About a Rogue (Desperately Seeking Duke, #1)
The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden.It’s no love match…Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar.It’s not even the match that was made…Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter. But could it be the perfect match? Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…

About a Rogue (Desperately Seeking Duke, #1) Details

TitleAbout a Rogue (Desperately Seeking Duke, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 30th, 2020
PublisherAvon
ISBN-139780062913623
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical

About a Rogue (Desperately Seeking Duke, #1) Review

  • Joanna Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous book. I am a huge Linden fan, and this one will certainly go down as among my favorites by her. The characters, the setting and the romance were wonderfully described, and I look forward to picking this up again to reread.The story starts out with a dukedom in peril, leading to a search for distant heirs. Three possibilities emerge, including the hero of this story, Max St. James. He is not first in line, but the Duchess summons him to the estate to give him a chance. He is gifted a goo Gorgeous book. I am a huge Linden fan, and this one will certainly go down as among my favorites by her. The characters, the setting and the romance were wonderfully described, and I look forward to picking this up again to reread.The story starts out with a dukedom in peril, leading to a search for distant heirs. Three possibilities emerge, including the hero of this story, Max St. James. He is not first in line, but the Duchess summons him to the estate to give him a chance. He is gifted a good sum and is promised more on good behavior. Max is not one to miss an opportunity, and he is also not keen on being at the mercy of someone else’s idea of good behavior, having earned the reputation of a scandalous rogue. He seeks a partnership with a successful pottery works owner, Sam Tate. The only way to make a partnership is to marry into it and luckily Tate has two single daughters.Bianca ends up married to the rogue, though she is none too pleased. She chose the marriage when she learns her father has already signed over a portion of the pottery works. Bianca is actively invested in the business. She creates glazes for the pottery and argues with her father about business decisions, so she is not keen on a London rogue coming in and usurping her.I really enjoyed the way these two ambitious leads challenged each other, which led to admiration and love. Max was a very compelling hero. He started out as an enigma and the slow revealing of his hidden depths was a delicious process. Bianca was a strong, determined heroine, but she was not afraid to relent when she realized she was wrong.This was a really lovely read and satisfying romance. I think it is a good story to try out Linden and definitely recommend if you like a setting away from balls and house parties. *Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. This was my honest opinion.
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  • Mariana
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an Advanced Review Copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited and feel privileged to be chosen, so I will write a bit more than usual. I don't know how Caroline Linden does it, but she always evokes an emotional reaction in me. She also frequently has Heroes who must grow on me throughout the book. Maximilian St. James was just such a hero. He arranged to marry Cathy, the beautiful eldest daughter of Samuel Tate, only to gain some control in the Perus I was given an Advanced Review Copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited and feel privileged to be chosen, so I will write a bit more than usual. I don't know how Caroline Linden does it, but she always evokes an emotional reaction in me. She also frequently has Heroes who must grow on me throughout the book. Maximilian St. James was just such a hero. He arranged to marry Cathy, the beautiful eldest daughter of Samuel Tate, only to gain some control in the Perusia pottery works family business. Cathy was a very biddable daughter. She didn't speak up against the match to her father. However, she was in love with the local rector Mr. Mayne; and on impulse, she packed to run away in secret. Fortunately, her sister Bee caught her and helped her plan the escape more thoroughly. Bianca Tate was quite the opposite of Cathy--less porcelain doll perfect beauty, more fiery temper, and not biddable at all. She never planned to marry and worked long hours in Perusia, her first love. When the wedding day came and Mr. Tate found the bride missing, he confessed to the remaining daughter Bianca that he gave away 25% of Perusia. Since he would be in breach of contract, the only way to save the family business would be for Bianca to fill in and marry St. James. In anger, she agreed; and Max seemed to have no issue either. I felt Bianca's rage. I almost shook with tears of anger at her father. There may be readers who have an issue with the heroine. She was hard-headed and not malleable. She held on to her anger and did not give her husband a chance at first. However, I felt her stance so well, I thought it best she took a long time to come around. Max was her perfect match. Although he was a rake and a rogue in his past, he did have many good character qualities. He was slow to anger and willing to be patient to win the long game: "like a steady flow of water over stone, his attention and suggestive words were wearing away her resistance." Another consistent joy for me in Linden's writing is her movement. Her stories don't simply take place with the aristocracy in countless ballroom scenes. The characters have a greater purpose, and the action of the story takes place in varying location settings. In addition to some of the best character and relationship development, her stories have mystery that is unveiled seamlessly. I was happy to receive answers to all my questions about Max's past and greatly look forward to finding out what happened to Captain St. James in Book 2. Also included was a lovely E-ONLY Novella between the valet Christopher Lawrence and the lady's maid Jenny Hickson. It was a sweet bonus. All in all, this was a perfect romantic read I highly recommend to anyone, whether you have read the author before or not, even if you do not like heroines who take a long time before giving the hero a chance.
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  • Andrea
    January 1, 1970
    YES! There's the Caroline Linden whose books I fell in love with years ago! Also, the first historical romance I really enjoyed in a long time. I am so happy! This was really a nice surprise for me. A nice nod to The Taming of the Shrew with the sisters' roles reversed (Bianca is the shrewish one, while her sister Catherine is the good one)!What you need to know: After the death of the Duke of Carlyle's last direct heir, the family is at a loss. His mother, the Duchess, is desperate to find whoe YES! There's the Caroline Linden whose books I fell in love with years ago! Also, the first historical romance I really enjoyed in a long time. I am so happy! This was really a nice surprise for me. A nice nod to The Taming of the Shrew with the sisters' roles reversed (Bianca is the shrewish one, while her sister Catherine is the good one)!What you need to know: After the death of the Duke of Carlyle's last direct heir, the family is at a loss. His mother, the Duchess, is desperate to find whoever might have a claim to the title - however remote - and summons the distant relatives to the castle to make them an offer: if they change their ways, settle down, get married, and show an interest in the estate, they will receive an annuity and be allowed back into the family fold. One of them is Maximilian St. James, a disreputable rogue. He is intrigued by the offer, but has no intention of just knuckling under. Determined to make his own way, he uses his new connection to ingratiate himself to Mr. Tate, one of the best ceramics manufacturers. Luckily for him, he has a beautiful, seemingly biddable young daughter. Only things don't go according to plan, and he ends up marrying his intendent's shrewish sister. Sparks fly, and he soon discovers that this might actually be everything he always wanted. Now all he has to do in convince his wife that they are perfect for each other… What I liked:Max. Sigh. He's the sweetest. And I mean it. Smart, funny, driven, hard-working, and kind. Ok, he marries for connections, but I liked his honesty. He never hid why he wanted to marry into the family, and soon makes himself invaluable, making the factory even more prosperous by sheer determination and hard work. I loved that about him. He's not afraid to work, and he actually knows what he's doing and has a plan. I also loved how he didn't make a move on Bianca while she still hated him. These two take their time getting to know each other, and watching them slowly work out their differences was really sweet! And the fact that this is very much a character-driven story with strong, interesting leads plus a slow-burn romance that is given time to develop. What I didn't like:Bianca - in the beginning. She was really hard to warm up to, especially since she has no reason (that I can see) for hating Max and marriage as much as she does. Her parents were happy and kind to each other, and one single aunt still sulking because her parents wouldn't let her marry a penniless nobody does not really explain it well enough for me. She's the type of heroine with a temper, who sulks, yells, and throws things when she doesn't get her way. I just can't sympathize with that kind of heroine and find them annoying, sorry. BUT she did actually grow on me halfway through the book when the reasonableness everyone always praised her for finally shone through and she decided to listen to Max and actually talked to him. The drama. I hate fabricated drama, and when it comes with a heavy dose of the hero saying things like "she can never know my deepest darkest secret because then she will hate me!" (even though she actually is very reasonable when it matters), it never works for me, because it's never anything truly bad, and a lot of time is wasted with pointless angsting and agonizing over what would happen if she found out from someone else and all that. It's my least favorite trope. Also, the last minute drama when the big bad secret is finally revealed was also a bit too much for me. All in all, this was a really sweet and wonderful start to the new series, and I can't wait for the next one!*I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Barbara Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #1Publication Date: 6/30/20Number of Pages: 384Yikes! The Carlyle dukedom is in danger and the duchess is desperately seeking out possible heirs. Her older son, the duke, is sickly and has a very limited mental capacity – he certainly cannot marry and father children. That wasn’t such a problem until both of her younger sons died – one in the Army and the has just died of an unfortunate accident before he could marry and have children. The dukedom’s solicitor, Mr Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #1Publication Date: 6/30/20Number of Pages: 384Yikes! The Carlyle dukedom is in danger and the duchess is desperately seeking out possible heirs. Her older son, the duke, is sickly and has a very limited mental capacity – he certainly cannot marry and father children. That wasn’t such a problem until both of her younger sons died – one in the Army and the has just died of an unfortunate accident before he could marry and have children. The dukedom’s solicitor, Mr. Edwards, has been diligently searching for the heirs – because the duchess wants them to learn the ways of the dukedom before they have to take over. Three possible heirs have been identified and none of them make the duchess happy. One of them is a Frenchman, one is in the army, and the last is a cardsharp. Our current story features the cardsharp, Maximilian St. James.Max had no desire to be under the duchesses thumb, but he was grateful for the money she handed him and for the promise of the yearly payout he would receive from the dukedom. Well, except that yearly payout came with strings – he had to become respectable and be on his good behavior. The judgment about whether he was respectable, of course, was the duchesses. Max didn’t care for that at all. Max has always wanted to be independent, but life circumstances just never allowed that. He had to make his life the best way he could. Now, he has a bold plan and he is so excited about the possibility of making his own future.Max was introduced to Mr. Samuel Tate, owner of Perusia, a fine pottery factory when he was in London. Mr.Tate was impressed with Max and his relationship to the ton and subsequently invited him to visit Perusia. Mr. Tate had no sons and when Max presented him with a partnership proposal – as well as a proposal of marriage for Mr. Tate’s oldest daughter, Cathy, Mr. Tate was thrilled. Cathy, the sweet, docile daughter wasn’t thrilled though and promptly eloped with the man she did love. OOPS!There was nothing sweet nor docile about Bianca Tate – Cathy’s only sister. Bianca, who was every bit as stubborn and pig-headed as her father, was furious that he’d just sell out his daughter like that. So, when Bianca discovered Cathy packing to run away with the man she loved, Bianca decided to help her. What Bianca didn’t expect was to end up having to marry Max in Cathy’s place!I absolutely adored both Max and Bianca. Max was determined to win his wife’s affections and Bianca was determined to despise Max no matter what he did. It was so much fun watching Max slowly, but steadily, destroying all of Bianca’s defenses.One of the most refreshing things about this story was that it wasn’t set in London among the ton. Yes, there were several titles involved, but they weren’t the focus. The focus of the story was Max and Bianca and I felt as if I really got to know them. The romance felt real and I could genuinely feel that they were in love. Also included in my ebook was a short novella featuring Lawrence, who is Max’s valet. It was a really sweet story as well.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the second book in the series – A Scot To The Heart – which features the army officer – Captain Andrew St. James of his majesty’s Scotts Guards.I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Em Wittmann
    January 1, 1970
    Strong first half, weak finish. Good, but ultimately unsatisfying (not counting the brilliant bonus novella!): 4 stars/B-About a Rogue showcases one of my favorite character tropes: A bad boy who isn't quite the bad boy everyone imagines. Oh, he's bad. But not the bad kind of bad. The naughty kind of bad. Know what I mean? Well, if you don't, you might not read a lot of historical romance...and I'll leave it at that. I digress. About a Rogue opens in a prologue. The dowager Duchess of Carlyle ha Strong first half, weak finish. Good, but ultimately unsatisfying (not counting the brilliant bonus novella!): 4 stars/B-About a Rogue showcases one of my favorite character tropes: A bad boy who isn't quite the bad boy everyone imagines. Oh, he's bad. But not the bad kind of bad. The naughty kind of bad. Know what I mean? Well, if you don't, you might not read a lot of historical romance...and I'll leave it at that. I digress. About a Rogue opens in a prologue. The dowager Duchess of Carlyle has recently learned that her youngest son, the heir presumptive, is dead. With the current duke unable to marry or produce an heir (an accident as a young man has left him in a child-like state), she asks her solicitor to find the the next three men in line to inherit. Her beleaguered solicitor is way ahead of her and has the information at hand. One of the options is missing, the second is a soldier, and the third is a rumored disreputable London rake. Far from thrilled by the options but ever practical, she asks him to summon the two men to the estate for an interview. The interview goes much as Max (our rake) expected after he learned the reason for his summons - the dowager makes it clear she doesn't approve of him, and is relieved his companion - a very nervous soldier, is next to inherit. But then the dowager makes them both a surprising offer: in exchange for a lump sum payment and annual allowance, she wants each man to prove he's capable and worthy of one day inheriting the estate, and becoming the next Duke of Carlyle. The soldier is eager, and the rake...well, he's used to people making (incorrect) assumptions about him, and he doesn't reveal how thrilled he is about this sudden life-changing windfall and opportunity. Max has no desire to become the next duke, but he has every intention of using the money and opportunity to improve his life.Maximilian St. James is not quite the rake he appears to be. Although he spends his time with a fast, affluent crowd, he doesn't gamble for fun. He gambles to make ends meet. Life is either feast or famine. Max is used to struggling; as a young boy, his dissolute father abandoned his mother whenever it was convenient, and his mother struggled to care for him. The pair often went hungry with help in short supply, despite his father's connection to the Duke of Carlyle. When his mother died while he was still a young boy, he went to live with his mother's sister, Gemma. Gemma and her husband cared for Max. Life was good, he was studying law...until he was falsely accused of seducing the wrong woman and lost his position, and then his uncle died. When Gemma remarried, he departed for London to make his own way.When Samuel Tate, owner of a prosperous ceramics business, introduces Maximillian St. James to his daughters, he has high hopes that his guest will make a match with his eldest daughter Cathy. St. James is interested in the business, and has some intriguing ideas about increasing sales via his London connections. Cathy is horrified (she's in love with the local curate); Bianca, her youngest sister, is angry. She has no intention of letting some handsome London Lothario marry her beloved sister Cathy, and she's furious that her papa would even consider it. She's also convinced he has nefarious plans to sell off the business, and she's NOT going to let it happen. So, she secretly encourages rebellion in her sister, and then helps Cathy elope on her wedding day. As one does. She doesn't expect her furious father to suggest she marry St. James instead (oops!), or that St. James would accept the switch with barely a fuss. Angry, emotional, and unable to step back and look at the situation rationally, she agrees to marry him. Oh, s--t.Oh friends, the set-up for this enemies to lovers story is a treat. St. James, as I mentioned earlier, is no bad guy. He's a good bad guy, with some very naughty, wicked desires. And once he's married to Bianca...well, he desires her! Cathy was a lovely, convenient bride; Bianca is a challenge - in every way. Max decides to play the long game with his tempestuous bride, determined to prove his prowess to her as a businessman and as a husband. He's thrilled with his connection to the pottery, and eager to prove himself. And he makes Bianca so mad! It's delicious. Just when Bianca thinks she has the upper hand, he gently shows her a different way. I loved their friction and chemistry, and it was a treat waiting for all the lust to finally combust. Linden does a marvelous job developing these two characters - the intelligent, tempestuous, beautiful, slightly naive Bianca pitted against the lonely, handsome, kind, sly and charming Max - and building the tension between them to a boiling point. They're terrific together.Unfortunately, once they get together, the story takes a turn. All through the first half we get teases of a terrible secret Max is keeping (I thought I knew what it was for 3/4 of the novel. I was wrong. So wrong.). It's a nail-biting wait hoping Bianca doesn't find out before he can explain whatever it is...and then she finds out. And the secret is ridiculous. And totally sends the story off its rails. And from there, it just sort of limps to the finish line. Sorry, but it does. A climatic scene lacks finesse and ends with a bang that...well, it's just awkward. That's all I'm going to say. Look, well past the half-way mark I thought this was going to be in my top 5 novels of 2020. Great sexual tension, a compelling and unique setting and story - with a heroine in a non-traditional role totally killing it with her talent, a rake-ish hero who's just delicious...romance reader, it was all working! But then the big reveal was so odd and strange and surprising, and the villain so forgettable? Ridiculous? Random? Silly? It just felt like the author wasn't sure where her story was going (or what Max's big secret should be), so she invented this horrifying secondary plot. It just feels wrong. Promising start, disappointing ending. Fortunately, Linden's not-so good is still pretty good...B-/4 stars.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    1787Max can't believe he's in line for a dukedom. He didn't know what to expect when summoned to Carlyle Castle, but he has found out he must prove himself a worthy gentleman or his new allowance could be cut off. He sets off to create a respectable life for himself and find a meek wife. He sets his sights on the Tates, who own a pottery business.Samuel Tate's pottery business has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately for him, he only has 2 daughters and no son to pass on the busines 1787Max can't believe he's in line for a dukedom. He didn't know what to expect when summoned to Carlyle Castle, but he has found out he must prove himself a worthy gentleman or his new allowance could be cut off. He sets off to create a respectable life for himself and find a meek wife. He sets his sights on the Tates, who own a pottery business.Samuel Tate's pottery business has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately for him, he only has 2 daughters and no son to pass on the business. Bianca sees no problem with this, as she can manage it just as well as her father does. Her father is over the moon when the perfect gentleman from London, Max, shows interest in his mild mannered daughter Cathy. Cathy's heart belongs to someone else though and switches places with her sister the morning of the wedding.This book is enemies to lovers done right. The heroine is very much against her marriage to Max and is quite snarky to him in the beginning. While this hasn't been my favorite trope lately, I adored Max's quips back to her. He took all of her hostility in stride and turned it around into funny interactions that left Bianca flustered. Also, the heroine turns her behavior around by halfway through the book, so it wasn't dislike until they magically loved each other. She fights her dislike and it lessens over time with Max's charm until she finds she's actually liking him.The steam in this book is fairly mild. A few quick kisses and a few full scenes towards the end. My favorite was a naughty scene in the middle of Vauxhall gardens. But nothing extremely explicit or crazy language used, for those who avoid that stuff.Max is so much a beta hero. He is so caring about Bianca and her family. He is wonderful. I really enjoyed him. He was very much a gentleman to Bianca even with her spitting venom at him in the beginning. He has a pleasant personality. He's not a grumpy brooder. But he does have a secret. And while secrets aren't my favorite thing in romance novels, this one didn't play out the way I expected it to, and I was happy with the way it worked out.Bianca is a very independent and opinionated heroine. Once she gets over her dislike of Max she is quite sweet though. Sometimes those feisty heroines can annoy me a bit but I didn't find that with her.The thing that dropped the rating for me a lot was this book felt soooo slow. While I really did like the aspect of the pottery business – it was different and interesting and the way it was described I was really able to picture the pieces made – I just kept waiting for something to happen. I felt like a lot of what I had read by 50% could have been described in 20%. But there are so many sweet little scenes in this book. And it was clever. The banter and their interactions were rather funny sometimes. Overall a very pleasant read. There also was a short novella about Bianca's maid and Max's valet at the end of the book that was rather cute.Thank you netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions are my own.Spoilers about my favorite parts...........(view spoiler)[ I adored how Max always turned Bianca's antagonistic comments around on her in the beginning. Like when he comes up to her and she sniffs at him and says she just caught a chill. He offers her his jacket because she has him all 'hot and flustered'. He was just so clever and adorable with managing her dislike, I loved his reactions. I also LOVED that he was displaying his calves to entice her. That had me laughing. My favorite though was when she asked him about how he was always at the breakfast table before she was. He admits that he would listen for her maid to open her door and it would squeak and he would rush out of bed as fast as he could to get downstairs before her. Bianca kept getting up earlier and earlier until she was getting up when it was still dark out and every time he would be sitting at the breakfast table. It was just too cute. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint! I'm a huge fan of Caroline Linden, plus knowing the story centered around a family-owned pottery factory made my ears perk up, since I used to work at a Wedgwood collection archive. I was certainly predisposed to fall in love with this book, and while it wasn't a perfect book for me, it was pretty close.First, I'll say that Ms. Linden packs in a lot of detail and research in this book and for the most part weaves it seamlessly into t I was so excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint! I'm a huge fan of Caroline Linden, plus knowing the story centered around a family-owned pottery factory made my ears perk up, since I used to work at a Wedgwood collection archive. I was certainly predisposed to fall in love with this book, and while it wasn't a perfect book for me, it was pretty close.First, I'll say that Ms. Linden packs in a lot of detail and research in this book and for the most part weaves it seamlessly into the love story. There's great detail about the pottery factory and village, Vauxhall, and a very detailed cricket match. At the same time, I felt there was a lot of plot packed in that didn't really deliver for me. To begin, we have the business of Max St. James suddenly and unexpectedly becoming second in line for a dukedom, which starts our story and prompts him into a marriage of convenience. But there are so many plot threads going on after that, that I'd quite forgotten about the whole Duke business until the very end!Beyond the main love story, there's family drama with Bianca's sister, some secrets Max is keeping that may or may not be sinister in nature and may or may not be dangerous to Bianca, Max's plan to expand the business, some gossipy London ladies that Max fears will ruin his character and hints about Max's rakish past coming back to haunt him, and a few elderly aunts with pertaining back stories. And more! There's just a lot going on, which I feel is partly due to setting the stage for later books in the series. But it's my main issue with the book. I would have liked less but more developed plot points.Max is just a fantastic hero. I always feel Ms. Linden writes the best heroes. Max is so very good to Bianca in spite of her terrible treatment of him in the beginning. It took me a long time to warm up to Bianca. From the very first time she's on the page, she is seething and angry, all the way until about 40% of the book. It seemed that she held onto that anger for unreasonably long as well. While I did end up liking her, I still felt I wanted the happy ending more for the sake of Max. Overall this was a great read, and I'm very excited for future books in this series. (Plus the novella at the end was fantastic!)*ARC provided by NetGalley for review*
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  • Tales Of A Bookbug
    January 1, 1970
    About a Rogue is the third book that I've read from Caroline Linden and she's quickly becoming a favorite of mine! I'd been wanting to read this one ever since I came across the blurb and marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes!After the Duke of Carlyle's brother(and heir) dies, his mother decides to summon the three distant relatives who are next in line to inherit the dukedom soon. She wants to make sure that the dukedom is passed on to someone who fits her criteria and will take About a Rogue is the third book that I've read from Caroline Linden and she's quickly becoming a favorite of mine! I'd been wanting to read this one ever since I came across the blurb and marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes!After the Duke of Carlyle's brother(and heir) dies, his mother decides to summon the three distant relatives who are next in line to inherit the dukedom soon. She wants to make sure that the dukedom is passed on to someone who fits her criteria and will take good care of it. If they turn their lives around in six months and get married by then, they'll receive an annuity and be settled for a life. One of the candidates is Maximillian St. James, a rogue with a reputation that precedes him.Max is determined to not let this opportunity slip by. So, he decides to marry Samuel Tate's younger daughter Cathy, as she and her sister Bianca will inherit the shares in their father's ceramics business.On the other hand, Bianca is determined to see her sister be happy, so she helps Cathy elope and ends up taking her place at the altar in order to save the business. What starts off as a marriage of convenience, soon turns into something more when Max discovers that he's now got everything that he's wanted. All he has to do is make sure Bianca realizes the same!After reading so many historical romance books in the past few weeks with arrogant, alpha heroes, it was quite refreshing to read about an ex-scoundrel who is actually honest and charming. I loved the playful banter between him and Bianca. He had his work cut out for him because she totally hated him at first!Bianca sees him as an opportunist who has come along to take away her family business. So, it takes a while for her to see the man who is willing to put in the hardwork to improve the business and learn about it. Max is more encouraging than her father and her co-workers. He gives her the respect she deserves and listens to her ideas. In return, she also learns to see behind his facade and takes a chance on his future plans for the company.It takes some time for them to move beyond the initial animosity and Max has to work hard to earn her trust. I loved the slow development of the relationship between them and it was done in a realistic manner. But, on the other hand, though I loved these two as individual characters, I didn't feel much chemistry between them beyond a light spark. They were perfect for each other, but I just felt as if there was something missing.Also, Bianca was a little annoying at first with her intense hatred of Max. She wasn't even willing to give him a chance, but I'm glad that changed and she also grew as a character. The touch of drama with Max's secret wasn't really that much of a big deal in my opinion as Bianca handled it well, but I guess there wouldn't be much of a plot in a HR book if there isn't some drama at the very least! Lol!In the end, this was a light and refreshing read with well-developed characters that I came to love! Plus, it's a great start to a new series and I'm very interested in finding out who will actually end up inheriting the dukedom! The colonel or the mysterious Frenchman?Rating : 3.5 stars*I was provided with an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*
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  • Lu
    January 1, 1970
    An inconvenient marriage, a strong connection, a blurred line between passion and ambition. Lord Maximilian St. John discovered he was in line to inherit a dukedom. His chances of really inheriting were slim, but he intended to use the allowance he was granted and the connection to establish himself in life.That is how he ended up offering marriage to Catherine Tate, heiress of the famous and prosperous Tate Pottery. Everything was working perfectly fine until he was forced to exchange the doci An inconvenient marriage, a strong connection, a blurred line between passion and ambition. Lord Maximilian St. John discovered he was in line to inherit a dukedom. His chances of really inheriting were slim, but he intended to use the allowance he was granted and the connection to establish himself in life.That is how he ended up offering marriage to Catherine Tate, heiress of the famous and prosperous Tate Pottery. Everything was working perfectly fine until he was forced to exchange the docile Catherine for her indomitable sister Bianca.What was supposed to be a calm marriage of convenience turned into a crash of wills. A delicious enemies-to-lovers!I felt an immediate connection with the characters, and I was emotionally invested in their HEA. Maximilian is an adorable and vulnerable hero. He is ambitious and practical, but he is also loyal. Bianca is intelligent and full of spirit. Her love for her family and her dedication to the pottery were very inspiring.Their bantering was fun, and they had great chemistry together.As a bonus, there is a novella that retells the story from the perspective of the servants. Kit Laurence and Jennie (St. John's valet and Bianca's lady's maid) get their very own HEA.About a Rogue is very entertaining and tenderly written. Highly recommended! Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*This review will be posted on https://lureviewsbooks.com on 06/30/2020*
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  • b.andherbooks
    January 1, 1970
    I finished reading an ARC of About a Rogue this morning! Competence porn, so much pottery, a man who loves to dress up fancy, and some Vauxhall debauchery to boot!I reviewed for Library Journal and will post the link once it is live.Thank you to the publisher and LJ for the advanced reading copy.
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  • Arriesta
    January 1, 1970
    This book is soooo damn good! I love the premise for the series, I can predict some amazing possibilities for story lines and character pairing. This series is going to be epic; I can feel it.Side note, I want a backstory novella about Her Grace the Duchess of Carlyle, mother to the current Duke of Carlyle, whose head injury has reduced his mental capabilities to that of a child and is unable to produce an heir. After the death of her younger son, the Duchess sends her solicitor to find the next This book is soooo damn good! I love the premise for the series, I can predict some amazing possibilities for story lines and character pairing. This series is going to be epic; I can feel it.Side note, I want a backstory novella about Her Grace the Duchess of Carlyle, mother to the current Duke of Carlyle, whose head injury has reduced his mental capabilities to that of a child and is unable to produce an heir. After the death of her younger son, the Duchess sends her solicitor to find the next distant male cousin who would be in line for the dukedom…. And comes back with three possibilities….Mr. Maximillian St. James is one of the three possibilities who scoundrel background leaves much to be desired. The Duchess provides Max some funds in order to marry and prove he is capable of respectability and he isn’t about to blow this chance of a lifetime!Bianca Tate helps her sister escape and elope when she becomes obligated to marry Max, only to take her sisters place instead. Now married to a man she believes is after her family’s ceramic business, she is shocked when he might just be the key to taking the business to next level and that they might be the perfect match…Very well-done story, original concept and I loved reading about all the details involved in the ceramic industry. I loooooved the E-only Novella about the side characters to this story, it was absolutely beautiful…. I hope CL makes it available in the print copy that I have pre-order.
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  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    *Wipes tears* And another hit from Caroline Linden!! "And as they drove back to the house in Farley Street, she made a silent promise to her husband that she would never be so faithless or disloyal, as his family had been. Tates were made of sterner stuff. Together, they would build a new family, and find happiness there." ABOUT A ROGUE brings vastly different characters together and creates a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings. Linden creates a refreshing take on a histo *Wipes tears* And another hit from Caroline Linden!! "And as they drove back to the house in Farley Street, she made a silent promise to her husband that she would never be so faithless or disloyal, as his family had been. Tates were made of sterner stuff. Together, they would build a new family, and find happiness there." ABOUT A ROGUE brings vastly different characters together and creates a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings. Linden creates a refreshing take on a historical romance novel, choosing a rogue with a chance at dukedom, and pairing him with a hard-working glazer whose family runs a ceramics business. Their hate/indifference-to-love relationship is a beautiful slow burn, as readers grow to appreciate both characters as they fall in love with each other. In the prologue, we find that the Duchess of Carlyle is searching for distant cousins to be readied to become the next duke. One of these distant cousins, Max, is a rogue and a gambler. Her incentive for turning him into a sober and decent man is a large allowance, in order to prepare him for the possibility of becoming a duke in the future. Max, however, doesn't really want to become a duke. He may be a rogue, but he's looking for honest work and a chance to have his own... everything. His own home, his own passion, and his own family. Through a mutual acquaintance, he strikes up the friendship of Mr. Tate, who owns a ceramics factory, and becomes interested in his company. However, Tate keeps the company within the family. So what can Max do, but ask to marry into it? Good thing Mr. Tate has two eligible daughters...We begin the story with Bianca despising Max, thinking him a dandy and rogue that only married into her family for money. Max doesn't care either way, and he's ready to get started with learning the business. We begin to see a relationship unfold as Bianca cannot ignore Max's earnestness, and Max remains patient to eventually wear down her anger. I thought these interactions were so pure and sweet, and their slow-burn progression to loving the other was perfect. Max's respect for Bianca's knowledge in ceramics and passion for the business was beautifully evident. Her own empathy with his poverty-led path and struggles was also really heartwarming to see. Together, they make a powerful team as they both bring new ideas to the Tate business that pave the way to success. "Perhaps... just perhaps... this ill-begotten marriage would turn out to be a brilliant match." Not only is the premise refreshing, but the angst is kept low as well (as usual with Linden books). The main conflict was not dragged out, and I found the characters' reactions realistic and empathetic. It was very evident to see the main couples' love for one another, as well as a colorful cast of supporting characters who supported them every step of the way. Linden is a queen of historical romance, and ABOUT A ROGUE captures my favorite aspects of her stories. I would recommend this for someone looking for a refreshing historical romance, with a unique premise and spunky characters that just tug on your heartstrings. In fact, this might be one of my favorites of her books, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series!Trigger Warnings: off-page details of abuse (physical, mental), trauma and mental illnessI do have to note: while Linden maintains historical accuracy with the storyline set in London, I don't think mentioning the culturally appropriating costumes of Vauxhall adds to the plot. Maybe the setting? It goes unchallenged, since historical accuracy and everything, but I didn't think it was necessary. There is also a side plot that deals with mental illness that definitely could have been explored, and in a more respectable way. It wasn't a focus of the story, but there was a lost opportunity in that.Thank you Netgalley and Avon for the review copy!
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    Caroline Linden’s latest is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Abandoning the Regency for the earlier Georgian era, just after the American Revolution, instead of falling into the fashion porn so many other authors writing in this time period over-indulge in, she drops us smack into the middle of romance set amid a fascinating and rising new industry of the era – high end English pottery. It may actually be my favorite of hers to-date.It’s a common set-up, but with the typical Linden Caroline Linden’s latest is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Abandoning the Regency for the earlier Georgian era, just after the American Revolution, instead of falling into the fashion porn so many other authors writing in this time period over-indulge in, she drops us smack into the middle of romance set amid a fascinating and rising new industry of the era – high end English pottery. It may actually be my favorite of hers to-date.It’s a common set-up, but with the typical Linden original twist. A Duke is about to die without heirs to his Dukedom, common enough. The uncommon bit is that the Duke is mentally impaired due to a childhood head injury and is unable to make any decisions for himself, so his elderly and very intelligent mother takes it upon herself to locate three distant relatives with the best claims to the title in order to bring them up to scratch. She tells them it is up to them to prove themselves worthy, and lets them know they are expected to marry respectably and in due course, provide heirs.Only two of the three can be found, and they are second and third in line by order of primacy. Second in line is a Scottish army officer. Third in line is a disreputable gentleman who makes his living as a gambler. He is our hero, Max St. James.He decides from the outset that his shot at the Dukedom is slim to none, especially as the Army officer is taking it very seriously and doing his best to curry favor, but he takes the Duchess’ money and admonition to go and prove himself respectable to heart. It’s the best chance he has ever had for stability in his life, and he runs toward it with all his ambition. Because Max is a gambler by necessity, not inclination, and he does well with it by having a good head for numbers, nerve, and an understanding of what is a calculated risk and what is a reckless one.That being said, he’s determined to find himself an opportunity to earn his own income and not be reliant on the Duchess. Her money is the start he needs, not the end. So he becomes acquainted with a man who owns and up-and-coming pottery in Staffordshire (Which if you look into the history of Wedgwood, Spode and Doulton, you’ll see was a major new industry in this era.) who happens to have a prosperous business, two unmarried daughters, and no sons. Max meets them and convinces the father to let him marry the oldest daughter, Cathy, who is amiable and beautiful for ¼ interest in the business. Unbeknownst to Max, but well known to both Cathy and her younger sister, Bianca, Cathy is already in love with the local curate, who hasn’t yet come up to scratch. But Cathy agrees, because Max is very nice and very handsome and her father wishes it.Bianca, who is tall, stubborn, and an inventor of pottery glazes at her father’s factory, is having none of that. She convinces Cathy to run off with her true love instead of the obvious fortune hunter no matter how well-mannered and pleasant he seems. When Max returns to London to make arrangements, Cathy and Bianca make plans to get Cathy away and eloped with her curate. The morning of the wedding, the bride is nowhere to be found, and seeing their father has already decided to have Max as a son-in-law and he has a spare daughter just lying around, he goads Bianca into agreeing to take her sister’s place.Now Max is stuck with an ambitious and suspicious wife who wants nothing to do with him, a pleased father-in-law willing to take him into the business, and a lot to prove. This is literally just the set-up.The way Linden builds the relationship between Max and Bianca is masterful and I’m not going to spoil it in this review. But this is a romance that is built on far, far more than physical attraction, though both hero and heroine are very attractive. Both characters are ambitious and driven, both work extremely hard, both care deeply for the people in their lives and as the story unfolds you can see how very well-suited they are in all of these traits. And once they get together, the love scenes are hot, meaningful and drive the plot.You really like these people and you root for them, including in a very unconventional and fun game of cricket, which women played in the Georgian Era.And the bits about the pottery industry are interesting, too. Surprisingly interesting and surprisingly integral to this story. Everything from shipping dinnerware without breakage to finding an ideal way to sell to the upper classes is discussed without ever being dull. It’s all there to show just how intelligent, talented and useful as people both Max and Bianca are.There is also a bit of a mystery plot from Max’s past that I don’t want to discuss so as not to spoil the surprise, but even that is both realistic, era-appropriate, and lets our characters show the best parts of themselves, including some side characters you will also very much enjoy. The ladies in this book all acquit themselves very well. No shrinking violets or useless, sighing maidens allowing things to happen to them are in evidence. Cathy is the closest thing to conventional, and she elopes with her boyfriend.Which is also realistic. Georgian women had far more freedom than we tend to remember. They went to coffeehouses to discuss topics of the day, ran salons and debating societies. While their legal rights were curtailed, which also comes into this story, they did a lot more work and thinking than many authors remember to give them credit for. Linden is not one of them and their work is well thought-out here.This book is a truly satisfying read, cover-to-cover, with plenty of romance to delight and plenty of plot to make it a real page-turner. The ending is absolutely as happy as you could wish as well. You should read it and get your friends who love romance to read it, too.
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  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    The best way to describe this books is probably ‘on the better side of average.’ Linden’s prose is polished and flows well; her characters are likeable; and the plot doesn’t have any jarring holes in it. I sped quickly through the book but it hasn’t left much of an impression on me.It’s 1787. Our hero Augustus Crispin Maximilian ‘Max’ St James is a distant relation of the wealthy Duke of Carlyle, whose pool of potential heirs has been decimated by a series of unfortunate events. The famil The best way to describe this books is probably ‘on the better side of average.’ Linden’s prose is polished and flows well; her characters are likeable; and the plot doesn’t have any jarring holes in it. I sped quickly through the book but it hasn’t left much of an impression on me.It’s 1787. Our hero Augustus Crispin Maximilian ‘Max’ St James is a distant relation of the wealthy Duke of Carlyle, whose pool of potential heirs has been decimated by a series of unfortunate events. The family’s solicitors have scrounged up three men who might be the next duke: Max, a captain in the army, and a Frenchman who’s yet to be found. Max so far has been surviving through gaming and gambling. The St James family never bothered to care for him or his mother, so he grew up wild on the streets of London. He’s determined to never have to suffer financial embarassments again. This is where Catherine Tate comes in. She’s the demure, wealthy heiress to a successful pottery company, and just the woman Max needs to secure respectability.But when Cathy elopes with another man on the morning of their wedding, Max is left to take her sister Bianca in her stead. Bianca is most definitely not demure. She’s sarcastic, sharp-tongued, and views him as an outsider. He’s determined to win his unwilling wife over, but his difficult past keeps throwing obstacles in his path. Probably the best thing about this couple is how witty their banter is. Bianca keeps sniping at Max, but without losing his temper, he turns all her barbs back onto her in quite entertaining ways. Their romance is pretty sweet, especially the way he’s quietly in love with her for a while before she lets herself fall.I did have issues, however, with the beginning of the book. It really irked me that Max fully planned to marry Cathy and didn’t even give Bianca a second glance until the morning of their wedding. I’m no fan of insta-love, but I do think that when the hero and heroine first meet, there should be some awareness between them. Here, Bianca might as well not exist to Max until Cathy disappears. There’s also a distasteful scene in the middle of the book when some of Max’s old lovers reappear in his life; though he’s obviously embarassed to see them and makes them leave, it wasn’t fun to read. The historical background was alright. The book is set in the Georgian period, and so we get flashes of fashion (like Max’s high heels) as well as in-depth chapters on pottery techniques, which surprisingly did not send me straight to sleep. Overall A fairly standard historical romance, with characters who pleased me at the time but whom I won’t recall if you ask me a week later. [Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    This story takes place mainly in the Potteries, the area around Stoke on Trent. It was interesting in that there was some explanation about the workings of the pottery factory. A short amount of time is spent in London. Max is a complex character, he has been quite the rogue but he had a difficult background and is far more intelligent than people gave him credit for. Bianca is the fiery one of the sisters and also the most talented as far as the factory is concerned. Their relationship is storm This story takes place mainly in the Potteries, the area around Stoke on Trent. It was interesting in that there was some explanation about the workings of the pottery factory. A short amount of time is spent in London. Max is a complex character, he has been quite the rogue but he had a difficult background and is far more intelligent than people gave him credit for. Bianca is the fiery one of the sisters and also the most talented as far as the factory is concerned. Their relationship is stormy at first but Max has the patience of a saint and gradually they come to know each much better. However, Max does have a secret and this may cause problems when known. This was such an entertaining read, including a little about the lives of the servants and it had very engaging main characters.
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  • Harlequin Historical
    January 1, 1970
    CategoriesContemporary Women's Fiction, Romance, Regency RomanceMiniseriesDesperately Seeking Duke (Book #1)
  • Sharyn
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book set in Georgian England in a small town dominated by the Tate Family Pottery Works. Bianca Tate is the youngest daughter of Samuel Tate and takes her work at the factory making glazes very seriously. Meanwhile, her older sister Cathy is all that is genteel in a lady as she helps her father with keeping his house and managing the servants. One night, Mr. Tate brings home Maximilian St. James, who says he is a distant relation of a Duke and is interested in the Tate business. Bia I loved this book set in Georgian England in a small town dominated by the Tate Family Pottery Works. Bianca Tate is the youngest daughter of Samuel Tate and takes her work at the factory making glazes very seriously. Meanwhile, her older sister Cathy is all that is genteel in a lady as she helps her father with keeping his house and managing the servants. One night, Mr. Tate brings home Maximilian St. James, who says he is a distant relation of a Duke and is interested in the Tate business. Bianca is concerned that this dissolute London “gentleman”, with his velvet coats and lacy cuffs, is going to ruin their family business that he knows nothing about. She is further horrified when her father announces that he has offered Max her sister’s hand in marriage so that he can join the family business. Bianca knows that Cathy is in love with the mild curate of their village and he loves her so she assists Cathy with eloping with her love, thereby foiling St. James’ plans. What follows is a hasty convenient marriage of two people that hate each other. Well, at least Bianca hates Max. He actually likes Bianca’s intelligence, knowledge of the business, creativity, and... her curves, too. Throughout the story, Bianca gets to know more about Max and realize she was judging him based on nothing; she really didn’t know him at all. There are so many great scenes, as Max decides to play a long, patience-filled game to gain Bianca’s affections, as well as show her he does know about business and has some good ideas to grow the pottery works. I especially loved the cricket match, where Bianca’s competitiveness comes out. And, every time you think things will work out between the two, something comes up that threatens their future happiness. This was a very engaging read that I found hard to put down.I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. That did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jaclyn
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was an absolute delight. I don't really like Georgian romances (it's the wigs!), but I loved that Linden featured characters that were engaged in trade (less wigs!). The marriage-of-convenience trope was done so, so well in this one. Bianca made an impulsive decision to marry Max in place of her sister and it turns out Max wasn't the dandyish fortune hunter that she was expecting. For his part, Max is determined to be part of something larger and finally have some roots after living p Well, this was an absolute delight. I don't really like Georgian romances (it's the wigs!), but I loved that Linden featured characters that were engaged in trade (less wigs!). The marriage-of-convenience trope was done so, so well in this one. Bianca made an impulsive decision to marry Max in place of her sister and it turns out Max wasn't the dandyish fortune hunter that she was expecting. For his part, Max is determined to be part of something larger and finally have some roots after living precariously for most of his life. There wasn't a ton of drama here, the character development was fantastic, and it was simply two competent people development a partnership. Everything about About a Rogue just worked for me. *Review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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  • Austine (NovelKnight)
    January 1, 1970
    Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via Edelweiss). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I've come to expect certain things from historical romances lately, namely that they generally involve some sort of nobility with at least one of the characters which ends up being as much part of the story as the character. So I was pleasantly surprised when I started About a Rogue and the bulk of the story Check out the original review and more on NovelKnight! This book was provided by the publisher (via Edelweiss). This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I've come to expect certain things from historical romances lately, namely that they generally involve some sort of nobility with at least one of the characters which ends up being as much part of the story as the character. So I was pleasantly surprised when I started About a Rogue and the bulk of the story takes place in and around a ceramics factory.You don't see many (if any?) romances focused on ceramics, of all things, so it instantly made this book memorable.And while that detail will likely stick with me for a while, it's the characters that are driving this story ahead full force. First we have Bianca, daughter of a ceramics tycoon, if you will, with plans to take over one day with her sister. The things I liked about Bianca's personality were often also the things that turned me off in the beginning. She's passionate about her work, stubborn to the point that it gets in her way (but a little stubbornness in a male-dominated society is fine by me), and she doesn't let anything stand in the way of what she wants. That said, I struggled to feel anything but annoyance where she was concerned in the beginning. Her love for her sister was great but I felt like her hatred of Max, the interloper in their family business, was exaggerated to the point that I didn't find it believable. Max never gave her a reason to lash out the way she did and while she eventually realized this, I found I didn't enjoy her perspective scenes nearly as much for a while.Max, himself, had much of the same drive and was ready to put the work in. He was clear about what he wanted in the relationship and the connections it brought him, and his cleverness and charm won over both me and Bianca's family. The fact that he threw himself so willingly into the factory life and business demonstrated his commitment to them as well as Bianca and their relationship, and made the romance that much stronger. I also really appreciated that he didn't try to push Bianca for his own gain; rather, he worked to get to know her and what she loved to develop that connection first.I think that's why I ended up enjoying About the Rogue so much. Here is a romance with an unexpected marriage between two strangers who (after a rocky beginning) give their potential relationship a chance. It's not love at first sight, but a love built on mutual interest, understanding, and work. And physical attraction, of course.My only issue with the book came closer to the end when the romance was moving along at a steady pace but Linden decided to throw in all this extra drama that was sort of seeded along the way but not enough to really interest me to know more. So when it all came out it felt more like a means to add tension that didn't fit the core of the story. Overall, though, I really enjoyed About a Rogue and would definitely read the sequel. A promising start to a new series!For More Bookish Content: Blog || Twitter || Facebook || Bloglovin'
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way impacted on my view.After the heir to the Duchy of Carlyle dies, young, unmarried, the dowager Duchess is left to find a new heir, before her sickly son dies. That brings Maximilian St. James to the picture. A descendent of the third Duke, he has a small claim, but being a notorious rogue, he needs to tidy up his act before he could be considered worthy. The Duchess allots him a stipend to improve himself, and bet I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way impacted on my view.After the heir to the Duchy of Carlyle dies, young, unmarried, the dowager Duchess is left to find a new heir, before her sickly son dies. That brings Maximilian St. James to the picture. A descendent of the third Duke, he has a small claim, but being a notorious rogue, he needs to tidy up his act before he could be considered worthy. The Duchess allots him a stipend to improve himself, and better yet, marry and start a family. That's when he meets the Tate family. The Tate's are known throughout the country for their fine dinnerware, and St James is interested in investing in the business, and marrying into the family, to kill two birds with one stone. However, his betrothed, eldest daughter Cathy, is in love with the local curate, and wants to elope and marry him instead. Bianca, angry at her father's meddling to marry off Cathy without her say so, helps her to escape and marry her love, but that leaves her being forced to marry Max instead.Well, the marriage doesn't start off well. Bianca only cares about the business, and doesn't trust how much Max is getting involved, as she thinks it should be hers, and hers alone. However, the more she is forced to listen to Max's ideas, which are actually brilliant and will improve the business, she starts to see him as something more than just a rogue and a rake, and perhaps he is the perfect partner she never knew she wanted or needed.This was my first of Linden's books, but it definitely won't be my last. I just loved her characters and her plot, and Bianca and Max's romance was swoony and perfect for the story. Each were strong willed people, who wouldn't back down without a fight, and seeing them clash and start to give way when they knew they were just needling for the sake of it was definitely refreshing. More than that, there was the plot line of the improvement of the pottery business, and Max's past, which helped as an interlude between the romantic scenes, and fleshed out the story to be as enjoyable as it was. Everything that happened in the book was perfect for it, and I can't wait for the companion novel, about the other prospective heir, and I hope to see more of Bianca and Max. Linden is definitely an author I'll be keeping an eye out for in the future.
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  • Jen Davis
    January 1, 1970
    Caroline Linden serves up an enemies to lovers story in this first installment of her Desperately Seeking Duke series. Well, at least the heroine considers them enemies.You see, Max originally proposed marriage to Bianca's sister, Cathy, despite the fact they barely knew each other. Cathy was the sweet, biddable daughter of a pottery magnet who accepted on her behalf. Unfortunately for both men, she was in love with another man, and Bianca helped her elope with her true intended. Their father di Caroline Linden serves up an enemies to lovers story in this first installment of her Desperately Seeking Duke series. Well, at least the heroine considers them enemies.You see, Max originally proposed marriage to Bianca's sister, Cathy, despite the fact they barely knew each other. Cathy was the sweet, biddable daughter of a pottery magnet who accepted on her behalf. Unfortunately for both men, she was in love with another man, and Bianca helped her elope with her true intended. Their father didn't take it well. Biana didn't take it any better when she found out her father had signed away a quarter of the company to his would be son-in-law. The company she loved and hoped one day to inherit. The only way to keep the shares in the family--and to spare her father great embarrassment-- was for her to marry Max in Cathy's place.Furious at Max for horning in on her family business and her father for being so high-handed, she is determined to give her new husband the cold shoulder. Max, however, finds he quickly he quite likes his new wife, her smarts and her bite. So he decides to play the long game to win her heart.I get why Bianca was mad, but that anger really belonged to her father. Max was always honest about his intentions and he worked hard to do well by her and the company. I liked these two together, and even though Bianca was kind of a brat to him at first, I liked watching how steady presence and attentiveness won her over.Alas, there was Big Secret Max was holding. And I hate that trope. Especially when the secret is underwhelming. But at least I couldn't see it coming from a mile away. And in true Linden fashion, it plays out low on the angst meter.Overall, though, I liked it fairly well. No deep feelings, but it's a well-written, easy read... with a little bonus epilogue at the end. (Seriously, why aren't there more romance novels about the downstairs help?)*ARC provided by Avon
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  • Luz Trevino
    January 1, 1970
    About a RogueSeries: First book in the Desperately Seeking DukeRating: 5 starsThank you to the author/publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.I'll start off by saying that I am a huge fan of this author. I truly enjoy her books and this one did not disappoint!!I loved this story from start to finish. Max St. James was such a great character. He's lived a very troubled past but when he has the opportunity to become a better man he goes for it. In his plan About a RogueSeries: First book in the Desperately Seeking DukeRating: 5 starsThank you to the author/publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.I'll start off by saying that I am a huge fan of this author. I truly enjoy her books and this one did not disappoint!!I loved this story from start to finish. Max St. James was such a great character. He's lived a very troubled past but when he has the opportunity to become a better man he goes for it. In his plans are those to marry the eldest daughter of the owner of a pottery factory. He has many great plans and on top of his list it to marry. Lucky for him he ends up marrying the younger daughter, Bianca. Bianca is such a wonderful character. She's strong, stubborn and a hard worker. She's responsible for creating glazes for the pottery. I liked how he gave her her space to explore her creativity and was very vocal about it. He admired her creativity and her ideas. This is one of the reasons that the wall she had built around her heart began to crumble day by day.Their marriage starts off very bumpy, but you could easily see their hot chemistry. Their bantering and when they tried to out do each other were fun to read. Max had a lot of patience. I liked how he gave her the time to get to know him and for her to let go of the prejudices she had against him. One of the best scenes is when she says his name, Max, and he loves it. I think he fell in love with her at that moment.Like any other romance story there was a little drama that needed to be overcome before they could find their HEA. Their trust on each other is put to the test and it caused for her to hold back on her feelings for a while. Luckily he is able to explain his past and the reasons for what he did that caused for her feelings to be hurt. I loved the angst and how they loved each other!I highly recommend it and I can't wait for the next one!!
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    About a Rogue is the first in Caroline Linden's new Desperately Seeking Duke series. The series starts with the unexpected death of the heir to a dukedom, and there is no immediately apparent spare. The duke himself is ailing, so his mother begins a search for possible candidates. While all distantly related, the search reveals a Scottish military captain, a gaming scoundrel, and a Frenchmen as the most likely possibilities. The Frenchmen has yet to be located, but the captain and the scoundrel About a Rogue is the first in Caroline Linden's new Desperately Seeking Duke series. The series starts with the unexpected death of the heir to a dukedom, and there is no immediately apparent spare. The duke himself is ailing, so his mother begins a search for possible candidates. While all distantly related, the search reveals a Scottish military captain, a gaming scoundrel, and a Frenchmen as the most likely possibilities. The Frenchmen has yet to be located, but the captain and the scoundrel are actually contacted and summoned to the duchess. The duchess is less impressed with any of her options, so she provides both men with resources and incentive to clean up their act and make themselves worthy of the responsibilities they might inherit. About a Rogue is the scoundrel's story. ***Maximillian - Max - is a distant cousin to the current duke, something his father liked to trade on, but it doesn't really mean much as far as having an actual connection/relationship or his daily life. For various reasons, Max hasn't had the easiest life. Even though he has the manners of a gentleman and knows a lot of people in the right circles, he's known poverty and has had to resort to gaming as his main profession. This new interruption to his life might actually be just what he needs to finally make a name for himself. Max is a born marketer. He has brilliant ideas and ambition; he has just lacked the opportunity. After his meeting with the duchess, he makes contact with a previous acquaintance, Samuel Tate, who is a potter (think Wedgwood). Tate has a thriving business (that Max thinks he can make even better) as well as two daughters. Max hopes to make an alliance with Tate not only as a new business partner but also as his new son-in-law. Of course, while men might think that sounds pretty simple and straightforward, the women take a very different view of things. *** This is a hate-to-love romance, but it's actually one-sided. Bianca is less than thrilled about her new husband. Opening of Chapter 6: "Bianca resolved before noon on her wedding day that she would hate and despise her husband for the rest of her life." Max on the other hand actually really respects and admires Bianca and meets her stubbornness with his own as he tries to make the best of the situation. Bottom line, I really loved this book. Max is definitely book-boyfriend-worthy. Beta-hero alert! He's really a decent guy and a brilliant businessman -- he just needed someone to give him a chance!!! He is also incredibly patient when it comes to Bianca's rebuffing him. Because Max was such a loveable rogue, it was hard for me to love Bianca in the beginning. But over the course of the story, you see that Bianca is a badass boss lady. She is vital to her father's business, and she knows it, but she is also willing to grow and admit that she doesn't know everything. She can also admit when's wrong. While Bianca says she's determined to hate Max, this isn't a slow burn. We're not forced to watch Max woo her the entire book, just to have her act like a jerk in the face of his kindness until the last few pages. The couple has a chemistry right from the start, which provides a lot of really great banter. This was just the feel-good book that I needed among the current craziness. It's definitely become one of my favorites from Caroline, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series plays out and who becomes the duke. ARC provided by author/publisher for honest review.
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  • Lisa C
    January 1, 1970
    Best enemies to lovers book I've read in a very long time. Often this kind of book tends to have the warring couple fall for each other much too quickly and with little effort. Bianca Tate is a woman to be reckoned with, and is not about to fall for her new husband. Maximilian St. James has a plan to marry and become a partner in Bianca's family business, and nothing is getting in his way, except perhaps his feelings for his wife. Ms Linden has written a well paced story with characters you feel Best enemies to lovers book I've read in a very long time. Often this kind of book tends to have the warring couple fall for each other much too quickly and with little effort. Bianca Tate is a woman to be reckoned with, and is not about to fall for her new husband. Maximilian St. James has a plan to marry and become a partner in Bianca's family business, and nothing is getting in his way, except perhaps his feelings for his wife. Ms Linden has written a well paced story with characters you feel attached to and root for a HEA for them. Highly recommend.
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  • Dani(elle)
    January 1, 1970
    Probably my second favorite Taming of the Shrew adaptation (the first is, of course, 10 Things I Hate About You). It hit all the beats that I liked while dodging the abuse, so well done that. I am a sucker for a marriage of convenience and the fact that it lead to mutual respect and admiration was icing on the cake.
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  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced reader’s copy of About a Rogue by Caroline Linden.Max is such a great character. He was a rogue and doesn’t deny it. But there’s a great deal more to him that is revealed as he encounters different situations. Bianca marries Max to protect the family business and is antagonistic toward him but in the moments they share, her stance starts to soften. Caroline has a gift for showing the couple falling in love and not rushing the romance. She didn’t disappoint in this story.Th I received an advanced reader’s copy of About a Rogue by Caroline Linden.Max is such a great character. He was a rogue and doesn’t deny it. But there’s a great deal more to him that is revealed as he encounters different situations. Bianca marries Max to protect the family business and is antagonistic toward him but in the moments they share, her stance starts to soften. Caroline has a gift for showing the couple falling in love and not rushing the romance. She didn’t disappoint in this story.The settings in the story were described in detail. I especially liked the town where Bianca’s family business is located and the sense of community that was shown through the various residents of the town.I’m excited to see where Caroline will go next with this series.
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  • Niki
    January 1, 1970
    When their beloved father accepts a marriage offer for her sister, Cathy, Bianca Tate is appalled, especially given the fact that the groom, Maximillian St. James, is a notorious rake. Cathy is in love with another and Bianca rebelliously helps her sister elope, only to find herself taking Cathy’s place and obliged to marry St. James.Max has relied on his own shrewdness and charm to survive, never knowing much permanency. When a wild chance of fate sees him second in line to a dukedom, Max finds When their beloved father accepts a marriage offer for her sister, Cathy, Bianca Tate is appalled, especially given the fact that the groom, Maximillian St. James, is a notorious rake. Cathy is in love with another and Bianca rebelliously helps her sister elope, only to find herself taking Cathy’s place and obliged to marry St. James.Max has relied on his own shrewdness and charm to survive, never knowing much permanency. When a wild chance of fate sees him second in line to a dukedom, Max finds himself the recipient of a healthy allowance. But this stroke of luck comes with conditions imposed by the dragonish Duchess of Carlyle, the most pressing of them being the need for respectability. Since the fastest way to being establishing that respectability is a perfectly respectable marriage, it doesn’t much matter to Max which of the Tate sisters he marries. Either way, he gets a stake in their family’s successful business and positive changes in his lifestyle to report to the duchess.Bianca is determined to protect her family’s successful ceramics business and her role in it, no matter what. Despite Max’s apparent business acumen and the temptation he presents, Bianca is determined to keep him at bay. When Max takes note of the lovely, brilliant woman beneath the bluster, he’s determined to show Bianca all the love and devotion he’s developed for her, even if she never returns his sentiments.This book was such a pleasant surprise. It took me awhile to get into it and to warm to the characters, especially Bianca, but it was well worth it. She and Max wound up being so lovely together and, despite its inauspicious beginnings, they had such a pure relationship by the end that it was a great read. This was a well-executed enemies to lovers trope with just a bit of intrigue to keep me turning pages and yet still light-hearted and perfect for my current mood. This was a promising start to a new series that I’ll definitely be keeping up with now.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • shoesforall
    January 1, 1970
    I obtained an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.This review is very difficult to write because I enjoy Ms. Linden's books immensely and was very much looking forward to this book. This book is well-written with a clever premise and some great supporting characters but overall it is disappointing.The pacing of the courtship is generally well done but it begged for more details. Their relationship seemed to initially be built on those walks from work to home. Tel I obtained an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.This review is very difficult to write because I enjoy Ms. Linden's books immensely and was very much looking forward to this book. This book is well-written with a clever premise and some great supporting characters but overall it is disappointing.The pacing of the courtship is generally well done but it begged for more details. Their relationship seemed to initially be built on those walks from work to home. Tell me more about those walks. Give me details and dialogue and maybe a cliched scene where Bianca twists her ankle slightly. Something.I thought that Max was handled very well and really grew up in the relationship into a man worthy of being a partner. He was studious, thoughtful, and savvy but also compassionate toward Bianca and her family. I did think he was a little too cold-blooded industrialist but that is because I am in a revolutionary phase right now.I thought that Bianca's transition was awful. Bianca doesn't become a woman capable of managing a home and work life. She doesn't grow into being a better partner. She becomes a cardboard cutout of what a spouse should be. She loses herself. After she perfects the red glaze, there is never another scene of her in her workshop.Finally, there is a plot line dealing with mental illness that is handled very very poorly. The character is treated very badly in the asylum but she isn't really crazy so she doesn't deserve it and everything is okay. Bah, what a cop-out and what a missed opportunity to deal with mental illness and the challenges of caring for someone with mental illness.In fact, that is what this whole book could be summed up as: a missed opportunity. Unless you are a hardcore Linden fan, I would take a pass on this book.
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  • Heather Clawson
    January 1, 1970
    "I don't dare touch you or kiss you, because I might combust on the spot if I can't have all of you." Max St James, About a RogueFirst of all - I LOVE this book. All caps. L-O-V-E. I've read a few of Caroline Linden's other work, all of which was good and I enjoyed; About a Rogue is exquisite. This is the first book in her new series- Desperately Seeking Duke. The dukedom of Carlyle has lost its only direct heir, and with the present duke in ever-declining health the Duchess seeks out any other "I don't dare touch you or kiss you, because I might combust on the spot if I can't have all of you." Max St James, About a RogueFirst of all - I LOVE this book. All caps. L-O-V-E. I've read a few of Caroline Linden's other work, all of which was good and I enjoyed; About a Rogue is exquisite. This is the first book in her new series- Desperately Seeking Duke. The dukedom of Carlyle has lost its only direct heir, and with the present duke in ever-declining health the Duchess seeks out any other heirs - a Scottish army captain and a notorious rogue. The rogue is the hero of this novel - Maximillian St James. However, this is a bad boy with a heart of gold. He leverages his shot at a dukedom to propose a partnership with Samuel Tate, owner of a very successful pottery business, including marrying his sweet, calm daughter Catherine Tate. Catherine, however, is in love with another man, and her younger sister, Bianca convinces her to elope on the eve of the wedding, which results in Bianca being forced to marry Max instead.This isn't quite an enemies-to-lovers story, since Max never views Bianca as an enemy. In fact, he may be one of the sweetest, most patient male protagonists I've read! The chemistry between Bianca and Max builds steadily and is delicious to read. The climax of the book hits hard and fast, and is oh-so-satisfying. Linden does an exceptional job writing passion. Both romantically and otherwise. Bianca's passion for her pottery business is conveyed expertly, as is Max's passion to prove himself.I am so glad to have received this ARC from Harper Collins and the Avon Historical Romance Readers group on Facebook. I can't wait for the next book in this series!!
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  • Mary Gallo
    January 1, 1970
    This author is one of my favorites for the very reason that she delivers a good read every time. And she delivered good read with this book. She doesn't use a formula; what she does is writes a book that wraps around the reader and pulls them into the story. I find myself reading her stories slowly, because it seems as if they are over too quickly. But they aren't. These are the kind if stories that you read and then immediately go back and read the parts that you liked the best. The heroine of This author is one of my favorites for the very reason that she delivers a good read every time. And she delivered good read with this book. She doesn't use a formula; what she does is writes a book that wraps around the reader and pulls them into the story. I find myself reading her stories slowly, because it seems as if they are over too quickly. But they aren't. These are the kind if stories that you read and then immediately go back and read the parts that you liked the best. The heroine of this story is the younger sister who works at her family's pottery factory. She works on creating the colored glazes. The hero is a man who has been down on his luck but finds that he is one of the heirs of a duke. But there is another distant cousin in front of him. So he uses the funds he is given to get himself.to the heroine's father and arrange a marriage to the elder sister. But she elopes with her beau and the younger sister steps in. And the story just keeps getting better. This story is very well written. Too many times, an author just keeps throwing information at the reader and it doesn't really make any sense. There are many of these stories out there. But this story is not like that. All of the plots wind together into an enchanting romance that is memorable. The characters are very likeable and keep growing in the story. There are no grammar or spelling errors. I liked that the heroine was spunky and not bratty. I liked that the hero was concious of the value of things and was not wasteful. I could go on and on about everything I liked, but you need to read this story and enjoy it. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 stars
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