Book Review

What a Rogue Desires by Caroline Linden - a Guest Review by RedHeadedGirl


Title: What a Rogue Desires
Author: Caroline Linden
Publication Info: Kensington Zebra 2007
ISBN: 978-0821780503
Genre: Historical: European

Book CoverRedHeadedGirl is back, this time with a book she absolutely loved, lest you think she only reads books she hates.

Lest you all think I hate everything, this is a Praise to Balance the Snark.  I described this one to Sarah as “a soothing avocado mask of a book.” A Regency with a plot that is both logical and entertaining!  Dialogue that feels like real people would say it!  Characters that are both likeable and entertaining and NOT STUPID!  It’s a Regency, so we’re in familiar territory, but dude.  SOOTHING AVOCADO MASK.

It also has one of my top ten opening lines ever:

“There comes a time in every rogue’s life when he will be called upon to give up his vices, repent of his wild ways, and become a respectable man.”

David Reece is a rogue.  The younger twin, with THAT older brother- you know the one, the perfect son, who can do no wrong, who everyone likes, who pays his servants on time.  David has spent his wayward youth raising hell and breaking things.  David has had a come-to-Jesus moment, and has accepted, mostly, that it’s time to grow up.

One of the BEST THINGS about this book is that it’s not easy. IT IS SO HARD TO BE A RESPONSIBLE AND RESPECTABLE PERSON YOU GUYS.  His past keeps coming back to bite him in the ass.  His old friends are pissed because he won’t come out and play, the grown ups are all mad at him for his history of tomfoolery, shenanigans, and ballyhoo.

David’s brother, Marcus (the Duke of Exeter), however, has faith in him, and gives David the responsibility of running the Exeter estates while Marcus is off with his brand new wife on their honeymoon trip.  David is determined to make this work- he’s turned over a new leaf, dammit!- but it’s so hard.  And boring.  And he keeps finding reminders of what a fuck up he is.

Poor David. 

On his way to London, after turning this virtuous new leaf, his stagecoach is robbed.  On that stagecoach is a young, lovely, genteelly poor widow.  This genteelly poor widow is Vivian, who is actually a part of the gang: she’s the signalman, and the one who plans all the heists, and she’s the one who pawns the stolen goods.  They swipe the duplicate of the Exeter signet ring from David, and he’s really pissed.

Which is how David catches her- his disreputable past has made him known to most of the pawnbrokers in London, and he passes word that he would be very interested in finding the person or persons who pawn his ring.  Vivian goes to one of those pawnbrokers while posing as the poor widow, and gets snagged in a trap set by David.  David drags her home to his house and locks her in a room until she tells him where his ring is.

He admits later on that this was not a well thought out plan.  It’s a dick move, and he doesn’t take into account that she might be as stubborn as he is.  And she is!  There are four walls, a roof and a feather bed, and she’s grudgingly pleased by them, and she gets plenty of good food, and she’s actually happy about that (all of these things are not often found in her usual life), but he locks her in a room for DAYS AND DAYS and won’t let her out.  Eventually, the butler starts smuggling her books (at David’s direction, but still), and that’s all well and good.  She discovers she really likes reading plays.

His come to Jesus moment involved a carriage accident that broke his leg, and he’s still recovering from it- the bone has healed, but the muscle tone is not back (and being nearly seven weeks out from my own ACL reconstruction surgery at the time I write this, I SO FEEL HIM.  My leg is pathetically weak, and this is after 4 weeks of PT) and after walking too much, his leg aches (WORDY MC WORD, Mr. McRoguepants).  One night, he brings in her dinner, and then, because his leg is about to give out, he sits down on the bed, and actually talks to her.

She does not talk back, but gives him “the cut direct,” sitting with her back to him, but still occasionally glaring at him.  He says okay, then, fine, it’s time to Turn on The Charm.  So he bribes her first with hot chocolate.

Mmmmmmm.  Hot chocolate.  Nomnomnom.

Then, later, he comes in drunk and morose because No One Likes Him, and Being Respectable is SO HARD and woe, woe, emo woe.  And she’s like first world problems, bucko.  Woe is you, you have a house and lots of food and clothes that aren’t crap and a family who actually like you, so PUT ON YOUR BIG ACTING-DUKE PANTIES AND DEAL.  And he, after getting over his shock that anyone would actually talk to him like that, concedes the point.  In the grander scheme of things, he doesn’t have it that bad.

Which, okay, true, these are first world problems, and problems of his own creation, but still problems. And he realizes that keeping her locked in a room is a dick move.  And he doesn’t really care about the ring anymore, he really like HER.  So he buys her a pretty dress and takes her to the Theater Royal Drury Lane.

(OMG this is another thing I loved about this book.  I was in London for a month this summer and I LOVE reading about places I’ve actually been.  Drury Lane?  Green Park?  St. James Park (my favorite)? Kings Cross?  Bath? BATH IS THE BEST PLACE EVER.)

(Sorry.  I think my squee is leaking all over this review.)

Anyway, they go to the play, where he introduces her around telling everyone a different story (“The Danish royal family?  Really?” “Well you’re part Irish and Denmark is North…east, so…  it’s totally the same.”  “I don’t think it is.”  “Maybe not, but SHE doesn’t know that.”) and his wastrel friends meet her, and she has the best time ever and they get home and he kisses her and FIREWORKS.

It’s SO HOT.

(Squee.  All over this review.  GET A MOP.)

In the meantime, David has finally acquired a household staff that will work for him.  However, his incredibly proper butler is scandalized at the presence of a woman in a bachelor household.  David mollifies the Incredible Proper Butler that he is saving Vivian from a life of crime.  And they find excuses night after night to stay up until the butler goes to bed and then run quick like bunnies to her room and make like the bunnies.

It all comes crashing down when a friend of David’s with the Bow Street Runners shows up and is like “Dude, they know you’re being a highwayman.  You should cut that shit out.” And David is confused, but they figure out that the guy who nominally led the gang Vivian was the mastermind for has kept the signet ring they stole from David and is claiming that he is the Black Duke and robbing people.

So David and Vivian crack a harebrained plan to stop him.  And off they go.  It’s so totally harebrained.  It’s awesome.  I’m not going to do my usual full summary because I WANT YOU TO GO READ THIS BOOK.  I read this shit so I can PUSH IT ON THE UNSUSPECTING BITCHERY.

I loved this book so much.  I loved reading it.  It’s ADORABLE.  They’re so smitten with each other.  They LIKE each other.  They are GOOD together.  Vivian makes David happy, and David makes Vivian happy.  I was grinning like a mad fool while reading about them.  (ON THE SUBWAY.  This is possibly why no one sits next to me, because I look crazy.)

I wasn’t sure exactly how these two crazy kids were going to make it work (I knew that they would, because I have read a romance or two in my time), but I loved the ride.  I would honestly put this up with The Spymaster’s Lady as one of my favorite romance novels ever. 


As a footnote, I’m currently reading What a Gentleman Wants, which is Linden’s first book in the trilogy about the Reece family, and this is not a fluke.  She is the awesome, as SB Sarah’s Gracie would say. 

What a Rogue Desires is available at Book Depository, Powells, AllRomance,, and for the Nook.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    ev says:

    I loved What a Gentlman Wants, and haven’t gotten to this one yet, but now I must download it. Hm… ereader or kindle on my Droid?? Decisions, decisions.

    Loved your review, btw, they are always so entertaining and enlightening.

  2. 2

    I love a good historical romance and this one sounds awesome – and not just a product of your “squee” leaking over (which sounds really rude now that I’ve written it out!)

  3. 3
    Amanda says:

    AAAHHHH!!!!  Careful of your squee!  You need that to survive!!  Get thee to a hospital!

  4. 4

    Yeah! It’s still available on Amazon. If only I had a Kindle, I could have instant gratification…

  5. 5
  6. 6
    kelly says:


  7. 7
    Carrie says:

    I’m so happy that you finally got to read something good!  Yay!  Also, now I must buy it RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

    fine56 – fine, I’ll buy 56 copies, if that’s what it takes.

  8. 8

    Based *solely* on this review, I clicked over to buy this book, only to find it’s just $3.77 at Books on Board. Double win!

  9. 9
    Joy says:

    I read and enjoyed this book, but then I read _What a Gentleman Wants_ and I have to say, I didn’t really have quite the appreciation for what a rogue David had actually been until I read that book (the word asshatted doesn’t even cover it) and realized what a big step it was for his brother to put him in this position of trust in this book and how important it was for him to succeed.

  10. 10
    Suzannah says:

    Wishlisted for my Kindle.  I’ll cave in about an hour and buy it ;-) .  I like to pretend I have some self-control, but it never really works. Loved your review!

  11. 11
    Cris says:

    Just bought it, can’t wait to see how David fares after loving What A Gentleman Wants.  Like Joy said, you have no idea of David’s asshattery til you read WAGW, but you still can’t help but like the guy :)

  12. 12
    Stephanie C. says:

    Talked me into it! I bought this one and WAGW. Thanks!

  13. 13
    Karenmc says:

    I loved this book, too. David was a jerk of the highest order in What a Gentleman Wants, and I enjoyed seeing him be taken in by Vivian during the coach robbery. Linden’s has been a bit under the radar, so thanks for pointing her out to everyone.

  14. 14

    I just (like, this morning) finished A Rake’s Guide to Seduction, and read What a Woman Needs over the weekend.  Highly recommended, as well.

    And yes, without the background of What a Gentleman Wants it’s hard to appriciate the douchebaggery David was into- but I still loved him anyway.

    What I really loved is that he had made the decision to change before meeting Vivian- he doesn’t change for her, he changes because it’s long past time.  It wasn’t the power of her Magic Hoo Hoo.

  15. 15
    SB Sarah says:

    Look, if it wasn’t her Magic Hoo Hoo, I don’t want to read it. The quality of a romance rests on the sparkly magic of the Magic Hoo Hoo. Sheesh!

    (I’m so tempted even though I am under the burden of Many Words to Write. OMG so tempted, damn you and your hair.)

  16. 16


  17. 17
    Maria says:

    The bitchery is killing me! I’m already trying to finish Jane Eyre which I downloaded from Project Gutenburg. (I just realized I’m only half way, but the writing style is so dense).  And now I want, need, desire, OMG it’s calling my name!, ahem to read this and the book that comes before it. Like I don’t have enough to do.

    I need to start a TBR list. I’ve never used one before, but now, *shrug*, it has to happen to keep me sane.

    Is there an app for that?

  18. 18

    My TBR pile is either in my Amazon wishlist, or the jumble pile next to my bed.  It’s a very 20th century method.

  19. 19
    Carrie says:

    @Maria – the longer Jane Eyre goes, the better it gets.  It’s one of my desert island books.  I actually have an extra copy of it wrapped in plastic in my earthquake kit (I live in California where having an earthquake kit is not a complete sign of madness).  So keep the faith, sister!

    @SBSarah – go on.  read it.  you know you want to, you book hussy, you.

    @redheadedgirl – I’m writing a review of a book with kids.  May I have your permission to borrow your phrase “plot moppets”?  I’d credit you, of course – the genius that coins such a wonderful phrase is not to be trifled with.

  20. 20

    Once upon a morning dreary, while I fiddled, meek and lazy
    Over the crossword puzzle and my toast,
    While I surfed election returns, suddenly there came a chiming,
    As of one email, then another, then another yet,
    Pinging through my inbox firewall.
    “Tis spam,” I muttered, “I hate the spam—
    almost as much as election robocalls.”

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak November,
    And a dozen plotlines lay discarded on my office floor.
    Eagerly I wished for motive; vainly had I tried to borrow
    Some ambition for my next book—ambition lost to
    An author’s greatest enemy: obscurity.

    Presently my interest grew; each pinging of the inbox
    Thrilled me—filled me with such anticipation;
    So that now, to stop the computer beeping at me, I clicked, repeating,
    “It is spam—offering Viagra, porn, or both-
    Tis spam filling up my inbox now. Tis that and nothing more.”

    Presently my mood grew lighter; messages all from friendly names.
    “Hey,” said I, “no need to beg forgiveness here—
    I wasn’t working, when so happily you emailed me—
    What is new?” Each message did contain a link,
    Imploring me to click at once, and so I did, opening my browser wide—
    To one freaking awesome review!

    “Oh snap!” I cried, “Thing of beauty! Enough to make my whole day sing!
    By the Heaven that shines above us—by the gods of publishing—
    Someone has loved my book! The hero, the heroine, even the plot!
    It is funny, this review, almost affectionate—
    and for that others might read, and even like the book, too.”

    I thank you, redheadedgirl, on bended knee; my hands I simply clap with glee.
    And when they ask me now, if I read Smart Bitches Trashy Books,
    Quoth this author, “Evermore.”

    (PS: there is an epilogue for the book on my website. Free, even:

  21. 21
    MarieC says:

    Great review! I’ve read most of CL previous books (and really enjoyed them) but haven’t tapped these yet. I will have to add them to my wishlist. I already have her other book, You Only Love Once, in the wings.

    Oy! My TBR and wishlists are getting out of control!

  22. 22
    Maria says:

    @Carrie – Oh I’m absolutely loving it, but usually I read whole novels in a matter of 2-3 days. I’ve spent 2 months reading this book, but granted I’m in my senior year of the mechanical engineering program, so I’m lucky if I get to pick it up for 15 minutes once every two weeks. I hear ya on the earthquake preparedness kit, we have those here too, except for hurricanes.

    I think the captcha is psychic, it’s guessed my ages right 2 times now.

  23. 23


    OMG!  I am, right now, in my physical therapist’s office and trying SO hard not to dance and squee and generally make a fool of myself. 

    Mostly because I am not cleared to dance, yet.

    That was wonderful!  Thank you!

    (Captcha: Hospital23.  I am am almost in a hospital)

  24. 24
    Brooks*belle says:

    Downloaded samples of all the of the trilogy to my Kindle!

    I’d squee in delight at the low prices right now, but I got my squee fixed back in February and don’t want to have to do general anesthesia again anytime soon.

  25. 25
    Donna says:

    Oh how I love the GBPL online reservation/drive through check out! Gentleman? Check. Rogue? Check. Not having to get out of my car to get them? Priceless.

  26. 26

    @Carrie:  Of course!

  27. 27
    Missy Ann says:

    Alright, it’s $3.83 on Kindle – I bought it on the strength of your squee alone. Don’t let me down, or I’ll come after you for my $3 bucks. I will paper-cut a bitch. ;)

  28. 28
    Meggrs says:

    *Slow clap.* Ms. Linden, you are teh awesome. And thank you, redheadedgirl, both for the great review, and for drawing that fabulous verse from the author.

    Both books on my To Buy list. Check.

  29. 29
    Allison says:

    I just want to say I know exactly how you feel I read romance novels and smartbitches trashy books on my iPhone so I am constantly giggling having that crazy smile on my face or rolling my eyes…so I’m sure I appear crazy to the rest of the world..
    Spamword cost26…readjng on my phone has cost me more than 26 acquaintances


  30. 30
    Lyssa says:

    Okay first 2 bought per my Nook, (giggle) now what is the title of the third book of the Trilogy, Can some one do a bitch a favor and toss that up somewhere?

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