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Not up to Putney's usual high standard - one to avoid
on 23 September 2013
I have read most of Mary Jo Putney's previous books and thoroughly enjoyed them, so I'm not quite sure what went wrong with Sometimes a Rogue. The most entertaining part of the slow and painful process of trudging through this story was playing "spot the historical romance cliche". If you can think of a hackneyed or overused plot device or characteristic, it's here in this book; the hero is the despised younger son of a wastrel Earl, his older brother hated him and sold him to a press gang, he was in love with a beautiful commoner but his father paid her off, then he became a Bow Street Runner (because what would Bow Street have done without despised sons of wastrel earls in the 19th century?), he has a crotchety old Dowager Countess for a grandmother but she secretly has a heart of gold... I could go on and on and on. Our heroine has an equally complex and implausible family history and all these various story strands are glossed over along with Irish politics, a kidnapping plot, a sudden inheritance and the discovery of a love child. Somewhere in the middle of all of this, I think the heroine and hero eventually fell in love after having existed in a comfortable, passionless friendship for the first 95% of the story. For anyone who has read any of Julia Quinn's superb recent novels, you will know what I mean when I suggest that Sometimes a Rogue is exactly what I imagine Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron to be like. This is not a compliment.