I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Rogue's Wager (Sinful Brides, #1) by Christi Caldwell
Series: Sinful Brides #1
Published by Amazon Digital Services on October 25th 2016
FINAL DECISION: The book started out slow, but as it progressed and the characters revealed more about themselves, I loved how the two of them were similar in unexpected ways.
THE STORY: Robert Dennington, Marquess of Westfield, has spent years in aimless pursuits after having been betrayed. The heir to a dukedom, Robert allows himself to wallow in drunkenness and vice one night. On that night, he ends up at the Hell and Sin Club and in the rooms of Helena Banbury, who lives at the gaming hell and is the bookkeeper for the enterprise. That night ends up changing Helena’s night as she is sent to live with her father, a duke. It is difficult for an illegitimate daughter in the aristocratic world but Helena ends up meeting Robert again and making a deal for his pretend courtship of her so that she can discourage other men.
OPINION: This book has a quick opening gambit as Helena and Robert end up in a compromising position, but then the book slows way down when Helena goes to live with her father. I found much of the first part of the book disjointed and the pacing slow. There are just too many things going on and the story didn’t really focus on the couple.
Eventually, however, the story began to concentrate on Helena and Robert and that is when I became more engaged with the book. I did like these characters, especially Helena. She is a woman who is determined to control her own life despite the efforts of the men in it. She is intelligent and has made a place for herself in her brother’s gaming hell.
Robert is a hidden sweetheart. A man who is a romantic at heart but has been burned and thus chosen to cut himself off from his hopes of love. He quickly sees worth in Helena even though she is scarred and illegitimate. His courtship of Helena was my favorite part in the book (from their waltz lessons to his final romantic gesture to win her).
Despite the uneven nature of this book, the characters really pulled out the story in the end. It was their personality, their relationship and their triumph that I cheered.
WORTH MENTIONING: I love a heroine who is talented in math — and Helena is even better than the men in her life.
CONNECTED BOOKS: THE ROGUE’S WAGER is the first book in the Sinful Brides series. The characters here are connected to prior Caldwell series, but this book is a standalone. I have not read the prior series but didn’t need to in order to get the full impact of this book. This book did, however, raise my interest in reading the prior series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.