To Resist a Scandalous Rogue
By Liana De la Rosa
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Release Date: June 24, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
For Finlay Swinton, Viscount Firthwell and only son of a powerful earl, life has been a lark…until he discovers a terrible family secret that could ruin him. Determined to make a name for himself free of scandal’s shadow, he runs for Parliament. However, he encounters Charlotte, the mysterious woman who disappeared after their one night together, and he finds it impossible to stay away, despite her working class status and Jewish faith that threaten to destroy his chance for success.
Widowed, penniless, and desperate, Charlotte Taylor secures a teaching position at a foundling home and relaxes into a predictable existence. That is, until Finlay, the man she shared one romantic night with, reappears, a specter from her past. He ignites her passion, even while he threatens the precarious foundation on which she’s rebuilt her life. But when those from her past return to endanger her hard-earned security, she’ll have to reveal his secret or go to prison.
De la Rosa tackles controversial issues with care and sensitivity in this cross-class, interfaith, historical romance set in Regency England. The obstacles to a relationship between an Anglican viscount in a hotly contested race for political office and a Jewish widow teaching at a foundling home seem insurmountable. There were many times when I had no idea how the author would be able to pull off a happy ending for these two. Yet, I never stopped believing in Charlotte and Finlay's ability to find a way.
I enjoy a historical romance that also teaches me about the time and place in which it is set and the author does a good job of immersing readers within the political processes of the time. I found it fascinating. I also learned more about the social evolution (or perhaps revolution is the better word) of the times and the dedicated struggle for emancipation of various groups within England. The book is well researched and it shows.
But what I most enjoyed about this book were the characters, both primary and secondary. De la Rosa brings them to life, engaging both my interest and my emotions. At the center of the story, of course, are Finlay and Charlotte; well-crafted, likable characters searching for their places in life and finding love where they least expected. The females in the book are strong and the female friendships formed, solid and enjoyable. Then there are the steal-your-heart orphans that Charlotte teaches. I wanted to take them all home. Even the distasteful villains threatening Charlotte are vividly portrayed.
As I said earlier, I had no idea how the author was going to solve some of the obstacles in the path of this couple's happiness, in particular their different religions, but, in the end, she satisfied me with what was probably the best solution available for the times. And then she gifted readers with an epilogue, set 29 years into the future, that touched my heart, gave me hope, and caused me to shed more than a few (happy) tears.
I don't know what De la Rosa has planned going forward with this series but I sure hope it's more books. There are a few more unmatched characters in need of a happily ever after!
Writing British-set Historical Romance
as a Latinx Author
By Liana De la Rosa
A frequent refrain I have come to expect from my father since I started writing romance is, “When are you going to write a book set in Spain? Or the Caribbean?” As a proud Nuyorican (a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent), he’s proud of his culture - my culture - as well he should be. Our Puerto Rican heritage is rich, lush, and colorful, with a fascinating history ripe for a historical romance author to mine. The same is true of my mother’s Mexican American heritage, and I’ve long played with series ideas set in the Latinx diaspora but I’ve yet to write them. Why? As a Latinx author, shouldn’t I want my books set in places my ancestors lived and flourished?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is more complicated.
When I first began reading historical romances, I devoured any Highlander romances and Regencies I could get my hands on. I fell in love with the language, the etiquette, the titles, the desires and passions simmering just below the surface of respectability. The settings became familiar to me, even though I’ve yet to visit London or the Highlands of Scotland. When I’m searching for a new book to read, I almost always select a Regency or Victorian romance first.
So when I started to craft my own stories, I set them in a world I knew. A world where the rules were known to me as both a reader and a writer. And because these backdrops are familiar, I knew books set in the Regency, or the Victorian era, or in Scotland were appealing to readers…making them attractive to agents and editors in turn.
Because ultimately I wanted to sell books. Writing romance novels is definitely a passion, but I also wanted it to be a viable profession, and that meant writing to the market. So it seemed wise, as a new author trying to establish herself in a crowded field, to write stories that allowed the reader to understand from the onset what was expected of the hero and heroine, and what sort of social constraints they were working with.
I’ve been blessed that my Once Upon A Scandal series has found a home with Entangled. The stories may be set in England, but they highlight a diverse cast of characters who overcome obstacles set by society’s social protocols. The first book featured a biracial duke from the Caribbean, and my new release, TO RESIST A SCANDALOUS ROGUE, stars a Jewish heroine from a working class background who wins the heart of a viscount standing for Parliament. I researched at great length the political process of the era and also the realities my heroine, Charlotte, faced as a Jewish woman in Regency England. Thanks to a dedicated editor and the insight provided by sensitivity readers, I’m hopeful I portrayed Charlotte and her experience respectfully.
My new work-in-progress series is not set in London or even on the Continent, but in the mountains of South Asia. The departure from the known to the unknown has involved fascinating research that has rejuvenated my creative spirits and has made me fall in love with these new characters and their stories. I hope that readers who have enjoyed my Regencies will trust me to take them somewhere new and different. For the adventures I have in store will take readers to new heights, quite literally.
And one day, I will write that series set in Spain…or perhaps I’ll set it in the Caribbean or the Mexican occupied Southwest. The opportunities are endless, and I look forward to exploring them.
For historical romances set in Spanish-speaking settings, check out the Sugar Sun series by Jennifer Hallock. The trilogy takes place in the Philippines during the Philippine-American War of the early 1900s. Also, Lydia San Andres’ Arroyo Blanco and Ciudad Real series are set on a fictional island in the Spanish Caribbean, but share similar customs to those found in Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic.
Readers, do you enjoy historical romances that take you out of London to more exotic locales?
Do you enjoy stepping out of the Regency comfort zone with cross-class romances, interfaith couples, and diverse characters?
Have you read Liana De la Rosa's books yet?
One person who leaves a comment before 11:00 PM, July 5 will receive a signed, print copy of To Resist a Scandalous Rogue. (U.S. only)
For more information about Liana De la Rosa and her books, visit her website or connect with her online at Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.