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The Rogue You Know (Covent Garden Cubs) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2015
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"The class conflicts and pointed calls for social justice offer an interesting variation on the standard Regency romance..." - Publishers Weekly
"The pace is lively, the sexual tension palpable and the love story perfectly delightful. Fun and touching, this magical read is a keeper. 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!" - RT Book Reviews
"[T]his romp is filled with charming characters (including a dog) and a grin-inducing happily-ever-after conclusion." - Washington Post
About the Author
Shana Galen is three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, "The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun," and RT Bookreviews calls her books "lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching." She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.
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The heroine, Lady Susanna, is the sister of the Hero from the previous novel. She's a privileged lady who is smothered by a hovering and critical mother. While visiting the ladies room at a party she has a conversation with an older woman who implies that her mother once fell in love at Vauxhall Gardens with someone other than her husband. From this short conversation Susanna becomes obsessed with going to Vauxhall, but her mother absolutely refuses.
Conveniently, Gideon- a friend of the Marlowe from the last book, shows up in the middle of the night and breaks into the library of the Earl's townhouse while running from some folks he double crossed. Despite having never met him before and him having broken into her house and him being a thief from the slums, Susanna steals a necklace that he needs to sell to leave his life of crime and agrees to give it back only if he takes her Vauxhall Gardens.
This leads to any number of mishaps over the course of two days as they venture through the slums on their way to Vauxhall. Susanna constantly puts Gideon in tight positions, endangers herself, and generally acts like a ninny. On top of the fact that she thinks she's going to find what, precisely, at a pleasure garden that her mother may have done something at 20 years before.
The end was beyond absurd. Susanna fell for the most transparent trick from the big baddie, her mother was kidnapped by pod people and became a different person, and Gideon faked his death to escape his past. Apparently cutting his hair and getting new clothing made him into a new man and nobody noticed that the scar on the new guy's face was identical to the scar on the old guy's face.
The only reason I gave it 2 stars was that in spite of the terrible plot it was well written and Gideon was rather lovable.
The first book I read by Shana Galen, Earls Just Want to Have Fun, made me an instant fan of this Regency romance author. The Rogue You Know, the second in Galen’s Covent Garden Cubs series, only reinforced the reasons for this fandom, because I enjoyed it just as much as, if not more than, the first book.
The first thing I will say about it is that Galen must be a Disney fan because The Rogue You Know is a homage to the movie Tangled if I ever saw one. The author isn’t very subtle about it, but I felt that it just added to the sense of madcap adventure I got from this read. I actually found myself humming the tune of “I Have a Dream.” at one point in the story—and I’m sure when you read it (and I say “when” because if you like historicals, you should), you’ll know which one.
The two main characters both served as supporting ones in the previous book, so if you’ve read it, you’ll find they’re like old friends you learn new information about. This novel works perfectly well as a standalone, however, so don’t think you can’t just dive into the adventure Gideon and Susanna, whom you’ll be thinking of as Strawberry in no time, embark on. And it is certainly a rollicking adventure through the mean streets of London fraught with dangers like cutthroat thieves and murdering crime lords, yet Galen keeps things light by introducing a merry band of purse-nicking mischief makers who find themselves enchanted by Susanna and a fence who turns out not too bad and who allows the woman-of-the-world-with-a-heart-of-gold he lives with to help him make decisions against his better (or worse, depending on how you look at it) judgment.
Of the characters, you probably know quite a bit, if you’re familiar with the Disney movie. Susanna is very much the princess in the tower, having been sheltered all her life by an overprotective parent and told it’s for her own good, even if’it’s more because of that parent’s own insecurities. As a result, she feels keenly that she has missed out on a lot life has to offer, and now that her once-stuffy brother has married for love, she wants something better for herself than a contracted marriage with a peer who only wants her for her breedability.
Susanna has played the perfect, dutiful daughter all her life, but now all she wants is a little adventure, to cut loose and feel free for once. Of course, once she leaves her tower—or, rather, her London townhouse—what seems like a perfectly simple plan goes instantly awry, and her “little adventure” turns into a great big honking one that puts her very life at risk. Plus, the common thief she has blackmailed into accompanying her turns out to be a rogue with a rather uncommon sense of honor.
And speaking of the thief, Gideon, on the other hand, has been stealing since he found himself orphaned at a young age, and while he’s good at what he does, like Susanna, he feels trapped by his life and longs for escape. He pulls off a heist with loot that promises to be his ticket out of London and attempts to find a place to lie low with his old friend Marlowe, only to find the thief-turned-countess not in residence and her innocent sister-in-law there instead. When she cons him into escorting her on her grand adventure, he fools himself into thinking he has no choice but to go along with her plan. And in a sense, he doesn’t, especially once he falls for the charming “princess” he knows the likes of him can never have.
There is just so much laughter, love, and fun in this story—not to mention a bit of a mystery when we learn there’s some secret love affair in Susanna’s starchy mother’s past—that I just had to give it a five-star rating. Once again, Galen shines by taking in a story we all know and making it new again with her funny and lovable characters.