The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Releases: September 3, 2019
"See this? I was named after a great empress. I'm royalty--nay, I'm an independent young lady!
You may call me Lady Rogue."
Going in to this novel, I was so excited! The cover, the premise--it was right up my alley and I couldn't wait. Overall, it was what I wanted it to be, but alas, it did not live up to my complete expectations.
Before I get too ahead of myself, here's a brief synopsis of The Lady Rogue:
Richard Damn Fox is one of the greatest American explorers and adventurers of his time. His daughter, Theodora, wants nothing more than to be a part of these adventures, but instead spends her time shut up in hotels around the world while her father explores. When her father sends Theo's past love, Huck, to get her far away from the trouble that has begun to brew on his latest quest, Theo and Huck are sent on an adventure of their own across Europe. With bad guys on their tails, a magic ring threatening war, and her father missing, Theo finally gets the adventure she's been looking for in rescuing her father.
I loved the history, the mythology, the legend behind this book! I think that was definitely the most enjoyable thing about it. Learning about Vlad the Impaler and other people throughout history (even if some liberties with the truth were taken) was super intriguing and I Googled so many people the author mentioned afterward just to learn more about them. (Please excuse me while I continue reading more about The Blood Countess).
As far as characters go, I thought it was strange the father's name was Richard Damn Fox. Is that a real thing, Damn as a middle name? He is an explorer so maybe he self-made that his middle name. Obviously, this is a trivial bit of information, but it has stuck with me.
The main character Theodora, Theo if you will, was a stubborn but brave and feminist character for her time (1937). That being said, I don't think her voice really matched someone of that time or her upbringing. She very much sounded like a friend of mine speaking now in today's world. I like that it made her relatable, but not necessarily that it took away from the accuracy of it.
Another thing I was unsure of was the romantic aspect between Theo and Huxley Gallagher, Huck for short. First, let me swoon at that very perfect name. Unfortunately, their love did not make me swoon as hard. They were raised together after his parents died, and Theo's dad kind of expected them to fall into a brother-sister relationship. However, they fell for each other and, after her father catches them together, Huck leaves. I liked the dynamic between them after they're reunited after being separated. Theo thinks he left her and never thought of her again, so she gives him a very moody teenager reception, which I really enjoyed. Their banter is fun and I like that about them. I like that enemies-to-lovers kind of concept. I just wish their backstory was a little different.
Overall, I enjoyed the rich setting and storytelling that Bennett does in The Lady Rogue. I felt like I was in a race through Europe, mountains, and fairytale towns with them. Bennett does a truly great job of setting her scenes and immersing the reader in them. Although I've never been to Romania or the Carpathian mountains, I always felt like I was right there, that I could see everything the characters saw. Also may or may not be booking a ticket there now.
The Lady Rogue has mystery, witty banter, and so much more. The history with Vlad the Impaler and the made-up ring of doom is definitely enough to keep you turning the page. I do recommend giving it a try!