“Rules for a Rogue” is the first book in Christy Carlyle’s Romancing the Rules series, and I have to say that it was the cover that got me to read this one. That blue dress reminded me of Scarlet’s portrait in Gone with the Wind, and the setting looked like somewhere I wanted to be. So pretty! Imagine how excited I was to find out that this book is not Regency (although I do love some Regency, I love historicals that depart from that particular time period) AND the main couple take part in my two main passions in life: theatre and books.
Kit is a playwright/actor who is forced to take responsibility for his family’s interests due to his father’s death. This new responsibility brings him home where he faces a former sweetheart that has never been far from his mind: Ophelia. Ophelia, or “Phee” as her friends call her, teaches young ladies the ways of society while secretly authoring a book which brings all that into question. She must support her family, though, and those pressures are leading her to consider a proposal from a rich neighbor for which she feels nothing.
This story unfolded a little slowly for me, but the slow build did allow for the character’s emotional connection to feel more real than it sometimes does. I wish I knew more about why it didn’t work out for them in the past; it makes no sense that he would have left her. Also, what prompted Phee to write the book, and how did she go about getting it published? What are Kit’s plays about? These things niggle at my mind. I was so glad to read something in the Victorian time period and thought the author could have done even more with that. I was never bored while reading, but felt like the book was full of “almosts”. There was almost a really sexy scene; there was almost a real revelation about how he held onto her all those years, and there are more examples.
Both Ophelia and Kit are great characters that you really root for. The subplot about her book was particularly interesting to me, and I loved the openings of each chapter. Some of the secondary characters grew in interest to me toward the end of the book, and I look forward to seeing who she writes about next.
The Bottom Line
This is a pleasant historical with a great “second chance” trope for two enjoyable and well-developed characters. It is nice to visit a different time period, and I will definitely be looking forward to the other books in the series. 4 stars