It is difficult to judge this book. It was both sweet and poignant, lovely and poetic, and a confusingly paced slog through things that I wasn't sure I cared about in the end with threads left untied.
The good: Saint was, well, almost saintly. He was a beautiful man, in spirit and in grace. I appreciated how very competent he was and how much more lovely his restraint was, knowing how very lethal he could be. Constance was my favorite sort of heroine - strong, graceful under pressure, and mostly unwavering in integrity.
The not-so-good: there's a lot of secrets and past flitting around this book. A whole mountain's worth. And the pacing suffered as a result. There's the mystery of the killer, the mystery of the missing girls, Saint's past, the question of his brother and the Duke's business, Constance's past trauma, Saint's past trauma, Dylan's romance with his pearl, and the members of the Sanctuary, the question of Constance's father and mother and her possible half-sister and and and and...
Not all of those things got resolved satisfactorily. They mostly got addressed, but I wouldn't say I'm happy with how much resolution I got. In fact, considering the weight and breadth of what I have just listed, it's rather impressive that Katherine Ashe managed to tie up the story as tidily as she did. Halfway through the story, I had a moment where I thought, oh, she's having problems because she's trying to write mystery-suspense along with a traditional romance plot and the two are getting in each other's way.
That said, I did enjoy myself. Ashe has a talent for writing heroes and heroines who are, at heart, very good people who deserve happiness, and I did really enjoy seeing Saint and Constance get their happily ever after. It says that The Rogue is book one of the Devil Duke's novels. Looking forward to seeing what else unspools and is revealed in the next book.
Book #1 of The Devil's Duke
Lady Constance Read is independent, beautiful, and in need of a husband—now. The last man on earth she wants is the rogue who broke her heart six years ago, never mind that his kisses are scorching hot . . .
Evan Saint-André Sterling is rich, scarred, and finished with women—forever. He's not about to lose his head over the bewitching beauty who once turned his life upside down.
But Constance needs a warrior, and Saint is the perfect man for the job. Only as a married woman can she penetrate Scotland's most notorious secret society and bring a diabolical duke to justice. When Constance and Saint become allies—and passionate lovers—he'll risk everything to protect the only woman he has ever loved.