Review: When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries

whentheroguereturnsWhen the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries (The Duke’s Men #2)
Released: January 21, 2014
Historical Romance

Reviewed by May

His Isa had been young and naïve and real. It was one of the things he’d liked about her – that she was so practical. That she hadn’t looked down her nose at him.

This Isa, with her beaded reticule and her ladylike manner and her rigid posture, wouldn’t have given an uncouth young soldier the time of day years ago.

Worse yet, she was even more beautiful than he remembered, if that were possible.

Victor Cale and Isabella (Isa) were married after a whirlwind courtship, and were deep in the throes of new love when her sister and brother-in-law concocted a scheme that involved theft, deceit, and tearing apart the newlyweds.

Now, ten years later Victor has discovered he is the relative of a duke, is quite well off, and has just gotten a lead on where his wife may be hiding out under an assumed name. Since he is very angry (after all, she stole precious jewels and left him!) he is eager to track her down and seek vengeance.

Isa escaped the life of crime her sister and brother-in-law had planned for her, and has made quite the name for herself as a jeweler and creator of imitation jewels that are as lovely as the real thing. When her husband – who helped steal jewels and then abandoned her – shows up her entire world is thrown into upheaval.

Obviously it is Isa’s sister (and her vile husband) who are the thieves and the horrible people and our couple is innocent and honorable. It’s all a big misunderstanding – one they clear up almost instantly.

That’s really a big problem.

While there is sex, I didn’t find the romance in this novel. Does he woo her back? Does she fall in love with the older, more weary Victor? Do they finally get real and find a deep connection?

Nope. They pretty much stay shallow, gloss over what could have been intense and interesting subjects (like Victor’s childhood, his time being tortured after the couple parted, etc), and the story simply goes on. Oh they have doubts and worries- but nothing major and I felt like with a decade having passed we should see more tension, conflict, and more discovery too. These two have lived such vibrant lives the last ten years and yet back together they act like a few weeks have passed. They didn’t even know each other well in the first place so I wondered why they weren’t getting to know each other on a deeper level now, as older adults.

Now we know the vile brother-in-law will show up at some point and twirl his villainous moustache and try to do bad things. We know this couple will end up together. We know that it’s going to be glossy and pretty and oh-so-happy.

The big problem is, there was no compelling story, conflict, growth, or anything else happening in here that I could grasp onto that would make me love this story or its characters. The dialogue is as boring and uninspired as the story line. Oh, there were glimmers and possibilities- but none that were actually explored or given space to flourish.

Sabrina Jeffries has long been one of my favorite historical authors but I have to wonder what is happening with this new series. It is not working for me on any level and I’m really disappointed that someone I know to be capable of blowing me away with her talent and skill is releasing books I don’t even feel I can call average.

Grade: D+

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  1. Glittergirl says

    Well darn. I was hoping she’d redeem herself in this book and get back to her great writing. I’ve put her in my “you’d better step up or I’m taking you off my auto-buy list”. The last one kept her on my buy list but if this one falls flat she may be gone. I’ve sold her last 2 series because they weren’t worth keeping…darn!

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