Dearest Rogue opens with an exciting attempted kidnapping scene in which the hero and heroine escape the would be kidnappers on the back of a spirited horse. Lady Phoebe has not had so much fun in a very long time. I should clarify, it was not the kidnapping attempt that Phoebe enjoyed, but the horse ride. It has been years since she has been on a horse because she has been slowly going blind. Captain Trevillion is the man who saves her from the kidnappers. He is her bodyguard and constant companion.
The opening scene did grab my attention. But it is the characters that held my attention. Phoebe is young woman who's world has gotten progressively smaller as her eyesight grew progressively worse. Not just because she can't see, but because she is overprotected - so much that her choices are limited. Trevillion is the former Dragoon, avoiding his past. Hired by Phoebe's brother, the Duke of Wakefield, Trevillion is determined to keep Phoebe out of harm's way.
The relationship between Phoebe and Trevillion began before the the timeline in the book. By the time Dearest Rogue starts, they've gone past an initial tense, antagonistic period and at this time, can be considered to be friends. Actually, more that friends, but neither is ready to admit that yet. Trevillion feels he is not good enough for Phoebe. Phoebe thinks Trevillion is uncaring and only there because he has a job to do.
Phoebe is tired of being kept in a guilded cage, so she pushes her boundaries. Trevillion is with her all the time. When treachery puts Phoebe in even more danger, Trevillion must face his past and his heart in order to keep her safe.
This is a story about going into dark places. Literally for Phoebe. But she is adamant that her blindness not sideline her and desperately wants to experience life. It will be a constant challenge for her, but she is ready for it. Trevillion's dark place is his past. However, while Phoebe is ready to face her adversity, Trevillion is not so ready to acknowledge his prior life.
If you have read and enjoyed the Maiden Lane series, you will probably really like this book. Dearest Rogue is the first Maiden Lane book I have read. It was evident to me that this book was not the first appearance of most of the characters in it. I must admit, I felt cheated that I missed out on the first stages of the relationship between Phoebe and Trevillion. If you've not read the rest of the series, you can still enjoy the book. Just be prepared to feel something is missing.
If you are thinking about reading Dearest Rogue, you should know that you can't judge this book by its title. I don't believe Captain Trevillion can be considered a rogue by any definition of the word. Any character in the book that could be call a rogue would not deserve to also be called dearest. I recently had the opportunity to meet Ms. Hoyt so I asked her about the title. What I took from the conversation was that it was an editorial decision. Does the word 'rogue' in a title get you to buy a book? I suspect the most of the sales of the Dearest Rogue will be to Maiden Lane readers and they won't care what the title is. But if you are looking for a dear rogue, you might want to look elsewhere.
So here is my verdict. On its own, I enjoyed Dearest Rogue but did not love it. For that I would give it 3 stars. However, as part of a well-loved series, I suspect it will be adored and therefore stands well within the series. For that reason, I can give Dearest Rogue 4 stars as it is sure to appeal to the many Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane fans.
**ARC provided by Publisher**