Isa blaming herself, Victor being suspicious of Isa, and basically the two of them not trusting each other [spoiler alert] despite repeatedly saying that they are still in love with each other. The one step forward, two steps back jig in itself was already annoying. Add to that the repetitive thoughts of "He doesn't trust me", and "You don't trust me!", made me want to yell at them both.

I was also looking for more emotion in the story. Their history was already perfectly set for it! Isa and Victor were young and newly married when they were conned by Isa's scheming sister and brother in law. She was made to think he abandoned her, he was made to think she did the same thing. Both were also made to believe the other had a hand in assisting Jacoba and Gerhart in stealing the royal diamonds.

It's not surprising that it took 10 years before they met again. By that time, the Duke's Men are already in the picture and Isa had escaped her selfish, thieving relatives.

What I did like was that the lies were quickly uncovered and the facts were settled once Isa and Victor had a talk. It wasn't drawn out. I thought it should happen that way because really, once they start accusing each other of their supposed abandonment and theft, it would be very obvious that they were both fooled by Jacoba and Gerhart. They'd know right away. So I was glad it only took one conversation to clear that up.

I also like the supporting characters very much! Rupert is a clueless, guileless man but a real sweetheart. [spoiler alert] It's so cute how he thought he should impress Isa with gifts and courtship in hopes that she would mention it to the young lady to whom he was truly crushing on *so cute!* 
The Duke's Men LOL! (you'll get this too if you read the first book) men at Manton's Investigations were also fun to read whenever they appeared. Oh, do take a look at the blurb for the 3rd book! It will be Tristan's turn with Lady Zoe. Their first encounter happened here in When the Rogue Returns and it was really funny!

I really wish I could give higher than 3 stars for this book just because it's Sabrina Jeffries. However, seeing that it's averaging more than 4 stars, I see that I'm in the minority. :) Other readers may enjoy this much more than I did.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo


Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talents for creating exquisite imitation jewels criminally. But there's no denying that her handiwork was used in the theft of the Dutch royal diamonds-- right after Isa disappeared into the night. 

Ten years later, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron's mysterious bride-to-be... who turns out to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring widow. No longer the meek girl he once knew, Isa boldly asserts that it was Victor who abandoned her, after he helped steal the royal diamonds!

Piecing together the truth of the past reawakens their volatile passions, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other to bring the real thieves to justice-- without getting burned themselves.



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