I LOVED A ROGUE
BOOK #3 of The Prince Catchers
by Katharine Ashe
Mass Market Paperback/E-Book 384 Pages
Print copy provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own except as noted.
In the third in Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catchers series, the eldest of three very different sisters must fulfill a prophecy to discover their birthright. But if Eleanor is destined to marry a prince, why can’t she resist the scoundrel who seduced her?
She can pour tea, manage a household, and sew a modest gown. In short, Eleanor Caulfield is the perfect vicar’s daughter. Yet there was a time when she’d risked everything for a black-eyed gypsy who left her brokenhearted. Now he stands before her—dark, virile, and ready to escort her on a journey to find the truth about her heritage.
Leaving eleven years ago should have given Taliesin freedom. Instead he’s returned to Eleanor, determined to have her all to himself, tempting her with kisses and promising her a passion she’s so long denied herself. But if he was infatuated before, he’s utterly unprepared for what will happen when Eleanor decides to abandon convention—and truly live . . .
I LOVED A ROGUE by Katharine Ashe felt a little like the Gothic romances I read when I was younger — mostly due to the inclusion of gypsies. It felt a lot like WUTHERING HEIGHTS and shared themes from that story. But no one has to die to be together. As it went on, it became clear that it was more about an individual man, raised as a Rom but different from the people who raised him, and how prejudiced he was. I was troubled by the idea that a person could be wild, or share an ability because of their ancestry, but I guess some things are genetic, at in the 1800’s “ancestral traits” were not understood as DNA.
The idea that Taliesin’s differences from his Rom family — his desire to have a home with walls instead of a wagon or a tent, arose from some ancestral proclivity or cultural genetics, and not from some personal inclination might have been the prevalent attitude of the time as opposed to showing a bias on the part of the author.
One of the reasons to read this story is, indeed, its value as a prompt for examining those seemingly innocuous preferences in our own psyches. What do we think when we hear about the Romany people, about any people? How often have I said of myself, “I know I am emotional, but I’m Italian?” And, is there some cultural tendency towards that being true when one is raised within a particular cultural milieu? In this instance, Taliesin is raised in a Romany family but is told he is not one of them. When his Rom family speaks of this difference, they know his true heritage and that he was not raised that heritage. This indicates a belief that even without cultural awareness he inherited a desire that was not Rom in nature.
Also, Eleanor and her sisters hear that her mother may have been a woman of loose morals and that they inherited those morals even though they do not remember her and were, for the most part, raised in the home of a vicar in England. I cannot say more without spoiling this very complicated plot but, cultural bias, and biological cultural inheritance is a theme in the story.
Misunderstanding, assumption and, yet again, poor communication skills are the usual theme. In the end, it is a complicated knot of unexpected, coincidences that brings the plot to conclusion. The plot was so convoluted in the end, I had difficulty keeping track of it and could not understand why one would not reveal the answers when children became adults and the adults in the family knew the story.
There is backstory, and it’s possible I am seeing complexities originating in the first two books and not flown in at the end to get the writer out of a pickle. But, I didn’t feel a lack of information until the end.
I did like how the author showed the development of the relationship between Tali and Eleanor as children. I could almost see those scenes in my head. It also showed how their characters and personality developed in response to each other as well as their circumstances.
The author’s excellent afterword on research is very good. It explains a lot and shows she has more than a superficial knowledge of the subject of British laws regarding vagrancy and simply being a gypsy. It brings us right back to the cultural bias theme.
In this story the sexual attraction and tension are good, the culmination is somewhat ordinary with a lot of hands creeping up legs. It seems more old school — although it is sexier than WUTHERING HEIGHTS.
With a focus on the issue of how the Rom were treated, and cultural bias, this is more than a simple romance novel; more than a book about love conquering all. It was a quick and enjoyable read although I did not find it spectacular or terribly believable.
Harper Collins: http://www.harpercollins.com/9780062229854/i-loved-a-rogue