Sophie Jordan knows how to bring the steam and that, plus the fact that her books are entertaining and eminently readable (an even more appreciated combo in the days of social distancing), made me so excited to open The Virgin and the Rogueup.
Samuel Kingston—an illegitimate son of an earl—stops at his stepbrother Warrington’s home for the night after determining that his old carousing ways no longer satisfy. There he meets the quiet, already affianced Charlotte Langley, a woman so biddable that she lets her soon to be mother-in-law walk all over her.
After taking a tonic that her sister Nora prepares for her cramps, quiet Charlotte runs into Kingston when everyone else is abed and turns into a greedy, passion-fueled, pleasure-seeking woman, basically jumping the bemused man in the library. Kingston is intrigued, to put it mildly, and for her part, Charlotte’s horrified but she also can’t stop wanting Kingston, aphrodisiac or no. But she’s ENGAGED and he’s not the MARRYING TYPE.
The chemistry between Kingston and Charlotte is at a 15 and there’s not much prep before you’re in the eye of the storm. Sweet cheese and crackers, as Judy Hopps would say in Zootopia, this one’s hot.
But I kinda have two issues with this book that all the sensuality, touching emotional overtures, and sweet sweet Epilogue didn’t quite overcome. One, I don’t like the aphrodisiac plot-line—or maybe it’s more accurate to say that I don’t like that it just puts Charlotte at a disadvantage. It has an effect on her body and decision-making that she didn’t choose or anticipate and while that didn’t seem to bother her too much, I can’t fully embrace it as a plot device.
And two, I wanted more sharing of emotions. Sophie so beautifully sets up Kingston’s pain, his loneliness, but I craved one scene where he really lays his heart on the line about how his relationship with Charlotte has soothed his heart and offered him a home. It seems like a missed opportunity, as does the lack of emotional reconciliation between the stepbrothers. I want the words!
So in the end, though this book is mega sexy and I enjoyed the heck out of it, it didn’t quite give me the emotional payoff I desired.
The Virgin and the Rogue releases on 04/28. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss+ for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.