THE ROGUE YOU KNOW Features Social Issues Against a Romantic Backdrop


THE ROGUE YOU KNOW coverCovent Garden Cubs #2
by Shana Galen
Audio Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrated by Beverley A. Crick
Publication date Sep 1, 2015
Running time 9 hrs

Also available in print and e-book formats: 352 pages | Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 1, 2015) 

Audiobook provided by Tantor Audio for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own, unless otherwise noted.

Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld, and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women—Lady Susanna Derring.

Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton under the thumb of a domineering mother, and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing—not even Gideon—is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay for the love of a reformed thief.


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My Take Oblong


In the second entry in the Covent Garden Cubs series, author, Shana Galen, and narrator, Beverly Crick, give this story about class values, love, women’s issues and the struggles of the poor in 18th century London depth and range.

Like the last book in the series, Galen describes, in great detail, the gulf between rich and poor, and between men and women, aristocracy and everyone else in 19th century England.  It’s a Dickensian-type tale with arch criminals, blowzy women with good hearts, and pick pockets.

In the first book in the series, we met both main characters and some of the secondaries appearing in this one.  Susanna brother is the Earl in EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN and Gideon was a friend and more to her sister-in-law Marlowe before she was discovered to be the long lost daughter of another aristocrat. 

Having had a misalliance herself, many years before, Susanna’s mother will arrange a marriage for Susanna; without passion or love. Much of the story revolves around Susanna trying to track down the person she thinks her mother was in love with back in the day.  With no more information than that she had met him at Vauxhall Gardens.  One has to wonder whether the girl was just that unprepared for the adventure upon which she embarks when presented with an opportunity, or if she is dumber than a rock. For, in setting off for the gardens she makes assumptions that Gideon has a carriage and cash on hand.

I am pretty convinced that Susanna is not the sharpest tool in the shed. She has, however, the ability to charm almost anyone from hardened criminal to a gentleman gardener. Almost.

Gideon has only the charm of a con artist, a wicked smile, and much intelligence.  His family had been landed gentry just a generation before. This story shows how easy it was rto fall from position to poverty. It is the kind of outcome that Mrs. Bennett is terrified for in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.
There was no social safety net at the time and there was little chance of regaining position when you fell too far.

The attraction between the characters is a little hard to believe except the couple’s circumstances are of the type where difficulty brings about attraction and love. 

I thought the really exciting part of this story was the transformation of Lady Derring, the Dowager Countess and Susanna’s mother. A nasty and domineering sort she becomes a kinder person on seeing how her hard heart and strict hand have forced her daughter away from her.

On the other hand, Gideon gives her mother an opportunity to be freed from the strictures of her mother’s disapproval. If only it were so easy.

This has a fast and fluid plot although I didn’t find it as tightly constructed as the first book in the series.  Susanna’s older brother, a new fangled detective and manager of Bow Street runners, is less inclined to generosity of spirit when his sister is being compromised; indeed he becomes a bit haughtier than in the first book.

One thing was for sure throughout the book – Galen would have to work a miracle for the relationship to work and become legitimate in the eyes of the Ton. Either Susanna would have to descend to poverty and the common life or Gideon would need to be elevated.  Both would have to be relatively safe from his past. How  Galen achieves this is a bit of a kluge at the end. 

I enjoy the series because of the pace, the hook ups and the way Galen points out the the social issues without being pedantic.  This romance novel has heart and social conscience.


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