by Claire Delacroix

October 2002
ISBN: 0446611107
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

The Rogue is the latest offering by the best-selling author, Claire Delacroix. It takes place in 1390, in a fictional castle called Ravensmuir, perched on the coast of Scotland, shrouded with the secrets of the notorious Lammergeier family. Mystery oozes from every nook and corner of this sinister castle even as ravens make it their home.

Merlyn, the laird of Ravensmuir marries Ysabella, a common village girl with uncommon spirit and intelligence and makes her his lady. This match evokes a lot of envy amongst many. Soon after their marriage, Ysabella discovers a shocking truth about her husband, which leaves her broken-hearted and quite unable to trust him. She leaves him and his riches behind, and returns to the village to lead a virtuous but poverty-stricken life.

Five years later, Merlyn comes back to her, enlightens her that he has reformed and urgently requests her aid. Incensed by his careless arrogance, his penchant for still attracting her deeply and the fact that he had not come to her for five long and bitter years, Ysabella vehemently rejects him out of hand. The very next day she is given the awful news of his murder and finds herself a widow and heir to riches of Ravesmuir. Only she is now torn apart by guilt and starts to question her decision to ever leave Merlyn and bitterly regrets rebuffing his appeal for help. She accepts Merlyn’s startling legacy of Ravensmuir, never guessing how many more of his secrets she still has to learn…nor how many of her own will be forced to light.

The Rogue is written entirely in the first person and this takes a little getting used to. But as the engrossing tale unfolds, the reader soon forgets this petty inconvenience. Ysabella is one of the most courageous heroines ever written about, facing unknown dangers with determination and fortitude enough to fight anything and anyone for the well being of her family. Merlyn is a man who has borne secrets all his life, until they consume his life. He is the penultimate Rogue, a thorough scoundrel, but Delacroix takes this bad boy and ultimately turns him into a good hero. The process is very enlightening and pleasurable to read. Rich historical details, unusual plot-line, witty repartee, simmering romantic tension and violent intrigue surrounding the hunt for a mysterious and priceless treasure – all contribute to make this book one inspiring and exciting read!

A gripping story complete with fascinating characters, lush sensuality and a page-turning plot!! A Gem!

Reviewed in September 2002 by Rashmi.

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