Rogue in Red Velvet by Lynne Connolly

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When respectable country widow Constance Rattigan finds herself in a notorious London brothel instead of at the altar, only one person can save her from the auction block.

Alex Vernon, Lord Ripley, walked away from Connie once before, when he discovered she was engaged. Now that her fiancé has betrayed her, he doesn’t intend to leave her again.

Once he has made love to her, Alex feels the situation is resolved. He’ll marry her. But Connie has other ideas.

Only three problems to solve—Connie signed a marriage contract as binding as the marriage ceremony with someone else, she’s disgraced in the eyes of society, and she won’t marry him until her name is cleared.

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Publisher and Release Date: eKensington, September 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: England, 1754
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by: Claudia

This is the first book in the new Emperors of London series by Lynne Connolly. The ‘Emperors’ are a wealthy group of men, who are some of the most important persons in Society.

One of them is Alex Vernon, Lord Ripley, who – because he is wealthy, young, handsome and titled – is chased by most of the match-making Mamas and their daughters. During a house party, when he tries to escape one very determined young lady who is after him, he meets Constance Rattigan and is smitten with her.

Connie, who is a widow on the verge of marrying again, has noticed Alex before but tried to steer clear of him because of that attraction. When he offers to help her with the research she is doing for her godfather, she accepts his offer and learns that he is a very kind, caring and funny man. During this time spent together, they develop a bond but then Alex has to leave after which Connie’s fiancé arrives. So both of them think their relationship is over.

Connie signs her wedding contract with her fiancé, Japser Dankworth, who is not really what she thinks he is. Two weeks after signing the contract, Connie travels to London to meet her fiancé and prepare for the wedding. But when she arrives, she is abducted, drugged and placed in a Covent Garden brothel to be sold publicly at an auction. Alex rescues her and promises her to help her to get through this scandal.

This conflict had me wondering how Connie could ever get back her good name and I totally understood her reservations in regards to her relationship with Alex. But the way the situation was handled was perfectly done and I bought every second of it.

I loved the beginning of this book, when we first meet Connie and Alex and it is obvious they are attracted to each other. Both are very warm and intelligent people and you can feel the chemistry between them. They are not only sexually attracted to each other, which is also explored, but the attraction is also an emotional one, which gives them a special connection. This connection flows through the whole book and gives it a stability which it needs because the pacing of the story and how it is told is slightly off – at least it was for me. Connie is a strong person and how she carries herself through her ordeal shows that quite clearly. Alex adores her and is very devoted to her. He wants to stand at her side and is not really allowed to do it.

As much as I loved the beginning of the book, it is very lengthy and takes some needed time from the second half, which was much better paced. The ending was a bit too hasty – I would have loved to see more of Alex and Connie as a real couple. Furthermore, some scenes were too short to really get into them and some were a bit too long – for example there is a scene which takes place in a coffee shop, which is very interesting as regards historical background, but the content of this scene was not really necessary in that length. There are also some issues which are not properly resolved or explained, such as why there is such a big feud between the ‘Emperors’ and the Dankworths.

But while I had issues with the pacing of the story, I loved the characters – all of them – and their connections to each other. Not only Alex and Connie, but also with their friends. I loved the way how they stood together and how every single one of them was shown as an intelligent and grown-up person.

If you are a lover of the Georgian period, I think this book will grow even more on you, as it is very detailed about the clothes and the way society worked.

All in all, this was a good read with a very intelligent and warm romance and some hot scenes in-between. Rogue in Red Velvet is a very good start to a new series and I am sure I will read future books as well.

AT TIME OF WRITING, THIS TITLE IS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON FOR $1.82

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