When the Rogue Returns
Author: Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Gallery/Pocket Books
Date of Publication: January 21, 2014
They are the Duke’s Men: an investigative agency born from family pride and irresistible passion, risking their lives—and sometimes their hearts—as they unravel shocking deceptions and scandalous transgressions!
Victor Cale never imagined that his sweet, shy bride, Isabella, would use her talent for creating exquisite imitation jewels in a criminal way. But there’s no denying that Isa’s handiwork was used in the brazen heist of the Dutch royal family’s diamonds—after she disappeared into the night.
Ten years later, still reeling from her betrayal and enraged that her duplicitous side was so undetectable, Victor is sent to Edinburgh to investigate a wealthy baron’s mysterious bride-to- be. Simple enough—until the “fiancee” proves to be Isa, masquerading as an alluring young widow.
No longer the meek and mild girl he once knew, the bold woman vehemently 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 passion, which burns hotter than ever. But with a decade of secrets between them, Victor and Isa must trust each other in order to bring the real thieves to justice—without getting burned themselves.
I’m a long-time (now) fan of Sabrina Jeffries so it was nice to read this book. I recently read (though did not review) the first book in the series, but didn’t realize it until I was a good way through this one. I just knew the Duke and his wife seemed familiar and it nagged at me until I realized why.
Now, as to this book. You absolutely do not have to have read the first book in The Duke’s Men series. This one stands alone, though you see some familiar faces in the forms of the other members of the investigation agency that Victor works for.
I enjoyed the push/pull/hostility between Victor and Isa as they worked under the lies they’d been told so many years ago. Isa of course is hiding a much bigger secret than Victor can possibly know, not having seen her in so long, and she handles the situation as best she can. She knows she’s legally in the wrong (the whole “women are property” thing that was so common in the area) as far as being separated from him and he can claim certain things without any way of retaliating, so I can’t blame her for hiding what she does.
The only sour (sort of) note for me was the resolution of those responsible for the lie that kept Victor and Isa apart for so many years. I can’t really go into what bothers me about it without spoiling it and it’s not such a big deal that I absolutely have to share (and thus blank it out here on the blog). I just wish one of the parties hadn’t gotten off quite as lightly as they did.
The one additional thought I had on this story was, despite the fact that it was a vicious, horrible lie that split them, I think the ten years apart really did these characters a lot of good. They both grew and matured enormously. Isa would never have become quite the same vivacious woman that Victor falls in love with (again) if they’d been together, and given how strong a person she became in the ten years, I think it was (almost) worth the pain of their separation. I really found much to admire in Isa and how she chose to deal with the cards life dealt her.
On the whole, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book. 4-stars without reservation.
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.