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The Rogue by Claire Delacroix is the first book in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy. Originally published in 2002, it received a glorious upgrade in the form of an audio edition narrated by Ashley Klanac. It features a mysterious hero, an opinionated heroine and a mystery subplot - all set in medieval Scotland. What's not to love?
The story centers around Merlyn of Ravensmuir Castle and his feisty wife Ysabella. After just a few weeks of marriage, she discovers his family is involved in a not so legitimate business and she leaves him, returning to her maternal home in Kinfairlie village. Flash forward five years and Merlyn needs Ysabella's help because someone is trying to kill him. Ysabella agrees to help him only after he tells her the whole truth of what he's been hiding all these years.
This story is Gothic in tone, told in the first person from Ysabella's viewpoint. If I have any complaint about this book is that it took more than half the book before we find out what was so terrible that made Ysabella leave Merlyn. But, I really enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of the story as the two lovers uncover the secrets of Ravensmuir. With both of them keeping secrets from each other until the very end of the story, they are a perfect match for each other!
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Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes! The book was very well done and enjoyable. Both the narration and the story were excellent. The plot twists kept the story exciting and kept the reader guessing as to who to trust and who was behind the attempted murder.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Merlyn. He is a devilishly handsome rogue who is not at all what he seems. I loved the depth of his character and the way the author skillfully showed more and more of him to the reader as the story went on. He's a strong hero who is very easy to be both fascinated with and to admire.
Have you listened to any of Ashley Klanac’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not, but I enjoyed this one and would be glad to listen to more.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
I was moved by Merlyn's true relationship with his father and his love for Ysabella. Merlyn's side of the story is fascinating!
Any additional comments?
Here is my summary of the story (no spoilers)
Ysabella cannot abide lies. Of all things, she values honesty above all else. When the devilishly handsome man who sweeps her off her feet and marries her turns out to not be who she thinks he his, she'll be forced to make the toughest decision of her young life. In order to maintain her integrity, she'll have to run from a life of fortune, grandeur, and passion with the man she is beginning to love.
Life on her own with her young siblings to care for is challenging. Without being either single or divorced she cannot seek the protection of another man and she cannot get a license to begin business on her own. The ale brewing work is hard labor, but she is determined to do what it takes to provide for her small family. Five long years have gone by when she hears a horse with silver bells approaching in a prance. She would recognize that sound anywhere and both hopes and fears that it brings the rider she most longs to see and simultaneously wishes never to encounter again - her estranged husband Merlyn.
Merlyn's visit to Ysabella is a strange turn of events. Is he angry with her? What does he want? He couldn't have possibly discovered her most closely held secrets, could he? As strange as the initial visit is, what follows after will turn Ysabella's world upside down. After all the pain and lies between them, is there any hope for a future together? With a villain on the loose will Ysabella loose what is most dear to her heart?
With lives on the line and uncertainty on who to trust, this book has a fascinating plot that will keep readers enthralled. The Rogue contains a perfect blend of romance, love, betrayal, and mystery. The story is incredibly detailed with great depth of character and history. It's beautifully written.
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