Release Date: Apr 28, 2020
Series: First Comes Love
Heat Level: Mild
Imprint: St. Martin’s Press
Gone with the Rogue is the second in Amelia Grey’s First Comes Love series. The story is about a young widow, Julia, who is stuck under the thumb of her oppressive father in law. Julia is desperate for her freedom and needs to find the evidence of her father in law’s true character to get freedom for her and her son. Enter Garrett, an untitled gentleman and a successful shipping magnate. He’s returned from his most recent sojourn and isn’t looking to get involved with any woman for longer than one night. But Julia is too hard to resist and Garrett finds he no longer wants the sea to be his only lady.
This was my first read from this author and I was excited for a modern telling of the classic gentleman “pirate” trope, since I hadn’t read one in many years. I love these types of heroes because they usually bring such charm and excitement to the page. Unfortunately, these characters felt very flat and one dimensional to me. Their conversations and actions seemed stilted and the story just didn’t have the right flow to it.
I will say that I found the opening meet cute to be very charming. Garrett rescues Julia from a tree she has climbed up to retrieve a toy and this is the one time I really felt the connection and chemistry between our main couple. However, after that I felt like nothing much happens in the book. Eventually, Julia ropes Garrett into helping her look for evidence against her father in law. They find the evidence in short order, but it’s encrypted so Garrett takes it to be decoded. While this is happening, the reader is treated to several chapters where the characters talk, go to social engagements, or work at some charity work that does nothing to drive the plot forward. I’d say over half of the reader’s time is spent in this holding pattern with the characters.
Additionally, the love scenes were very tame and very short in length. Personally, I don’t need extremely graphic love scenes but I do want to feel the heat and passion between the couple. I felt little to no sexual tension between Garrett and Julia. The author spends a lot of time telling us the two characters are thinking about each other but does very little to show with actions, the rising chemistry between them.
After spending several chapters where not much of anything happens, one almost entirely about a secondary character joining a convent, the Happy couple is finally given their happily ever after in a rather predictable manner. I found myself wondering if I’d have enjoyed this more if I’d read the other book in the series, but honestly, I don’t think it would matter. If you’re looking for a good story about a widow finding love with a reformed rake check out Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas. This is a much better example of the strong widow and single mother finding the freedom to live and love again. I suggest you save yourself hours of reading pointless conversations and meaningless scenes and skip this book.