When you Wish Upon a Rogue by Anna Bennett
Debutante Diaries #3
St. Martin’s Press | May 26, 2020
At first glance, I thought I was in trouble with the cover art. I adore reviewing weirdly bad cover art. For this, at first, I thought “Oh, hey, that’s actually really nice. I’ll not have any witty commentary on this at all! Shit!!”
Then I saw her wrist.It is obviously broken, and her forearm also looks like something has just happened to her. While the dude Sophie is expected to marry in this book is creeptastic, there’s no violence.
(Though, wouldn’t that be a terrible cover for a regency historical, anyhow? This book is about abuse! Let’s have the heroine get dolled up for a ball with her tragically broken arm!
That’s the edgy cover art this genre NEEDS.)
Secondly, she’s holding the front of her skirt up to a rather high level whilst glancing seductively over her shoulder. This strikes me as either an odd strategy, *or* the person she is flashing and the person she’s making sexy eyes at are two different humans. That’s not the book I read… though I wouldn’t turn that book down, either.
Sophie is calm, dutiful, shy, unfailingly polite. She wants to make everyone happy, while also never expecting that anyone should try to make her happy. At the same time, she has this thick ribbon of quiet stubbornness to her.
(If you look at the cover, you can see her holding it by her mangled little hand.)
She doesn’t argue, she just does. Quietly.
Sophie, after sort of/not really breaking into an empty shop to scope out new spaces for her women’s support group to convene, meets Reese, the accidental and reluctant Earl of Warshire. He’s a former military officer, who suffers from insomnia, and is a generally gruff and cranky kind of dude. Sophie offers him an herbal tea that should help him sleep. He refuses. She just makes him the tea and hands it to him. And he drank the tea.
(Because of course he drank the tea. Quiet stubborn is my favorite kind of stubborn.)
Here is one point I really have to give Anna Bennett credit for. One of the best, simplest meet-cutes ever. Have you ever met someone and just felt comfortable? Not starry-eyed with lust or whatever, but just like you could sit with this person and feel you can breathe easily? That’s what Sophie and Reese’s first meeting felt like. No insane circumstances – no fishing anyone out of an accidental fall into a pond, no stampeding cattle. Just … peaceful connection. And over their interactions, that connection is allowed to blossom. Anna Bennett didn’t just tell us it happened, she actually showed it in the story.
Also, the author managed to make Sophie’s unwanted intended, Lord Singleton, slightly creepy without turning him into a one dimensional villain. It was refreshing to have a collection of pretty normal people with normal faults.
(And talking to a girl about how you’ll quickly have her knocked up when she obvi isn’t into you is *always* creepy. Always.)
My inner justice warrior is still a bit dissatisfied that Sophie’s drunken useless sot of a father never suffered any consequences for using his daughter to bail out his own worthlessness. *Sighs* I do so love it when shitheads get what they deserve. However, as I just pointed out how amazingly refreshing it was to read a collection of normal people with faults … that would make me hypocritical, wouldn’t it?
(But damnitall, would it really have been too much to ask that the dude fall down the stairs and break his neck? Get run over by a hackney? Fall face first into a pile of manure and suffocate? *more sighs*)
Five stars. Going to read the first two in the series now and very happy to be doing so. Maybe there’s more about Lady Rufflebum’s glittering ballroom.
Thank you to St. Martins Press and NetGalley, for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.