A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore is the second book in the “A League of One’s Own” series; it is an historical romance novel centered around Oxford student and suffragist, Lady Lucie. She comes from a noble family, but spent a lot of her time outdoors. She is not your typical nobleman’s daughter and began participating in political activism when she was only a teenager. Her father is usually humiliated by her political views and actions, eventually it is too much for the family to bear and he disowns Lucie or banishes her. Either way, by the time we learn about Lucie’s relatives, she is already estranged from them and doesn’t really talk about them much. Therefore, due to Lucie’s experiences, she had to learn how to be independent at a young age – she also remembers an argument she overheard between her mother and father when quietly playing or spending time in her father’s library. Her mother was upset about her husband’s mistress, and rightly so, despite it being a commonplace practice in those times. He thought her reaction was hysterical and ridiculous and felt she needed to calm down; it becomes glaringly clear that Lucie’s (short for Lucinda) mom doesn’t feel her husband loves her and doesn’t understand why she can’t be the only woman in his world, a reasonable request and expectation to have of a husband. That argument stuck with me too.
Anyway, that memory sticks with Lucie as she grows up and is not interested in getting married. During the summers of Lucie’s childhood, a young Lord (Tristan) Ballentine enjoys the woods surrounding the property for quiet places to read. Lord Ballentine has a fairly rough childhood/upbringing and when he first meets Lucie, in the woods surrounding her parents’ home, he is taken with her natural beauty and daydreams about her for however many years. One day their paths cross when she hears and finds him flirting with a young lady also attending Oxford University; Lucie is not impressed with him at first, but remembers him from the summers of her childhood, she is not impressed by him because his playboy reputation is well-known (or so everybody thought) and precedes him wherever he goes. Lucie lives alone and has an all black cat named Boudicca. She is estranged from her family to include her brother, mother and cousin, Cecily; but has her good friends Annabelle, Catriona and Hattie. So, in order to continue to generate support for women’s rights (the Cause) she decides they need to publish their own research in a widely read magazine or newspaper targeted at women.
When the opportunity to buy the majority shares of a publishing company already publishes the two widely read womens’ magazines, Lucie couldn’t pass up the opportunity so she enlists the help of independently wealthy women who support their cause to help her purchase the shares to the publishing company. Just as the negotiations are wrapping up, they run into a snag with the deal and Lucie becomes increasingly concerned that her reputation is going to ruin the deal. Lucie goes to update one of the investors about the hold up in negotiations, during their short meeting Lady Salisbury suggests that Lucie attempt to play by societal rules a bit more to lessen the blow of their work for womens’ rights. She also suggests that Lucie consider a lover, boyfriend, male companion in her life; the other suggestions weren’t too difficult to hear, but the last one about a male companion sounded completely foreign to Lucie who didn’t believe she had the time and felt that being with a male companion would lessen her dedication to the cause and ruin her reputation among the women they are working hard to win rights for. Lucie was just unable to comprehend how being with a man would help her. During this time, Mr. Rochester (Tristan’s father) tells Lord Ballentine that a marriage to Lady Cecily has been negotiated/arranged because it is time for him to marry so he can produce an heir. Tristan’s father gives him three months to clear his reputation so that Lady Cecily’s ward (Lucie’s father) can sign the papers and make her Ballentine’s wife. However, Ballentine has no intention of getting married and certainly no plans on marrying Lady Cecily. He is working hard to secure his own financial stability so he is not dependent on his father or his father’s money.
Readers also learn that Tristan loves his mother very much and that his older brother (the original heir to the family name and fortune) had died a few years ago in a horseback riding accident. His mother has been distraught at the loss of her first born son and has not fully recovered from the emotional trauma of the loss. Unfortunately, Rochester thinks she is taking too long to mourn the death of her son and that she should be admitted into an asylum to live the rest of her days there. Tristan is strongly against this course of action and realizes that his father is using this situation as blackmail/motivation to get Tristan to use the three months to clear his name and to take the marriage arrangement seriously. Tristan has a few plans up his sleeves that would get his mother out of the house and away from his father, it would help him build his own wealth so he wouldn’t be dependent on his father and get him out of marrying someone he doesn’t want to.
After all of this happens, Lord Ballentine and Lucie find out that they have to work together because they each bought shares of the same publishing company. Lord Ballentine wanted the publishing company to help him build wealth and to use it for publishing his own works, but Lucie purchased it because no other publication would agree to print the report of their research in their papers. Unfortunately, neither person knew what the other was buying the shares for and it becomes abundantly clear that they are going to have an interesting and distracting time working with each other. Tristan is attracted to Lucie and would love nothing more than to have her, but Lucie is hard to read and even harder to win over. The more that Ballentine learns about Lucie and the more time they spend together, the more deeply in love he falls with her and the more difficult working with her in the publishing company becomes. It becomes increasingly harder for Lucie as well since her feelings aren’t cooperating with her – as much as she wants to hate Ballentine, she is finding that extremely hard to do. One afternoon, after Lucie gets a little upset at some of the decisions Tristan is making regarding the business she also owns, she decides to confront him about it and see if he would be willing to sell her his shares too.
Instead of offering to sell her his shares, he offers to give her a share or two if she agrees to be involved with him in an intimate relationship without strings attached. At first, Lucie is not interested in such an offer and would not even consider such an arrangement simply to have controlling shares in the company. However, the more she and her fellow suffragists attempt to think of a way they can print their research in the paper, the more clear it becomes to Lucie that she just may have to take Tristan up on the lewd offer in order to follow through with the original plan and reason for purchasing the publishing company to start with. As she continues to mull over his offer and what the suffragists are attempting to do, the more she doesn’t really see a choice and the more likely she is to do it. One day she heads into Ballentine’s office and declares that she would like to take him up on his offer which surprises Tristan a little bit since he didn’t think she would. It’s noticeable to readers that Tristan has some serious feelings for Lucie and that she is struggling to hate Tristan as much as she thinks she should. As time goes on, Lucie and Tristan develop a friendship which turns into a more intimate relationship that neither of them is truly ready for.
Tristan was under the impression that being intimate with Lucie would get her out of his system – that it would satisfy all of his daydreams and fantasies that he’s had about her for years, but he was entirely wrong. Lord Ballentine falls so deeply in love with Lucie – the real Lucie is even better than the Lucie in his daydreams and fantasies. He thought he would be able to easily walk away from their arrangement (as he had done to other ladies in the past) and even asked that she not fall in love with him, but instead, he is unable to easily walk away from her and ends up falling in love with her. One day, as they spend time together doing something other than hanging out in bed all day, Tristan realizes that he enjoys being around Lucie and with her, that he could see himself spending the rest of his life with her and traveling the world with her if she chose to do so. He realizes that he doesn’t want to live without her in his life and now he has to re-think all of his plans of moving to India with his mother.
He still has to figure out how he is going to get out of the marriage agreement and how to convince Lucie to be with him in a capacity that is more than just sex partners. He has to figure all of this out in less than three months. Weeks later, after spending an untold amount of time with Lucie and numerous evenings with her, Tristan still had not signed the marriage agreement and continued to refuse. His mother ends up leaving the home on her own and without telling either of them right away – this also upends Tristan’s plans, but it is evident that his mother saw how happy he had become in the small amount of time he started hanging out with Lucie. Both Lucie and Tristan have strained familial relationships and don’t seem to get along well with their family members. They both grow through the experiences they share and prove the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to protect each other. It’s a beautiful love story and a great historical romance novel; Dunmore did a wonderful job on the second book in her series and I was not disappointed reading it. I still think Annabelle and Montgomery’s love story is better than Lucie and Tristan’s – Bringing Down the Duke will always be my favorite of Dunmore’s books, but I loved this book and I’m definitely looking forward to reading about Hattie and Julian’s love story in 2021!
I would recommend this book to fans of Evie Dunmore (like myself), those who love historical fiction and romance novels. I pre-ordered a copy of this book from Barnes and Noble for $16.99; since the book is recently released, it may not be easy to find in a used bookstore and may not be available at your local library yet either. If you’re ok with buying a copy of the book, then I would head on over to Barnes and Noble to buy a nice, crisp new copy of the book. If you’d rather wait for used copies or copies to become available at the library, then that works too. I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait that long to read the next book in the series and I also felt like I would love the book since I enjoyed the first one so much; also, so many Goodreads readers said the second book was better than the first. I was thinking that I just had to read this book if the love story is better than Montgomery and Annabelle’s – even though the story, in my opinion, isn’t better, I still enjoyed the book and enjoyed watching Lucie and Tristan fall in love with each other for exactly who they are. What a wonderful message for Evie to send to both men and women all over the world!
Dunmore is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I’m looking forward to the other books in this series – I like the way the women are depicted because I feel they are more relatable and the story is more realistic. Honestly, they lived during a time when men were men and women had to actually fight for equal rights they didn’t have. What women like Annabelle and Lucie had to fight for was a real problem in their society – a real reason to be a feminist and fight for something meaningful. The women today complaining of inequality, didn’t live during a time when they couldn’t vote simply because they are women, didn’t live during a time when their marriage could be arranged for them by their father because he simply wanted them out of his home, they didn’t live during a time when a woman couldn’t do much of anything alone and needed an escort to make sure she didn’t find herself in any sticky situations. They didn’t live during a time when women actually needed to demand the right to vote, the right to hold down a job, the right to handle their own money and the right to be gifted their father’s wealth if they aren’t married by the time he passes. Women today have nothing to complain about – it could always be worse and it was at one point. These books are a wonderful reminder of how far we have come from where we were and how we are lucky to be alive in a time when women can vote, work wherever they want, can wear pants or shorts if they want to, own their own business, make their own money, go places independently if they choose to, get an education and so many other freedoms we now have thanks to the women who decided to fight real injustices.
Today’s women have absolutely no clue what they are fighting for or what they want; they have no reason to demand equality because we already have it, they can’t demand the right to vote, have a job, make a living, wear the clothing you choose to, etc because we already have all of those rights. I also enjoy these stories because they prove the point that you can be an independent woman while also being in a mutually respectful, loving and meaningful relationship with a man. It brings home the point that not all men are dogs all of the time; sure they may all start out that way, but as some of them grow and mature, they change into good husbands because they finally found a woman who was worth doing it for. It’s really that simple and women need to learn how to accept gender roles without being in an uproar that someone told them the truth about how much stronger men are than women.
Feminism is not about women showing off how masculine they can be and forcing men to show off how feminine they can be – feminism is about women showing how they can be both independent and part of a team. It’s about women being empowered to make decisions that benefit their families, careers, education, finances, etc. It’s about women having the right to do all of these things and look how far we’ve come! We’ve come so far these days that women are given a blank check to kill their children whenever they feel like it – they can abort the baby God blessed them with up until birth according to Democrats. So what rights do modern day women need that they don’t already have? I’m just asking because, as a woman who is married with kids, I can’t think of anything I don’t have the right to do simply because of my gender. I can think of plenty of things I have no business trying to do because of my gender, but I can’t think of anything I’m not allowed to do because I don’t have the right to. There is a difference between these two things and I think younger women would be wise to learn this difference sooner rather than later otherwise they are going to be completely disappointed in the person they end up with because they lacked the common sense thinking that allows men to be men – instead they are steady beating their young counterparts (men) with the feminism stick in the hopes that their masculinity will just leave their bodies altogether. If you want some weakling, scrawny, feminine-looking dude, then by all means continue your crusade, but for women, like me, who enjoy watching men be men, we’ll continue to bust out our feminism stick only when it’s actually necessary.
Yes, I had to rant because today’s women are getting out of control with this so-called feminism which isn’t really feminism at all. It’s some much sadder, meaner and disgusting thing that they are trying to brand as feminism. I will have no part in the modern day “feminist” movement – it’s really a movement to get rid of gender roles because their sensibilities can’t handle the truth. Anyway, thanks for stopping by my blog and for checking out my book review! Sorry for the rant, but these things have to be said, written, tweeted and shared so that people know that all women don’t think alike, that there are plenty of us out there who enjoy men just the way they are and that we do not subscribe to modern day hateful feminism in any way. If you want to read more reviews because you’re bored and have tons of extra time on your hands, head over to this link! Until next time.