The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett | a historical romp through Europe

again, but better (10)

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

September 3, 2019
Young adult historical fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

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3 stars

I’ve always enjoyed Jenn Bennett’s romance, something that surrpises me every time. So when I heard she was writing a historical fantasy, I was intrigued. I love history, I love secret societies and magical artifacts, so I was excited to get my hands on this book. A lot of The Lady Rogue felt like a rehash of her contemporary romance in a historical fantasy setting, but it was still on the whole enjoyable.


I feel like Bennett has a fairly good formula going when it comes to her main characters and romances, and The Lady Rogue is no exception. There’s Theo, an adventurous daughter of a treasure hunter, and Huck, an Irish boy that her father took in years ago. They have History. They rekindle their history on a wacky adventure together. So, fairly typical Jenn Bennett, and I think people who are primarily romance readers — and not so much fantasy readers — will really enjoy this. However, as someone who’s not usually a fan of romance, I felt like the romance between Theo and Huck took precedence over a lot of the actual treasure hunting and adventuring plot, which was mildly disappointing because I was really excited for the treasure hunting. They do have a great dynamic, though, with lots of fun between them–it was the Drama that I wasn’t too fond of.

One thing that I couldn’t help but notice throughout the book was that it still entirely felt like I was reading a contemporary novel–Theo’s voice didn’t feel historical, and neither did her father’s in the journal snippets we were offered. For me, it’s always a bit jarring whenever I’m reading historical fiction and the characters sound too modern, and I feel like The Lady Rogue encountered that particular pitfall. Of course, this is something that gets better with practice, and Bennett has three good contemporary romance novels under her belt, and only one historical fantasy — so I’m sure if she continues to write along this manner it’ll improve.

As for the plot: I’m always up for a nice, good romp spouting historical facts, but I felt as if a lot of the plot points relating to the actual hunt for Vlad’s ring was set aside to focus on the romance. I did find all the lore and history behind Vlad the Impaler really interesting, because he’s a very vivid character in history where most people know the folklore and not the truth. The Lady Rogue gives a lot of the truth, despite Vlad’s ring being entirely made-up. There’s a lot of very well-researched history in this book, which I appreciated. (Most of which I recognized from And I Darken by Kiersten White, in fact. We love YA historical fiction in this house.)

I do feel like Jenn Bennett fans or romance fans would enjoy The Lady Rogue, because a lot of the plot has such an atmosphere of classic romance. But if you’re going in for historical fiction or a good history based fantasy that draws on lore and artefacts, it may be best to go with something like The Gilded Wolves or City of Brass.

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what’s some cool historical fantasy?? have you read the lady rogue??

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