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The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden. It’s no love match… Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden. It’s no love match… Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar. It’s not even the match that was made… Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter. But could it be the perfect match? Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…


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The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden. It’s no love match… Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar The first book in the new series Desperately Seeking Duke from USA Today bestselling and RITA award-winning author Caroline Linden. It’s no love match… Bianca Tate is horrified when her sister Cathy is obliged to accept an offer of marriage from Maximilian St. James, notorious rake. Defiantly she helps Cathy elope with her true love, and takes her sister’s place at the altar. It’s not even the match that was made… Perched on the lowest branch of his family tree, Max has relied on charm and cunning to survive. But an unexpected stroke of luck gives him an outside chance at a dukedom—and which Tate sister he weds hardly seems to matter. But could it be the perfect match? Married or not, Bianca is determined to protect her family’s prosperous ceramics business, even when Max shows an affinity for it—not to mention a dangerous ability to intrigue and tempt Bianca herself. And when Max realizes how beautiful and intelligent and desirable Bianca is, he’ll have to prove he’s no rogue, but the passionately devoted husband she craves…

30 review for About a Rogue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Loves Reading

    I joined a Buddy Read for this one because I have read most of the recent New Releases as a Buddy Read in the HRBC by Caroline Linden. It really surprised me when I got an ARC and I didn't want to miss buddy reading for it. Anyways, it was not as loved by my fellow readers. I still love it and could re-read it tomorrow if I had the time, but I would just note that it does start off showing the H&H in rather unfavorable lights and it takes awhile to unpack that. The hero has some mystery and hidd I joined a Buddy Read for this one because I have read most of the recent New Releases as a Buddy Read in the HRBC by Caroline Linden. It really surprised me when I got an ARC and I didn't want to miss buddy reading for it. Anyways, it was not as loved by my fellow readers. I still love it and could re-read it tomorrow if I had the time, but I would just note that it does start off showing the H&H in rather unfavorable lights and it takes awhile to unpack that. The hero has some mystery and hidden secrets, even as you start to like him more, and there are not much in the way of hints to give insight on what is behind the facade. That takes nearly the entire book to understand. If it was another author, I might not have had the patience for it. So, just FYI if you are in the mood for something that is a journey that builds, this might be a good option, but if you're in the mood something that is more exciting and gratifying earlier in the book, then this is probably not the one for you. Cheers all! Hope you are well. May 2020: Gorgeous book. I am a huge Linden fan, and this one will certainly go down as among my favorites by her. The characters, the setting and the romance were wonderfully described, and I look forward to picking this up again to reread. The story starts out with a dukedom in peril, leading to a search for distant heirs. Three possibilities emerge, including the hero of this story, Max St. James. He is not first in line, but the Duchess summons him to the estate to give him a chance. He is gifted a good sum and is promised more on good behavior. Max is not one to miss an opportunity, and he is also not keen on being at the mercy of someone else’s idea of good behavior, having earned the reputation of a scandalous rogue. He seeks a partnership with a successful pottery works owner, Sam Tate. The only way to make a partnership is to marry into it and luckily Tate has two single daughters. Bianca ends up married to the rogue, though she is none too pleased. She chose the marriage when she learns her father has already signed over a portion of the pottery works. Bianca is actively invested in the business. She creates glazes for the pottery and argues with her father about business decisions, so she is not keen on a London rogue coming in and usurping her. I really enjoyed the way these two ambitious leads challenged each other, which led to admiration and love. Max was a very compelling hero. He started out as an enigma and the slow revealing of his hidden depths was a delicious process. Bianca was a strong, determined heroine, but she was not afraid to relent when she realized she was wrong. This was a really lovely read and satisfying romance. I think it is a good story to try out Linden and definitely recommend if you like a setting away from balls and house parties. *Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book. This was my honest opinion.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

    I was given an Advanced Review Copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited and feel privileged to be chosen, so I will write a bit more than usual. I don't know how Caroline Linden does it, but she always evokes an emotional reaction in me. She also frequently has Heroes who must grow on me throughout the book. Maximilian St. James was just such a hero. He arranged to marry Cathy, the beautiful eldest daughter of Samuel Tate, only to gain some control in the Perus I was given an Advanced Review Copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was extremely excited and feel privileged to be chosen, so I will write a bit more than usual. I don't know how Caroline Linden does it, but she always evokes an emotional reaction in me. She also frequently has Heroes who must grow on me throughout the book. Maximilian St. James was just such a hero. He arranged to marry Cathy, the beautiful eldest daughter of Samuel Tate, only to gain some control in the Perusia pottery works family business. Cathy was a very biddable daughter. She didn't speak up against the match to her father. However, she was in love with the local rector Mr. Mayne; and on impulse, she packed to run away in secret. Fortunately, her sister Bee caught her and helped her plan the escape more thoroughly. Bianca Tate was quite the opposite of Cathy--less porcelain doll perfect beauty, more fiery temper, and not biddable at all. She never planned to marry and worked long hours in Perusia, her first love. When the wedding day came and Mr. Tate found the bride missing, he confessed to the remaining daughter Bianca that he gave away 25% of Perusia. Since he would be in breach of contract, the only way to save the family business would be for Bianca to fill in and marry St. James. In anger, she agreed; and Max seemed to have no issue either. I felt Bianca's rage. I almost shook with tears of anger at her father. There may be readers who have an issue with the heroine. She was hard-headed and not malleable. She held on to her anger and did not give her husband a chance at first. However, I felt her stance so well, I thought it best she took a long time to come around. Max was her perfect match. Although he was a rake and a rogue in his past, he did have many good character qualities. He was slow to anger and willing to be patient to win the long game: "like a steady flow of water over stone, his attention and suggestive words were wearing away her resistance." Another consistent joy for me in Linden's writing is her movement. Her stories don't simply take place with the aristocracy in countless ballroom scenes. The characters have a greater purpose, and the action of the story takes place in varying location settings. In addition to some of the best character and relationship development, her stories have mystery that is unveiled seamlessly. I was happy to receive answers to all my questions about Max's past and greatly look forward to finding out what happened to Captain St. James in Book 2. Also included was a lovely E-ONLY Novella between the valet Christopher Lawrence and the lady's maid Jenny Hickson. It was a sweet bonus. All in all, this was a perfect romantic read I highly recommend to anyone, whether you have read the author before or not, even if you do not like heroines who take a long time before giving the hero a chance.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather K (dentist in my spare time)

    About a Rogue was my first book from Caroline Linden, but it won't be my last. I found it to be utterly delightful. I was sort of afraid that Max would be a difficult MC to like, but he was really someone I enjoyed for the entire book. He was smart and resilient, and just very, very likable. Plus. his chemistry with Bianca was electric. I really enjoyed the slow-build, enemies-to-lovers romance, and I felt as though everything evolved very organically. Bianca was a little harder to like as she h About a Rogue was my first book from Caroline Linden, but it won't be my last. I found it to be utterly delightful. I was sort of afraid that Max would be a difficult MC to like, but he was really someone I enjoyed for the entire book. He was smart and resilient, and just very, very likable. Plus. his chemistry with Bianca was electric. I really enjoyed the slow-build, enemies-to-lovers romance, and I felt as though everything evolved very organically. Bianca was a little harder to like as she hates Max at the beginning, and runs with that hatred for way longer than Max deserves. However, I liked how fiercely loyal she was and how she fought for what she believed in. Everything from the plot to the supporting characters was really well done. It was the kind of book where I had trouble finding something I didn't enjoy. Sure, it wasn't the kind of book that I stay up all night reading, but I would recommend this book again and again to my historical romance-loving friends. A very solid romance and a great introduction to Caroline Linden. A big win for me. *Copy provided in exchange for an honest review* goodreads|instagram|twitter|blog

  4. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    Caroline Linden is one of my hands-down favorite authors and this first installment in a new series about three unlikely heirs to a dukedom is Linden at her best. She is a queen of the character-driven romance and in About a Rogue, her talent of showing two unlikely souls falling for each other is perfectly steamy, romantic, and all-around delightful. Add to that the fun series hook of who will inherit and a setting that takes place primarily in a pottery business with a dash of Vauxhall glamour Caroline Linden is one of my hands-down favorite authors and this first installment in a new series about three unlikely heirs to a dukedom is Linden at her best. She is a queen of the character-driven romance and in About a Rogue, her talent of showing two unlikely souls falling for each other is perfectly steamy, romantic, and all-around delightful. Add to that the fun series hook of who will inherit and a setting that takes place primarily in a pottery business with a dash of Vauxhall glamour and an epic cricket match and you have one heck of a story. Bianca is a heroine with an intense work ethic, an fiery temper, and an ironclad devotion to her family. All of these things start out as enormous barriers to a HEA with the man she weds in an impulsive fit of pique. Most of the time, I don't like heroines that are a bit mulish and temperamental, but of course, this is Linden, and she handles it beautifully. I loved how Bianca was a foil for the perfectly controlled, intensely focused, and often underestimated Max. Whereas Bianca wore her emotions on her sleeve, Max was careful and slowly chipped away at his wife's resistance. The surrender was explosive and from then on out, I loved how the two worked as a team. It is always satisfying to read a story where the two characters overcome their obstacles and the author then shows how the two can really stick together. Linden does an excellent job of showing how Max finds a home after wandering and searching for so long and Bianca, for all her initial quick judgments, once she falls for Max, never wavers in her devotion and would use all her fiery nature to fight FOR Max instead of against him. This story was well-paced with some mystery surrounding Max's past (which I thought was well-handled within the context of the time period) and the eventual confrontation with Bianca's sister and the duchess holding the secrets to who would inherit. It also had just some fun scenes with the Vauxhall masquerade and the epic cricket match between the rival pottery businesses. I also thought the sweet extra story that captures the romance between the valet and lady's maid (within the context of Max and Bianca's story) was a cherry on top from the upstairs/downstairs perspective. Overall, I loved this and can't wait to revisit it. Highly recommend for new romance readers and grizzled romance veterans (like me!) alike. There's something in this story for everyone.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    YES! There's the Caroline Linden whose books I fell in love with years ago! Also, the first historical romance I really enjoyed in a long time. I am so happy! This was really a nice surprise for me. A nice nod to The Taming of the Shrew with the sisters' roles reversed (Bianca is the shrewish one, while her sister Catherine is the good one)! What you need to know: After the death of the Duke of Carlyle's last direct heir, the family is at a loss. His mother, the Duchess, is desperate to find whoe YES! There's the Caroline Linden whose books I fell in love with years ago! Also, the first historical romance I really enjoyed in a long time. I am so happy! This was really a nice surprise for me. A nice nod to The Taming of the Shrew with the sisters' roles reversed (Bianca is the shrewish one, while her sister Catherine is the good one)! What you need to know: After the death of the Duke of Carlyle's last direct heir, the family is at a loss. His mother, the Duchess, is desperate to find whoever might have a claim to the title - however remote - and summons the distant relatives to the castle to make them an offer: if they change their ways, settle down, get married, and show an interest in the estate, they will receive an annuity and be allowed back into the family fold. One of them is Maximilian St. James, a disreputable rogue. He is intrigued by the offer, but has no intention of just knuckling under. Determined to make his own way, he uses his new connection to ingratiate himself to Mr. Tate, one of the best ceramics manufacturers. Luckily for him, he has a beautiful, seemingly biddable young daughter. Only things don't go according to plan, and he ends up marrying his intendent's shrewish sister. Sparks fly, and he soon discovers that this might actually be everything he always wanted. Now all he has to do in convince his wife that they are perfect for each other… What I liked: Max. Sigh. He's the sweetest. And I mean it. Smart, funny, driven, hard-working, and kind. Ok, he marries for connections, but I liked his honesty. He never hid why he wanted to marry into the family, and soon makes himself invaluable, making the factory even more prosperous by sheer determination and hard work. I loved that about him. He's not afraid to work, and he actually knows what he's doing and has a plan. I also loved how he didn't make a move on Bianca while she still hated him. These two take their time getting to know each other, and watching them slowly work out their differences was really sweet! And the fact that this is very much a character-driven story with strong, interesting leads plus a slow-burn romance that is given time to develop. What I didn't like: Bianca - in the beginning. She was really hard to warm up to, especially since she has no reason (that I can see) for hating Max and marriage as much as she does. Her parents were happy and kind to each other, and one single aunt still sulking because her parents wouldn't let her marry a penniless nobody does not really explain it well enough for me. She's the type of heroine with a temper, who sulks, yells, and throws things when she doesn't get her way. I just can't sympathize with that kind of heroine and find them annoying, sorry. BUT she did actually grow on me halfway through the book when the reasonableness everyone always praised her for finally shone through and she decided to listen to Max and actually talked to him. The drama. I hate fabricated drama, and when it comes with a heavy dose of the hero saying things like "she can never know my deepest darkest secret because then she will hate me!" (even though she actually is very reasonable when it matters), it never works for me, because it's never anything truly bad, and a lot of time is wasted with pointless angsting and agonizing over what would happen if she found out from someone else and all that. It's my least favorite trope. Also, the last minute drama when the big bad secret is finally revealed was also a bit too much for me. All in all, this was a really sweet and wonderful start to the new series, and I can't wait for the next one! *I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  6. 4 out of 5

    OLT

    Seems as if you can't read an HR that doesn't have either a duke, a rake, or a rogue as its hero. Dukes and rakes have pretty clear-cut definitions, but what exactly is a rogue? One source gave me two definitions: (1) dishonest or unprincipled man, and (2) large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having destructive tendencies. Nope, those don't describe our hero here. Then there was this other source that defined a rogue as being "mischievous, knavish, a scoundrel or a sca Seems as if you can't read an HR that doesn't have either a duke, a rake, or a rogue as its hero. Dukes and rakes have pretty clear-cut definitions, but what exactly is a rogue? One source gave me two definitions: (1) dishonest or unprincipled man, and (2) large wild animal driven away or living apart from the herd and having destructive tendencies. Nope, those don't describe our hero here. Then there was this other source that defined a rogue as being "mischievous, knavish, a scoundrel or a scamp." That second source's definition fits our hero better, although during the course of this novel, he shows very few of even those tendencies. He's an all-round good guy. Well, he does realize his effect on the opposite sex and does like to dress well and exhibit his manly legs to advantage. The year is 1787, some 24 years before the Regency era officially begins. Maximilian St. James, our hero, a man who survives on his wits and gambling skills, has just learned that he is second in line to inherit the dukedom of a duke who has no viable immediate-family heirs. He and the first-in-line heir are given allowances to live on and instructions to find wives and also show that they are worthy of the title "duke". Max uses his windfall to buy into the Tate family's ceramics business and also to marry into the business by taking the older daughter Cathy to wife. But beautiful, docile Cathy has other ideas and runs off with the local vicar. That leaves Bianca, not-so-docile daughter, to do the honors of marrying him. She's not happy about it and lets him know in no uncertain terms. Bianca is a talented glazer and is actively involved in the family business. She resents Max's becoming a partner, especially considering he has no actual knowledge of or experience in the business. There you go. Marriage of convenience. Resentment and dislike turning into liking and respect turning into love. Along the way we learn some tidbits about the ceramics and pottery business, and, also, by dribs and drabs, some secrets in Max's life. The pottery aspect is interesting and unusual for a historical romance, although Courtney Milan had a similar family business in her AFTER THE WEDDING and Nancy Bilyeau wrote a very good, informative historical novel, THE BLUE, about porcelain and glazes and the search for the perfect blue. (Here our heroine is searching for the perfect red glaze.) I liked this story for the most part. The romance developed well. The characters were likeable. Even Bianca, who started out the story as quite an unpleasant harpy, softened and became appealing. And, of course, Max is a very, very good guy here. Problems I had with the story were in its execution and a few of the ways plot was developed. (1) I could not quite figure out why Mr. Tate, who owned a successful ceramics business, felt it necessary to get Max involved and much less to have him marry a Tate daughter. (2) I could not understand why Max, in the past, had not tried to get involved in other business ventures, instead of just relying on gambling to survive. (3) I found Max's secret to be a nothing-burger. A real letdown when I was expecting something, anything, more interesting or spectacular in the reveal. Still, this was a decent entry in the HR genre. I'm not sorry I read it and may try out more books in the series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #1 Publication Date: 6/30/20 Number of Pages: 384 Yikes! The Carlyle dukedom is in danger and the duchess is desperately seeking out possible heirs. Her older son, the duke, is sickly and has a very limited mental capacity – he certainly cannot marry and father children. That wasn’t such a problem until both of her younger sons died – one in the Army and the has just died of an unfortunate accident before he could marry and have children. The dukedom’s solicitor, Mr Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #1 Publication Date: 6/30/20 Number of Pages: 384 Yikes! The Carlyle dukedom is in danger and the duchess is desperately seeking out possible heirs. Her older son, the duke, is sickly and has a very limited mental capacity – he certainly cannot marry and father children. That wasn’t such a problem until both of her younger sons died – one in the Army and the has just died of an unfortunate accident before he could marry and have children. The dukedom’s solicitor, Mr. Edwards, has been diligently searching for the heirs – because the duchess wants them to learn the ways of the dukedom before they have to take over. Three possible heirs have been identified and none of them make the duchess happy. One of them is a Frenchman, one is in the army, and the last is a cardsharp. Our current story features the cardsharp, Maximilian St. James. Max had no desire to be under the duchesses thumb, but he was grateful for the money she handed him and for the promise of the yearly payout he would receive from the dukedom. Well, except that yearly payout came with strings – he had to become respectable and be on his good behavior. The judgment about whether he was respectable, of course, was the duchesses. Max didn’t care for that at all. Max has always wanted to be independent, but life circumstances just never allowed that. He had to make his life the best way he could. Now, he has a bold plan and he is so excited about the possibility of making his own future. Max was introduced to Mr. Samuel Tate, owner of Perusia, a fine pottery factory when he was in London. Mr.Tate was impressed with Max and his relationship to the ton and subsequently invited him to visit Perusia. Mr. Tate had no sons and when Max presented him with a partnership proposal – as well as a proposal of marriage for Mr. Tate’s oldest daughter, Cathy, Mr. Tate was thrilled. Cathy, the sweet, docile daughter wasn’t thrilled though and promptly eloped with the man she did love. OOPS! There was nothing sweet nor docile about Bianca Tate – Cathy’s only sister. Bianca, who was every bit as stubborn and pig-headed as her father, was furious that he’d just sell out his daughter like that. So, when Bianca discovered Cathy packing to run away with the man she loved, Bianca decided to help her. What Bianca didn’t expect was to end up having to marry Max in Cathy’s place! I absolutely adored both Max and Bianca. Max was determined to win his wife’s affections and Bianca was determined to despise Max no matter what he did. It was so much fun watching Max slowly, but steadily, destroying all of Bianca’s defenses. One of the most refreshing things about this story was that it wasn’t set in London among the ton. Yes, there were several titles involved, but they weren’t the focus. The focus of the story was Max and Bianca and I felt as if I really got to know them. The romance felt real and I could genuinely feel that they were in love. Also included in my ebook was a short novella featuring Lawrence, who is Max’s valet. It was a really sweet story as well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the second book in the series – A Scot To The Heart – which features the army officer – Captain Andrew St. James of his majesty’s Scotts Guards. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Caz

    I've given this a B+ for narration and a B for content at AudioGals. Caroline Linden is one of my favourite historical romance authors, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting About a Rogue, the first book in her new  Desperately Seeking Duke  series, in which the ‘candidates’ for a ducal title are encouraged to show themselves worthy of such lofty status while the legalities as to which of them is the rightful heir are all sorted out. With the always reliable Beverly A. Crick back at the microphone, I I've given this a B+ for narration and a B for content at AudioGals. Caroline Linden is one of my favourite historical romance authors, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting About a Rogue, the first book in her new  Desperately Seeking Duke  series, in which the ‘candidates’ for a ducal title are encouraged to show themselves worthy of such lofty status while the legalities as to which of them is the rightful heir are all sorted out. With the always reliable Beverly A. Crick back at the microphone, I settled in for an entertaining and enjoyable listen. As the story begins, the elderly Duchess of Carlyle – whose son, the current duke, is in uncertain health – has summoned their closest male relations to Carlyle Castle to inform them that one of them – most likely Captain St. James – is the heir apparent to title and the other – Mr. Maximilian St. James – the heir presumptive. Wasting no time, she informs them that she expects them both to start living in a way that befits their new status and suggests they get married as a step towards respectability. She is particularly concerned with Max, who has a reputation for loose-living and frequenting London’s many gaming hells, but makes the same offer to both men. She will give them five hundred pounds each: You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals .

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jultri

    3.25/5. I didn't love it. It took me a while to warm up to the lead characters. Daughter of a pottery factory owner, Bianca, is forced to wed the roguish Max after her sister did a runner on him the night before their scheduled marriage-of-convenience. She's most unhappy with the situation and is not reticent about showing her discontent with both her pushy father and her opportunistic husband, who himself appears way too content with his substitute wife and the deal he struck with her father. T 3.25/5. I didn't love it. It took me a while to warm up to the lead characters. Daughter of a pottery factory owner, Bianca, is forced to wed the roguish Max after her sister did a runner on him the night before their scheduled marriage-of-convenience. She's most unhappy with the situation and is not reticent about showing her discontent with both her pushy father and her opportunistic husband, who himself appears way too content with his substitute wife and the deal he struck with her father. They slowly gain growing respect and fondness for one another as the prickly Bianca loses her thorns and the slippery Max gains a bit of grip, embracing his new roles as responsible business partner and husband - oh, and ducal heir-in-waiting. The narration was very good for the most except for Max's voice, which had a very nasal delivery that was jarring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    1787 Max can't believe he's in line for a dukedom. He didn't know what to expect when summoned to Carlyle Castle, but he has found out he must prove himself a worthy gentleman or his new allowance could be cut off. He sets off to create a respectable life for himself and find a meek wife. He sets his sights on the Tates, who own a pottery business. Samuel Tate's pottery business has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately for him, he only has 2 daughters and no son to pass on the busines 1787 Max can't believe he's in line for a dukedom. He didn't know what to expect when summoned to Carlyle Castle, but he has found out he must prove himself a worthy gentleman or his new allowance could be cut off. He sets off to create a respectable life for himself and find a meek wife. He sets his sights on the Tates, who own a pottery business. Samuel Tate's pottery business has been in the family for generations. Unfortunately for him, he only has 2 daughters and no son to pass on the business. Bianca sees no problem with this, as she can manage it just as well as her father does. Her father is over the moon when the perfect gentleman from London, Max, shows interest in his mild mannered daughter Cathy. Cathy's heart belongs to someone else though and switches places with her sister the morning of the wedding. This book is enemies to lovers done right. The heroine is very much against her marriage to Max and is quite snarky to him in the beginning. While this hasn't been my favorite trope lately, I adored Max's quips back to her. He took all of her hostility in stride and turned it around into funny interactions that left Bianca flustered. Also, the heroine turns her behavior around by halfway through the book, so it wasn't dislike until they magically loved each other. She fights her dislike and it lessens over time with Max's charm until she finds she's actually liking him. The steam in this book is fairly mild. A few quick kisses and a few full scenes towards the end. My favorite was a naughty scene in the middle of Vauxhall gardens. But nothing extremely explicit or crazy language used, for those who avoid that stuff. Max is so much a beta hero. He is so caring about Bianca and her family. He is wonderful. I really enjoyed him. He was very much a gentleman to Bianca even with her spitting venom at him in the beginning. He has a pleasant personality. He's not a grumpy brooder. But he does have a secret. And while secrets aren't my favorite thing in romance novels, this one didn't play out the way I expected it to, and I was happy with the way it worked out. Bianca is a very independent and opinionated heroine. Once she gets over her dislike of Max she is quite sweet though. Sometimes those feisty heroines can annoy me a bit but I didn't find that with her. The thing that dropped the rating for me a lot was this book felt soooo slow. While I really did like the aspect of the pottery business – it was different and interesting and the way it was described I was really able to picture the pieces made – I just kept waiting for something to happen. I felt like a lot of what I had read by 50% could have been described in 20%. But there are so many sweet little scenes in this book. And it was clever. The banter and their interactions were rather funny sometimes. Overall a very pleasant read. There also was a short novella about Bianca's maid and Max's valet at the end of the book that was rather cute. Thank you netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions are my own. Spoilers about my favorite parts . . . . . . . . . . . (view spoiler)[ I adored how Max always turned Bianca's antagonistic comments around on her in the beginning. Like when he comes up to her and she sniffs at him and says she just caught a chill. He offers her his jacket because she has him all 'hot and flustered'. He was just so clever and adorable with managing her dislike, I loved his reactions. I also LOVED that he was displaying his calves to entice her. That had me laughing. My favorite though was when she asked him about how he was always at the breakfast table before she was. He admits that he would listen for her maid to open her door and it would squeak and he would rush out of bed as fast as he could to get downstairs before her. Bianca kept getting up earlier and earlier until she was getting up when it was still dark out and every time he would be sitting at the breakfast table. It was just too cute. (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Naming a Duke! The heir to the Duke of Carlyle, his younger son is dead. His heir, his eldest son is brain damaged and unable to take up the dukedom reins. Now the hunt for who might succeed is on. The Duchess of Carlyle's agent has found three men who are eligible due to their family ranking. They are as the Duchess laments to herself, “an army man, a cardsharp, or a Frenchman. ” She's plainly not enamoured with any of them. Still she decides to give the first two men some support to ensure that Naming a Duke! The heir to the Duke of Carlyle, his younger son is dead. His heir, his eldest son is brain damaged and unable to take up the dukedom reins. Now the hunt for who might succeed is on. The Duchess of Carlyle's agent has found three men who are eligible due to their family ranking. They are as the Duchess laments to herself, “an army man, a cardsharp, or a Frenchman. ” She's plainly not enamoured with any of them. Still she decides to give the first two men some support to ensure that if they did inherit they'd have some knowledge of their responsibilities. The Frenchman is not to be considered.( Hmm! That bodes well for an interesting development in the future!) As for the cardsharp and the captain, "either of them is preferable to a Frenchman, of all people...The gambler is most likely a hopeless case. Once a gamester, always a gamester. It’s like an infection in the blood. As for the Frenchman . . .” Cardsharp! Gambler! Maximilian St. James has been that and more! Now he decides to turn the windfall from the Duchess into more concrete success.  He becomes engaged to the elder daughter of Samuel Tate, the owner of a very successful pottery works. With a keen intellect behind his calm presence he looks to put down roots and develop business interests that will strengthen his financial security to a point where it matters not if he's ever declared the Duke’s heir. Things work out somewhat differently when the Tate sisters are informed about the eldest, Cathy’s upcoming marriage to Max. Cathy is already in love with another party. Bianca Tate, the younger daughter, is intensely involved with the family pottery business, cleverly inventing new glazes, and working with porcelain. Feisty and determined to the point of thoughtless, she's forever throwing down the gauntlet heedless to where her temper flash might land her. Her shock when her father declared that Max as her sister's fiancé would be given a quarter percentage of the business fuelled her fury beyond incendiary. Which left her in a place of no return when, in a rush of that famous temper, she accepts marriage to Max in place of her beloved older sister. A different type of read, set against the background of the ton, with characters much further down the social ladder, being involved as they are in 'trade'. A very pleasing read with a slight twist to the 'marriage of convenience' trope that really was only convenient for one person--until it became more! A HarperCollins ARC via NetGalley

  12. 4 out of 5

    Zuzu

    4.5* I thoroughly enjoyed this book - my first from this author. To quickly summarize the story, Bianca marries Max when her sister, the intended bride, elopes with her true love. Max is second in line to a dukedom and sent out with an allowance from the Duchess to “make something of himself.” The part I did think was very different from most books is we don’t see the first meeting between all parties involved. It’s told after the fact when Max comes to town to start courting Cathy, Bianca’s sist 4.5* I thoroughly enjoyed this book - my first from this author. To quickly summarize the story, Bianca marries Max when her sister, the intended bride, elopes with her true love. Max is second in line to a dukedom and sent out with an allowance from the Duchess to “make something of himself.” The part I did think was very different from most books is we don’t see the first meeting between all parties involved. It’s told after the fact when Max comes to town to start courting Cathy, Bianca’s sister. However, to be honest, it probably shortened the book by several chapters and I tend to prefer shorter books as of late. Bianca works at the family’s pottery business developing colorful glazes. I actually found this very interesting! And it was so much better than the usual HR books where the women are ladies of leisure. Bianca had a lot of spunk! I’m very curious to see if this book ends up having a sequel due to the ending. I hope so! Highly recommend. *I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    4.25 stars- Reviewed for Wit and Sin Bianca Tate loves two things: her family and Perusia, her family’s ceramics business. When her father agrees to let a rogue with some paper-thin connection to a duke marry Bianca’s sister, Cathy, and have a quarter share in Perusia, Bianca is furious. Not only is Cathy in love with another, how dare her father give away a piece of her inheritance to a stranger known for his gambling? In a fury, Bianca helps Cathy elope with her beloved…only to find that sh 4.25 stars- Reviewed for Wit and Sin Bianca Tate loves two things: her family and Perusia, her family’s ceramics business. When her father agrees to let a rogue with some paper-thin connection to a duke marry Bianca’s sister, Cathy, and have a quarter share in Perusia, Bianca is furious. Not only is Cathy in love with another, how dare her father give away a piece of her inheritance to a stranger known for his gambling? In a fury, Bianca helps Cathy elope with her beloved…only to find that she herself has to take Cathy’s place at the altar. She may have to marry Maximilian St. James, but she’s determined he won’t interfere in her life or her family’s business. Only Max turns out to be quite different than she imagined. Slowly Bianca finds herself thawing to the stranger she married as she learns that perhaps there may be more to the charming rogue than she first thought. About a Rogue is so much fun to read! Max and Bianca have excellent chemistry and I loved watching Bianca in particular go from loathing her husband and all she believes him to be to falling for the real man beneath the rogue. Max grabbed my heart from the first. He’s got a good heart, sharp business sense, and has had a difficult life. Learning that he’s possibly in line for a dukedom is the first stroke of luck he’s had in a long time. It’s not the possibility of a title, but rather the money promised if he becomes respectable that gives Max the leg up he needs to find the security he so craves. Perusia isn’t just a means to an end for him and I loved watching Max’s business acumen at work as he comes up with new ideas. He’s the perfect addition to the Tate family, whether Bianca wants to admit it or not. As for Bianca, there are a few Taming of the Shrew elements in the beginning of About a Rogue as she resists her father’s plans and Max’s charms. I understood why she was so angry, though because I had more insight to Max than she, I felt sorry for him. However, Max stays one step ahead of Bianca in often funny ways and I loved the sparks that flew between them. Bianca is fiercely loving in addition to incredibly talented and once she begins to see the true Max the story really takes flight. They are a dynamite pair and I loved watching their relationship develop. About a Rogue is the first book in the Desperately Seeking Duke series and I cannot wait to see what Caroline Linden has in store for the other Carlyle heirs. Each story promises to be quite different and in this one I loved the backdrop of the ceramics business. From the artistry of it to Max’s ideas for expanding the business to Bianca’s gift for glazes and knowledge of chemistry, the Perusia part of the story not only added depth to the world and story, it was fascinating in its own right. I truly adored About a Rogue and will happily revisit Max and Bianca again and again. FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    3.5 stars for this very entertaining story. I enjoyed watching Max and Bianca fall in love and build a solid marriage. If the story had stuck to their relationship and all the interesting details about her family's business, it would have been a 4 star book. I thought the sub-plot about his aunt was mostly unnecessary. I will definitely pick-up the next book in the series when it comes out.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Grogan

    Bianca Tate has no desire to marry as she only has eyes for the glazes she creates for her family’s ceramics business, and that definitely includes a man out for nothing but said business. However, when her sister is forced into a betrothal, Bianca takes her place. Maximillian St. James is suddenly an (unlikely) heir to a dukedom after spending most of his life without its little comforts. To even make this inheritance somewhat possible, he is forced to marry. It doesn’t really matter which Tate Bianca Tate has no desire to marry as she only has eyes for the glazes she creates for her family’s ceramics business, and that definitely includes a man out for nothing but said business. However, when her sister is forced into a betrothal, Bianca takes her place. Maximillian St. James is suddenly an (unlikely) heir to a dukedom after spending most of his life without its little comforts. To even make this inheritance somewhat possible, he is forced to marry. It doesn’t really matter which Tate sister he marries. Or does it? So I had been looking forward to this book for a long time and there were loads of good things about it. Max being one of those things. His attitude the entire book was so affable that it was hard not to like him, maybe even love him a little bit. However, his good nature made Bianca’s refusal to like him that much more irritating. Especially because she seemed to hold on to the same reason the entire book. That doesn’t mean I necessarily disliked her, though. I just thought she needed to ease up a bit. I did wish more of the ceramics business had been highlighted because it seemed to pretty much disappear once Max and Bianca actually got married. I always like the idea of a heroine continuing her work despite getting married so that was a bit disappointing. I personally liked the mystery element and had no idea what was going on until the end. It was definitely a nice change of pace from the “normal” conflict at the end of the characters having an argument that could be solved by talking. I am so very excited to read the next title on this series, especially after seeing that cover!! *I received an eARC from Caroline Linden in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Em Wittmann

    Strong first half, weak finish. Good, but ultimately unsatisfying (not counting the brilliant bonus novella!): 4 stars/B- About a Rogue showcases one of my favorite character tropes: A bad boy who isn't quite the bad boy everyone imagines. Oh, he's bad. But not the bad kind of bad. The naughty kind of bad. Know what I mean? Well, if you don't, you might not read a lot of historical romance...and I'll leave it at that. I digress. About a Rogue opens in a prologue. The dowager Duchess of Carlyle ha Strong first half, weak finish. Good, but ultimately unsatisfying (not counting the brilliant bonus novella!): 4 stars/B- About a Rogue showcases one of my favorite character tropes: A bad boy who isn't quite the bad boy everyone imagines. Oh, he's bad. But not the bad kind of bad. The naughty kind of bad. Know what I mean? Well, if you don't, you might not read a lot of historical romance...and I'll leave it at that. I digress. About a Rogue opens in a prologue. The dowager Duchess of Carlyle has recently learned that her youngest son, the heir presumptive, is dead. With the current duke unable to marry or produce an heir (an accident as a young man has left him in a child-like state), she asks her solicitor to find the the next three men in line to inherit. Her beleaguered solicitor is way ahead of her and has the information at hand. One of the options is missing, the second is a soldier, and the third is a rumored disreputable London rake. Far from thrilled by the options but ever practical, she asks him to summon the two men to the estate for an interview. The interview goes much as Max (our rake) expected after he learned the reason for his summons: The dowager makes it clear she doesn't approve of him; she's clearly relieved his companion - a very nervous soldier, is next in line to inherit. But then the dowager makes them both a surprising offer: in exchange for a lump sum payment and annual allowance, she wants each man to prove he's capable and worthy of one day inheriting the estate, and becoming the next Duke of Carlyle. The soldier is eager, and the rake...well, he's used to people underestimating him, and he doesn't reveal how thrilled he is about this sudden life-changing windfall and opportunity. Max has no desire to become the next duke, but he has every intention of using the money and opportunity to improve his life. Maximilian St. James is not quite the rake he appears to be. Although he spends his time with a fast, affluent crowd, he doesn't gamble for fun. He gambles to make ends meet. Life is either feast or famine. Max is used to struggling; as a young boy, his dissolute father abandoned his mother whenever it was convenient, and his mother struggled to care for him. The pair often went hungry with help in short supply, despite his father's connection to the Duke of Carlyle. When his mother died while he was still a young boy, he went to live with his mother's sister, Gemma. Gemma and her husband cared for Max. Life was good, he was studying law...until he was falsely accused of seducing the wrong woman and lost his position, and then his uncle died. When Gemma remarried, he departed for London to make his own way. When Samuel Tate, owner of a prosperous ceramics business, introduces Maximillian St. James to his daughters, he has high hopes that his guest will make a match with his eldest daughter Cathy. St. James is interested in the business, and has some intriguing ideas about increasing sales via his London connections. Cathy is horrified (she's in love with the local curate); Bianca, her youngest sister, is angry. She has no intention of letting some handsome London Lothario marry her beloved sister Cathy, and she's furious that her papa would even consider it. She's also convinced he has nefarious plans to sell off the business, and she's NOT going to let it happen. So, she secretly encourages rebellion in her sister, and then helps Cathy elope on her wedding day. As one does. She doesn't expect her furious father to suggest she marry St. James instead (oops!), or that St. James would accept the switch with barely a fuss. Angry, emotional, and unable to step back and look at the situation rationally, she agrees to marry him. Oh, s--t. Oh friends, the set-up for this enemies to lovers story is a treat. St. James, as I mentioned earlier, is no bad guy. He's a good bad guy, with some very naughty, wicked desires. And once he's married to Bianca...well, he desires her! Cathy was a lovely, convenient bride; Bianca is a challenge - in every way. Max decides to play the long game with his tempestuous bride, determined to prove his prowess to her as a businessman and as a husband. He's thrilled with his connection to the pottery, and eager to prove himself. And he makes Bianca so mad! It's delicious. Just when Bianca thinks she has the upper hand, he gently shows her a different way. I loved their friction and chemistry, and it was a treat waiting for all the lust to finally combust. Linden does a marvelous job developing these two characters - the intelligent, tempestuous, beautiful, slightly naive Bianca pitted against the lonely, handsome, kind, sly and charming Max - and building the tension between them to a boiling point. They're terrific together. Unfortunately, once they get together, the story takes a turn. All through the first half we get teases of a terrible secret Max is keeping (I thought I knew what it was for 3/4 of the novel. I was wrong. So wrong.). It's a nail-biting wait hoping Bianca doesn't find out before he can explain whatever it is...and then she finds out. And the secret is ridiculous. And totally sends the story off its rails. And from there, it just sort of limps to the finish line. Sorry, but it does. A climatic scene lacks finesse and ends with a bang. Pun intended. Look, well past the half-way mark I thought this was going to be in my top 5 novels of 2020. Great sexual tension, a compelling and unique setting and story - with a heroine in a non-traditional role totally killing it with her talent, a rake-ish hero who's just delicious...romance reader, it was all working! But then the big reveal was so odd and strange and surprising, and the villain so forgettable? Ridiculous? Random? Silly? It just felt like the author wasn't sure where her story was going (or what Max's big secret should be), so she invented this horrifying secondary plot. It just feels wrong. Promising start, disappointing ending. Fortunately, Linden's not-so good is still pretty good... B-/4 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tales Of A Bookbug

    About a Rogue is the third book that I've read from Caroline Linden and she's quickly becoming a favorite of mine! I'd been wanting to read this one ever since I came across the blurb and marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes! After the Duke of Carlyle's brother(and heir) dies, his mother decides to summon the three distant relatives who are next in line to inherit the dukedom soon. She wants to make sure that the dukedom is passed on to someone who fits her criteria and will take About a Rogue is the third book that I've read from Caroline Linden and she's quickly becoming a favorite of mine! I'd been wanting to read this one ever since I came across the blurb and marriage of convenience is one of my favorite tropes! After the Duke of Carlyle's brother(and heir) dies, his mother decides to summon the three distant relatives who are next in line to inherit the dukedom soon. She wants to make sure that the dukedom is passed on to someone who fits her criteria and will take good care of it. If they turn their lives around in six months and get married by then, they'll receive an annuity and be settled for a life. One of the candidates is Maximillian St. James, a rogue with a reputation that precedes him. Max is determined to not let this opportunity slip by. So, he decides to marry Samuel Tate's younger daughter Cathy, as she and her sister Bianca will inherit the shares in their father's ceramics business. On the other hand, Bianca is determined to see her sister be happy, so she helps Cathy elope and ends up taking her place at the altar in order to save the business. What starts off as a marriage of convenience, soon turns into something more when Max discovers that he's now got everything that he's wanted. All he has to do is make sure Bianca realizes the same! After reading so many historical romance books in the past few weeks with arrogant, alpha heroes, it was quite refreshing to read about an ex-scoundrel who is actually honest and charming. I loved the playful banter between him and Bianca. He had his work cut out for him because she totally hated him at first! Bianca sees him as an opportunist who has come along to take away her family business. So, it takes a while for her to see the man who is willing to put in the hardwork to improve the business and learn about it. Max is more encouraging than her father and her co-workers. He gives her the respect she deserves and listens to her ideas. In return, she also learns to see behind his facade and takes a chance on his future plans for the company. It takes some time for them to move beyond the initial animosity and Max has to work hard to earn her trust. I loved the slow development of the relationship between them and it was done in a realistic manner. But, on the other hand, though I loved these two as individual characters, I didn't feel much chemistry between them beyond a light spark. They were perfect for each other, but I just felt as if there was something missing. Also, Bianca was a little annoying at first with her intense hatred of Max. She wasn't even willing to give him a chance, but I'm glad that changed and she also grew as a character. The touch of drama with Max's secret wasn't really that much of a big deal in my opinion as Bianca handled it well, but I guess there wouldn't be much of a plot in a HR book if there isn't some drama at the very least! Lol! In the end, this was a light and refreshing read with well-developed characters that I came to love! Plus, it's a great start to a new series and I'm very interested in finding out who will actually end up inheriting the dukedom! The colonel or the mysterious Frenchman? Rating : 3.5 stars *I was provided with an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joana V.

    Review originally posted at Romancing Romances. I received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. So, I read a few contemporaries before this (some very good, one not so good), and I was in need of a historical that you bring me the will to read again. This book definitely did it. About a Rogue is an enemies to lovers story, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, as usual with Caroline Linden’s books. I really liked the main couple, Bianca Review originally posted at Romancing Romances. I received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. So, I read a few contemporaries before this (some very good, one not so good), and I was in need of a historical that you bring me the will to read again. This book definitely did it. About a Rogue is an enemies to lovers story, and I have to say I really enjoyed it, as usual with Caroline Linden’s books. I really liked the main couple, Bianca was just the right amount of fiery, and Max was a wonderful man trying to win his bride over. There’s a bit of mystery at the end of the story, and I have to be honest – I did not expect that! Which is good, in case anyone is wondering. Bianca fierce love for her sister and her work was very amazing, and even if her decision to marry Max was made in the spur of the moment, she kept to it, and even if she didn’t want to fall in love, and actually trying to prevent it, she also realized when it was time to just let go, which I really enjoyed, as I prefer stories where people are not so stubborn that they only realize they love one another in a death or life situation. Max was indeed a rogue, but he’s so much more than that. He’s an intelligent man, with a head for figures, and he’s very good at business adventures. And he also knows how to best engage with Bianca, without ever forcing her or imposing on her, he simply makes himself known, and actually does the work for both the business and the love relationship. The conflict at the end could have spiralled out of control if handled differently, but I think the author did just the right thing. Yes, Max hid something from Bianca (and her family), but he had a good reason for it, and I like that Bianca is slightly sad that he didn’t trust her, but not exactly hurt, because she understands him and his reasons. The book ended up being a quick read, and was just right for my mood.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Book provided via Goodreads Giveaways. This was a very solid, enjoyable HR. I liked the late 18th-century setting (and yay that the style of the dress on the cover is correct!) and primary focus on people who were not titled- more working class, even if still quite well off. (The beginning with the Duchess (shouldn't it be Dowager Duchess?) was a good way of starting things off, though, imo.) The slight nod to The Taming of the Shrew was fun, too. I felt that the author did a nice job of making t Book provided via Goodreads Giveaways. This was a very solid, enjoyable HR. I liked the late 18th-century setting (and yay that the style of the dress on the cover is correct!) and primary focus on people who were not titled- more working class, even if still quite well off. (The beginning with the Duchess (shouldn't it be Dowager Duchess?) was a good way of starting things off, though, imo.) The slight nod to The Taming of the Shrew was fun, too. I felt that the author did a nice job of making the details fit the time period- I never felt lifted out of the story due to anachronisms, which I really appreciate. The many details about pottery making were perhaps a bit much, but I did find it interesting. Both MCs were well-written and nicely developed, although Bianca's behavior in the first third or so of the book became old and grating pretty quickly. I grew to like her a lot, but at first she was just too immature and rude and obnoxious. How dare she be forced into a marriage of convenience with a young, hot guy who dresses well and mayyy inherit a dukedom?! Whatever. Max was, if anything, too perfect- kind, smart, hard-working, patient...and his one "flaw" (view spoiler)[ the whole aunt in an asylum thing (hide spoiler)] wasn't a big deal at all. He was built up as such a rake in the beginning, but wasn't one at all in the book. The pacing was perhaps a bit slow, especially near the middle of the book. (Nothing happens between Max and Bianca until about halfway though, I'm sad to report.) The last "fight" between Max and Bianca with the screaming at each other was a but much for me. At least it was over quickly, but a last-minute silly misunderstanding is not my cup of tea. I also felt that the main story ended a bit abruptly, only to find that the last 10% of the read was actually a short story about Max's valet and Bianca's lady's maid. It was cute and fine, but I think would have preferred it be integrated into the main story or a completely separate title. Overall, I think this is pretty well done, and I would recommend it. I'm pretty such this is my first book by this author, so I'm curious to see what else she has to check out. Oh- Also, this totally sets up a second title involving the Captain who is first in line to inherit.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

    I was so excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint! I'm a huge fan of Caroline Linden, plus knowing the story centered around a family-owned pottery factory made my ears perk up, since I used to work at a Wedgwood collection archive. I was certainly predisposed to fall in love with this book, and while it wasn't a perfect book for me, it was pretty close. First, I'll say that Ms. Linden packs in a lot of detail and research in this book and for the most part weaves it seamlessly into t I was so excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint! I'm a huge fan of Caroline Linden, plus knowing the story centered around a family-owned pottery factory made my ears perk up, since I used to work at a Wedgwood collection archive. I was certainly predisposed to fall in love with this book, and while it wasn't a perfect book for me, it was pretty close. First, I'll say that Ms. Linden packs in a lot of detail and research in this book and for the most part weaves it seamlessly into the love story. There's great detail about the pottery factory and village, Vauxhall, and a very detailed cricket match. At the same time, I felt there was a lot of plot packed in that didn't really deliver for me. To begin, we have the business of Max St. James suddenly and unexpectedly becoming second in line for a dukedom, which starts our story and prompts him into a marriage of convenience. But there are so many plot threads going on after that, that I'd quite forgotten about the whole Duke business until the very end! Beyond the main love story, there's family drama with Bianca's sister, some secrets Max is keeping that may or may not be sinister in nature and may or may not be dangerous to Bianca, Max's plan to expand the business, some gossipy London ladies that Max fears will ruin his character and hints about Max's rakish past coming back to haunt him, and a few elderly aunts with pertaining back stories. And more! There's just a lot going on, which I feel is partly due to setting the stage for later books in the series. But it's my main issue with the book. I would have liked less but more developed plot points. Max is just a fantastic hero. I always feel Ms. Linden writes the best heroes. Max is so very good to Bianca in spite of her terrible treatment of him in the beginning. It took me a long time to warm up to Bianca. From the very first time she's on the page, she is seething and angry, all the way until about 40% of the book. It seemed that she held onto that anger for unreasonably long as well. While I did end up liking her, I still felt I wanted the happy ending more for the sake of Max. Overall this was a great read, and I'm very excited for future books in this series. (Plus the novella at the end was fantastic!) *ARC provided by NetGalley for review*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    An inconvenient marriage, a strong connection, a blurred line between passion and ambition. Lord Maximilian St. John discovered he was in line to inherit a dukedom. His chances of really inheriting were slim, but he intended to use the allowance he was granted and the connection to establish himself in life. That is how he ended up offering marriage to Catherine Tate, heiress of the famous and prosperous Tate Pottery. Everything was working perfectly fine until he was forced to exchange the doci An inconvenient marriage, a strong connection, a blurred line between passion and ambition. Lord Maximilian St. John discovered he was in line to inherit a dukedom. His chances of really inheriting were slim, but he intended to use the allowance he was granted and the connection to establish himself in life. That is how he ended up offering marriage to Catherine Tate, heiress of the famous and prosperous Tate Pottery. Everything was working perfectly fine until he was forced to exchange the docile Catherine for her indomitable sister Bianca. What was supposed to be a calm marriage of convenience turned into a crash of wills. A delicious enemies-to-lovers! I felt an immediate connection with the characters, and I was emotionally invested in their HEA. Maximilian is an adorable and vulnerable hero. He is ambitious and practical, but he is also loyal. Bianca is intelligent and full of spirit. Her love for her family and her dedication to the pottery were very inspiring. Their bantering was fun, and they had great chemistry together. As a bonus, there is a novella that retells the story from the perspective of the servants. Kit Laurence and Jennie (St. John's valet and Bianca's lady's maid) get their very own HEA. About a Rogue is very entertaining and tenderly written. Highly recommended! Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *This review will be posted on https://lureviewsbooks.com on 06/30/2020*

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ami

    Plot: Desperately Seeking Duke series is mainly about a search for the next Duke of Carlyle. Two candidates are introduced here, with the other one still missing. About of Rogue takes the spotlight to Maximilian "Max" St. James, who is in position of the dukedom because of he is great-great-grandson of the second duke. Being known as a rogue, a gambler, the Duchess of Carlyle orders Max to prove that he indeed has potential to be the next Duke... he needs to show respectability... and better Plot: Desperately Seeking Duke series is mainly about a search for the next Duke of Carlyle. Two candidates are introduced here, with the other one still missing. About of Rogue takes the spotlight to Maximilian "Max" St. James, who is in position of the dukedom because of he is great-great-grandson of the second duke. Being known as a rogue, a gambler, the Duchess of Carlyle orders Max to prove that he indeed has potential to be the next Duke... he needs to show respectability... and better yet, to marry a good woman. Max sets his eyes on the first daughter of Samuel Tate, who owns Perusia dinnerware. He has plan to expand Tate's empire too, which can secure him of needed wealth and reputation. Alas, the first daughter elopes, and Max has to settle with the younger daughter, Bianca Tate, who clearly despises him for swooping into the family and gets his hand on the factory's ownership. Bianca passionately loves Perusia, she formulates some of the Perusia's best glazes... and there's no way she's giving in without a fight. My Thoughts: I have only started reading historical romance last year, which means there are a lot of long-time authors of this genre that I have only currently discovered. Caroline Linden is one of them. About of Rogue is my first Linden's ... and I was attracted mainly because the woman on the cover looks a bit like Nina Dobrev (whose face I like 😜). Well, I can say that I'm satisfied with this and I look forward to the second book next year. This is another example of "enemies-to-lovers" (sort of) done right. Bianca has the right to be furious to her father. Actually, this is one of the things that used to make me avoid historical romance at all cost -- the idea of the father can easily marry one of his daughters despite their own feelings!! Well, I know it still happens nowadays somewhere, but this plot seems to be more "popular" in the historical complex, and it makes me mad. So yes, I am supporting Bianca all the way for her plan to dismiss Max. How dare he, right Bianca? But I love how Linden writes the progress of their relationship. Max is not as bad as his reputation. He is a decent man indeed; so as a reader I enjoy discovering Max's goodness along with Bianca. At the same time, I enjoy reading Max's admiration to his wife, who's not as demure as his "intended" bride. It's good balance of passion and slow-burn read for me. I am not sure about Max's secret though... but at the same time, I also don't really understand the weight of that secret in context. So maybe Max is right in keeping his secret and unwilling to tell anyone about it. It's a nice enough conflict for the climax of this book, and I can't really grumbled much about it. Not when the shouting match that follows is entertaining. (view spoiler)[Max's aunt is claimed to be mad, and since madness is not accepted back then, it can ruin Max's chance to marry into Tate's family and destroy his reputation (hide spoiler)] There's a nice little bonus in the end about Max's valet, Kit, and Bianca's maid, Jennie. It's amusing reading about the master and mistress from the eyes of the helpers, by the way 😄

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Lazaridou

    About a Rogue is the first book in a series called Desperately Seeking Duke by Caroline Linden. Each book will be stand-alone and it will end with a happy ending. It's been a while since I read a historical romance that I actually enjoyed. When it comes to Bianca and Max's relationship the first thing that pops in my mind is how natural their relationship felt and that it was true romance. As I was reading the book I thought that their romance was realistic and that's how it should be done. Neit About a Rogue is the first book in a series called Desperately Seeking Duke by Caroline Linden. Each book will be stand-alone and it will end with a happy ending. It's been a while since I read a historical romance that I actually enjoyed. When it comes to Bianca and Max's relationship the first thing that pops in my mind is how natural their relationship felt and that it was true romance. As I was reading the book I thought that their romance was realistic and that's how it should be done. Neither Max nor Bianca are perfect, but also, they are not bad. They have flaws that only made their character growth more prominent. Their relationship doesn't begin in an ideal way, they got married under some weird circumstance and at first glance, they are not a good couple together. Yet, looks can be deceiving and after they got to know each other better they found they have many things in common. The book had some good and some bad things happening. I didn't really like having women from Max's past speak to Bianca and I am a firm believer that past lovers should not be mentioned. I cannot mention the good events because they are spoilery which is sad. Another thing I liked was that little angst in the end that was the cherry on top of this cake. Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and I would recommend it!

  24. 5 out of 5

    b.andherbooks

    I finished reading an ARC of About a Rogue this morning! Competence porn, so much pottery, a man who loves to dress up fancy, and some Vauxhall debauchery to boot! I reviewed for Library Journal and will post the link once it is live. Thank you to the publisher and LJ for the advanced reading copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darbella

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 3.5 to 4 stars. Bianca and Max. Bianca was bull headed at first. Max was frivolous. Max at the blink of an eye said yes to instead of marrying Cathy (the petite, more quiet sister of Bianca) to Bianca. Max worked hard on learning his new trade and his marriage. Bianca eventually loosen up. Together they had their hea. Looking forward to hopefully Pippa's story, but the solider's story is next.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Luz Trevino

    About a Rogue Series: First book in the Desperately Seeking Duke Rating: 5 stars Thank you to the author/publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own. I'll start off by saying that I am a huge fan of this author. I truly enjoy her books and this one did not disappoint!! I loved this story from start to finish. Max St. James was such a great character. He's lived a very troubled past but when he has the opportunity to become a better man he goes for it. In his plan About a Rogue Series: First book in the Desperately Seeking Duke Rating: 5 stars Thank you to the author/publisher for the ARC given through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own. I'll start off by saying that I am a huge fan of this author. I truly enjoy her books and this one did not disappoint!! I loved this story from start to finish. Max St. James was such a great character. He's lived a very troubled past but when he has the opportunity to become a better man he goes for it. In his plans are those to marry the eldest daughter of the owner of a pottery factory. He has many great plans and on top of his list it to marry. Lucky for him he ends up marrying the younger daughter, Bianca. Bianca is such a wonderful character. She's strong, stubborn and a hard worker. She's responsible for creating glazes for the pottery. I liked how he gave her her space to explore her creativity and was very vocal about it. He admired her creativity and her ideas. This is one of the reasons that the wall she had built around her heart began to crumble day by day. Their marriage starts off very bumpy, but you could easily see their hot chemistry. Their bantering and when they tried to out do each other were fun to read. Max had a lot of patience. I liked how he gave her the time to get to know him and for her to let go of the prejudices she had against him. One of the best scenes is when she says his name, Max, and he loves it. I think he fell in love with her at that moment. Like any other romance story there was a little drama that needed to be overcome before they could find their HEA. Their trust on each other is put to the test and it caused for her to hold back on her feelings for a while. Luckily he is able to explain his past and the reasons for what he did that caused for her feelings to be hurt. I loved the angst and how they loved each other! I highly recommend it and I can't wait for the next one!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sharyn

    I loved this book set in Georgian England in a small town dominated by the Tate Family Pottery Works. Bianca Tate is the youngest daughter of Samuel Tate and takes her work at the factory making glazes very seriously. Meanwhile, her older sister Cathy is all that is genteel in a lady as she helps her father with keeping his house and managing the servants. One night, Mr. Tate brings home Maximilian St. James, who says he is a distant relation of a Duke and is interested in the Tate business. Bia I loved this book set in Georgian England in a small town dominated by the Tate Family Pottery Works. Bianca Tate is the youngest daughter of Samuel Tate and takes her work at the factory making glazes very seriously. Meanwhile, her older sister Cathy is all that is genteel in a lady as she helps her father with keeping his house and managing the servants. One night, Mr. Tate brings home Maximilian St. James, who says he is a distant relation of a Duke and is interested in the Tate business. Bianca is concerned that this dissolute London “gentleman”, with his velvet coats and lacy cuffs, is going to ruin their family business that he knows nothing about. She is further horrified when her father announces that he has offered Max her sister’s hand in marriage so that he can join the family business. Bianca knows that Cathy is in love with the mild curate of their village and he loves her so she assists Cathy with eloping with her love, thereby foiling St. James’ plans. What follows is a hasty convenient marriage of two people that hate each other. Well, at least Bianca hates Max. He actually likes Bianca’s intelligence, knowledge of the business, creativity, and... her curves, too. Throughout the story, Bianca gets to know more about Max and realize she was judging him based on nothing; she really didn’t know him at all. There are so many great scenes, as Max decides to play a long, patience-filled game to gain Bianca’s affections, as well as show her he does know about business and has some good ideas to grow the pottery works. I especially loved the cricket match, where Bianca’s competitiveness comes out. And, every time you think things will work out between the two, something comes up that threatens their future happiness. This was a very engaging read that I found hard to put down. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. That did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Arriesta

    This book is soooo damn good! I love the premise for the series, I can predict some amazing possibilities for story lines and character pairing. This series is going to be epic; I can feel it. Side note, I want a backstory novella about Her Grace the Duchess of Carlyle, mother to the current Duke of Carlyle, whose head injury has reduced his mental capabilities to that of a child and is unable to produce an heir. After the death of her younger son, the Duchess sends her solicitor to find the next This book is soooo damn good! I love the premise for the series, I can predict some amazing possibilities for story lines and character pairing. This series is going to be epic; I can feel it. Side note, I want a backstory novella about Her Grace the Duchess of Carlyle, mother to the current Duke of Carlyle, whose head injury has reduced his mental capabilities to that of a child and is unable to produce an heir. After the death of her younger son, the Duchess sends her solicitor to find the next distant male cousin who would be in line for the dukedom…. And comes back with three possibilities…. Mr. Maximillian St. James is one of the three possibilities who scoundrel background leaves much to be desired. The Duchess provides Max some funds in order to marry and prove he is capable of respectability and he isn’t about to blow this chance of a lifetime! Bianca Tate helps her sister escape and elope when she becomes obligated to marry Max, only to take her sisters place instead. Now married to a man she believes is after her family’s ceramic business, she is shocked when he might just be the key to taking the business to next level and that they might be the perfect match… Very well-done story, original concept and I loved reading about all the details involved in the ceramic industry. I loooooved the E-only Novella about the side characters to this story, it was absolutely beautiful…. I hope CL makes it available in the print copy that I have pre-order.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Aila

    *Wipes tears* And another hit from Caroline Linden!! "And as they drove back to the house in Farley Street, she made a silent promise to her husband that she would never be so faithless or disloyal, as his family had been. Tates were made of sterner stuff. Together, they would build a new family, and find happiness there." ABOUT A ROGUE brings vastly different characters together and creates a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings. Linden creates a refreshing take on a histo *Wipes tears* And another hit from Caroline Linden!! "And as they drove back to the house in Farley Street, she made a silent promise to her husband that she would never be so faithless or disloyal, as his family had been. Tates were made of sterner stuff. Together, they would build a new family, and find happiness there." ABOUT A ROGUE brings vastly different characters together and creates a beautiful love story that will tug at your heartstrings. Linden creates a refreshing take on a historical romance novel, choosing a rogue with a chance at dukedom, and pairing him with a hard-working glazer whose family runs a ceramics business. Their hate/indifference-to-love relationship is a beautiful slow burn, as readers grow to appreciate both characters as they fall in love with each other. In the prologue, we find that the Duchess of Carlyle is searching for distant cousins to be readied to become the next duke. One of these distant cousins, Max, is a rogue and a gambler. Her incentive for turning him into a sober and decent man is a large allowance, in order to prepare him for the possibility of becoming a duke in the future. Max, however, doesn't really want to become a duke. He may be a rogue, but he's looking for honest work and a chance to have his own... everything. His own home, his own passion, and his own family. Through a mutual acquaintance, he strikes up the friendship of Mr. Tate, who owns a ceramics factory, and becomes interested in his company. However, Tate keeps the company within the family. So what can Max do, but ask to marry into it? Good thing Mr. Tate has two eligible daughters... We begin the story with Bianca despising Max, thinking him a dandy and rogue that only married into her family for money. Max doesn't care either way, and he's ready to get started with learning the business. We begin to see a relationship unfold as Bianca cannot ignore Max's earnestness, and Max remains patient to eventually wear down her anger. I thought these interactions were so pure and sweet, and their slow-burn progression to loving the other was perfect. Max's respect for Bianca's knowledge in ceramics and passion for the business was beautifully evident. Her own empathy with his poverty-led path and struggles was also really heartwarming to see. Together, they make a powerful team as they both bring new ideas to the Tate business that pave the way to success. "Perhaps... just perhaps... this ill-begotten marriage would turn out to be a brilliant match." Not only is the premise refreshing, but the angst is kept low as well (as usual with Linden books). The main conflict was not dragged out, and I found the characters' reactions realistic and empathetic. It was very evident to see the main couples' love for one another, as well as a colorful cast of supporting characters who supported them every step of the way. Linden is a queen of historical romance, and ABOUT A ROGUE captures my favorite aspects of her stories. I would recommend this for someone looking for a refreshing historical romance, with a unique premise and spunky characters that just tug on your heartstrings. In fact, this might be one of my favorites of her books, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series! Trigger Warnings: off-page details of abuse (physical, mental), trauma and mental illness I do have to note: while Linden maintains historical accuracy with the storyline set in London, I don't think mentioning the culturally appropriating costumes of Vauxhall adds to the plot. Maybe the setting? It goes unchallenged, since historical accuracy and everything, but I didn't think it was necessary. There is also a side plot that deals with mental illness that definitely could have been explored, and in a more respectable way. It wasn't a focus of the story, but there was a lost opportunity in that. Thank you Netgalley and Avon for the review copy!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Caroline Linden’s latest is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Abandoning the Regency for the earlier Georgian era, just after the American Revolution, instead of falling into the fashion porn so many other authors writing in this time period over-indulge in, she drops us smack into the middle of romance set amid a fascinating and rising new industry of the era – high end English pottery. It may actually be my favorite of hers to-date. It’s a common set-up, but with the typical Linden Caroline Linden’s latest is an incredibly satisfying read on many levels. Abandoning the Regency for the earlier Georgian era, just after the American Revolution, instead of falling into the fashion porn so many other authors writing in this time period over-indulge in, she drops us smack into the middle of romance set amid a fascinating and rising new industry of the era – high end English pottery. It may actually be my favorite of hers to-date. It’s a common set-up, but with the typical Linden original twist. A Duke is about to die without heirs to his Dukedom, common enough. The uncommon bit is that the Duke is mentally impaired due to a childhood head injury and is unable to make any decisions for himself, so his elderly and very intelligent mother takes it upon herself to locate three distant relatives with the best claims to the title in order to bring them up to scratch. She tells them it is up to them to prove themselves worthy, and lets them know they are expected to marry respectably and in due course, provide heirs. Only two of the three can be found, and they are second and third in line by order of primacy. Second in line is a Scottish army officer. Third in line is a disreputable gentleman who makes his living as a gambler. He is our hero, Max St. James. He decides from the outset that his shot at the Dukedom is slim to none, especially as the Army officer is taking it very seriously and doing his best to curry favor, but he takes the Duchess’ money and admonition to go and prove himself respectable to heart. It’s the best chance he has ever had for stability in his life, and he runs toward it with all his ambition. Because Max is a gambler by necessity, not inclination, and he does well with it by having a good head for numbers, nerve, and an understanding of what is a calculated risk and what is a reckless one. That being said, he’s determined to find himself an opportunity to earn his own income and not be reliant on the Duchess. Her money is the start he needs, not the end. So he becomes acquainted with a man who owns and up-and-coming pottery in Staffordshire (Which if you look into the history of Wedgwood, Spode and Doulton, you’ll see was a major new industry in this era.) who happens to have a prosperous business, two unmarried daughters, and no sons. Max meets them and convinces the father to let him marry the oldest daughter, Cathy, who is amiable and beautiful for ¼ interest in the business. Unbeknownst to Max, but well known to both Cathy and her younger sister, Bianca, Cathy is already in love with the local curate, who hasn’t yet come up to scratch. But Cathy agrees, because Max is very nice and very handsome and her father wishes it. Bianca, who is tall, stubborn, and an inventor of pottery glazes at her father’s factory, is having none of that. She convinces Cathy to run off with her true love instead of the obvious fortune hunter no matter how well-mannered and pleasant he seems. When Max returns to London to make arrangements, Cathy and Bianca make plans to get Cathy away and eloped with her curate. The morning of the wedding, the bride is nowhere to be found, and seeing their father has already decided to have Max as a son-in-law and he has a spare daughter just lying around, he goads Bianca into agreeing to take her sister’s place. Now Max is stuck with an ambitious and suspicious wife who wants nothing to do with him, a pleased father-in-law willing to take him into the business, and a lot to prove. This is literally just the set-up. The way Linden builds the relationship between Max and Bianca is masterful and I’m not going to spoil it in this review. But this is a romance that is built on far, far more than physical attraction, though both hero and heroine are very attractive. Both characters are ambitious and driven, both work extremely hard, both care deeply for the people in their lives and as the story unfolds you can see how very well-suited they are in all of these traits. And once they get together, the love scenes are hot, meaningful and drive the plot. You really like these people and you root for them, including in a very unconventional and fun game of cricket, which women played in the Georgian Era. And the bits about the pottery industry are interesting, too. Surprisingly interesting and surprisingly integral to this story. Everything from shipping dinnerware without breakage to finding an ideal way to sell to the upper classes is discussed without ever being dull. It’s all there to show just how intelligent, talented and useful as people both Max and Bianca are. There is also a bit of a mystery plot from Max’s past that I don’t want to discuss so as not to spoil the surprise, but even that is both realistic, era-appropriate, and lets our characters show the best parts of themselves, including some side characters you will also very much enjoy. The ladies in this book all acquit themselves very well. No shrinking violets or useless, sighing maidens allowing things to happen to them are in evidence. Cathy is the closest thing to conventional, and she elopes with her boyfriend. Which is also realistic. Georgian women had far more freedom than we tend to remember. They went to coffeehouses to discuss topics of the day, ran salons and debating societies. While their legal rights were curtailed, which also comes into this story, they did a lot more work and thinking than many authors remember to give them credit for. Linden is not one of them and their work is well thought-out here. This book is a truly satisfying read, cover-to-cover, with plenty of romance to delight and plenty of plot to make it a real page-turner. The ending is absolutely as happy as you could wish as well. You should read it and get your friends who love romance to read it, too.

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