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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All Night with a Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins

All Night with a Rogue by Alexandra Hawkins
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat: Hot
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Notorious, handsome, and decadent, the Lords of Vice prowl the glittering ballrooms of Regency London— breaking rules and hearts with equal aplomb. But even the wildest rogue must eventually meet his match…

Seduce Lady Juliana Ivers and then cast her aside: Those are his sister’s instructions. Alexius Braverton, Marquess of Sinclair—known as Sin to the ton—is happy enough to oblige, especially when he catches a glimpse of his target. Juliana is completely unlike the empty-headed chits who barely hold his attention for a week. A true gentleman would leave her to find a worthy suitor. But then, a Lord of Vice would never claim to be a gentleman.

Juliana is expected to marry well to improve her family’s finances, even if she secretly longs to make a living through her musical compositions. A dalliance can only complicate matters, though not even practical Juliana can help succumbing to the aptly named Sin. But one unforgettable night will draw her into a scandalous affair—and a seduction begun as sport will soon become deliciously, dangerously real.

Alexandra Hawkins' "All Night with a Rogue" is every bit as powerfully passionate as the title suggests. The opening presents the lovely Julianna, on her first foray into London society and hoping, of course, to snag a husband. Only, this is actually her first foray into a tree in a ballgown...

Kicking off with a intimate view of a quite intimate act sets the tone for this fast paced, highly sensual romantic novel.

Julianna's loveliness causes her to be targeted by a certain envious countess Belinda, bent on besmirching the purity of a competitor. Her brother, Alexius, is the all-to-willing bad boy...who suddenly has reservations. Julianna's character impresses even him. Indeed, as events unfold we discover that Julianna is a wonderful, strong-minded character who attempts to solve various family issues, as well as handle her own concerns.

Events quite beyond her control drive this fast-paced storyline. More than one rogue inhabits these pages. In fact, we begin to suspect there was hardly one decent man to be found in London at the time. Then, as it turns out, family connections are not all that one might hope for, either. By mid-novel, you will be hoping against hope that Julianna will somehow find her way through all this treachery and will not fall prey to it herself. The story itself is enthralling as well as titillating and demands your attention throughout.

Something is missing, however, something hard to put a finger on. At first, it seems it is the history in this historical. Yes, ladies wear their ball gowns, take horse drawn vehicles, and there is some nodding acquaintance with the mores of the day...yet, apart from this light dusting of historical detail, the characters might have been flailing through their relationships in nearly any century.

However, this is not quite it. No, it is that lovely sense of propriety that hangs so heavily over the heads of the unmarried maidens of the time, that causes their dear Mums to make sure every moment is chaperoned, that makes this time, indeed, seem so special to us today. Oh, there is some nod toward conventional expectations, but on the whole, Hawkins' entire cast, from youngest to oldest, practice wanton behavior blended lightly with other vices. A few wide-eyed innocents might skirt the edges of Hawkins' balls, but the vast array of rogues wandering amid willing women (still claiming to be on the marriage mart) suggest the title might more accurately have been, 'Too Many Nights, Too Many Rogues.' This is called part of the 'Lords of Vice' series, yet, we suggest a little decency might provide much needed contrast.

Hawkins "All Night with a Rogue" is written in a beautiful style; all events flow smoothly along, contributing to the plot and showing off the characters with clarity. In spite of this, the dearth of historic in this historical means that I am giving it a score shy of perfection.