This is the first Jenn Bennett book I’ve read. I know she’s written a few popular YA contemporary romances, but of course I had to request this one when it’s historical fiction, LOL.
Thanks to Simon Pulse for giving me a free digital copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Title: The Lady Rogue
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Length: 384 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.”
My main question when I finished this book was, “Why is it set in 1937?” Other than that, this book was enjoyable. I didn’t fall in love with it like I thought I would. The plot became a bit repetitive in that Theodora and Huck were running, finding clues, or resting, perhaps not in that particular order all the time. One of my favorite things was the banter between Theo and Huck. They have a romantic past, and I thought it was done well though I also feel like Theo responded too…openly to Huck in terms of glossing over some of those details. In terms of the whole Vlad the Impaler storyline and traipsing through Eastern Europe, I found that quite enjoyable. And as the story continues, you get these really good historical tidbits which lead up to the final discovery and it’s quite… Well, I was completely surprised, that’s for sure. I definitely think the ending was a bit open-ended and seems ready for a sequel.
One of my big problems with the book is Theo’s father, Richard. We get the general impression that he’s not very likable. Huck and Theodora say this quite often, and I struggled to feel connected to their journey to find Richard. We can infer that he’s very much a “man’s man” and “macho” in that he doesn’t talk about his feelings, display a lot of emotion, and didn’t seem to connect well with his daughter. I mean, I could be wrong but as a reader I wasn’t even rooting for Theo and Huck to save Richard at all–he came off as that careless of a character. Of course, it’s obvious Theo does care for him despite all of this. It still left a weird taste in my mouth.
The banter between Huck and Theo was lovely though. You can tell they are genuinely good friends and maybe being romantic partners was just a natural flow for them. I loved the quirks each had and their backstories. Theo was really versatile and Huck really proved himself in a pinch, lol. Despite my initial feelings for these two, the romantic scenes between them were really great.
This really captured me. Since I have no other Bennett books to gauge her overall writing style, I thought this book was well-written despite some of the repetitive scenes. I was interested to read Bennett’s contemporaries, but of course I’m even more interested now. But again, my main question still persists, “Why set this book in 1937?”
Check out these other reviews:
- Leelynn at Sometimes LeeLynn Reads gave this book 5 stars!
- Cait at GoodeyReads rated the book the same as me, and we share some similar thoughts about it.
- Joanne from Luna Lumière highly recommends this book.