Cover of The Lady Rogue: Gold filigree featuring a dragon with claws surrounds a black background with the book title

About the Book

Title: The Lady Rogue
Published: 2019
Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Cover Story: Montell Jordan
BFF Charm: Yay
Talky Talk: Mash-Up
Bonus Factors: Romania, Train Travel, Puzzles, The Occult
Relationship Status: Adventuring Pals

Cover Story: Montell Jordan

GIF from Montell Jordan's music video "This Is How We Do It"

I love love love the gold filigree against the black with that ruby-eyed dragon at the top. The title is in such a fun typography too. I’m obsessed.

The Deal:

Theodora Fox’s upbringing has always been a bit unorthodox. Her parents were treasure hunters and lived their lives traveling around the world seeking unusual objects and unearthing priceless history. After Theo’s mom died, her father adopted an orphan boy named Huck (a former soldier pal’s child) and continued his trade with kids in tow. So it isn’t completely out of the ordinary for him to leave Theo alone in Turkey at a nice hotel with only her tutor and her camera for companionship.

What IS weird is the tutor stealing all the traveler’s cheques and leaving Theo broke in a strange country, and then Huck showing up (after a year of being estranged from the family) claiming he was with her father digging up artifacts when they realized they were being followed by her father’s employer. Now all Theo has is her father’s journal, a cryptic warning to meet him in Romania, and the knowledge that all of this has something to do with Vlad the Impaler and a ring made of bone. What’s a girl to do? Why, figure out the mystery herself.

BFF Charm: Yay

Yay BFF Charm

Theo loves crosswords and cryptograms and photography (particularly the supernatural kind); she’s brave except when it comes to her feelings; and she loves doing research and traveling. I’d gladly be friends with her! Growing up in the earlier part of the twentieth century and obviously being fairly well off has left her with some preconceived notions about life that she needs to overcome, but she’s willing to admit when she’s made a mistake, which is very important. She can definitely be a bit impulsive, but you need some gumption in the kind of situations she finds herself in.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Theo and Huck haven’t spoken in more than a year, ever since that incident at her birthday party. When he shows up and isn’t exactly forthcoming with explanations or sweet nothings, Theo is understandably miffed. She also wonders if her feelings weren’t the result of forced close quarters, or is there really something there that draws them together. Their relationship definitely suffered from interruptitis (i.e., every time they’re going to talk about their feelings, something pops up and prevents them from airing everything out), but the slow burn was a nice break from all the traveling and intrigue.

Talky Talk: Mash-Up

I am used to reading Jenn Bennett contemporaries, so this book was a departure of style but, nevertheless, still held the essence of what she writes well: relatable heroines in situations I’d want to be in. I mean, obviously I don’t want to be chased around Europe by a madman and his goons, but I wouldn’t mind a little treasure hunting and hanging out with a cute Irish-accented boy while sleeping in beautiful Turkish hotels and fancy train cars.

There were so many fun elements to this book that you’ll recognize. Huck, Theo, and her father’s lives are an amalgamation of traits of popular adventurers like Indiana Jones, Nathan Drake, Nancy Drew, and Lara Croft. It could feel derivative, but mostly it just felt familiar in a comforting way, and easily allowed the stage to be set to tell Bennett’s story.

The book wasn’t completely perfect, but my notes are mostly minor. Some of the “traveling” portions felt like the went on a tad long. There was a lot of restating the facts and issues (have to find Richard Fox! Vlad the Impaler had a father named Vlad! We’re looking for a ring!). And the occult stuff (especially near the end) just…didn’t quite work for me? I don’t know precisely what I would’ve changed, but I just know I needed something more from it.

Bonus Factor: Romania

Rolling hills of Romania in autumn covered with colorful trees

We briefly spend some time in Turkey, but Romania is where the crux of the book is set. The little medieval towns sounded so quaint and adorable set amidst beautiful hills and trees that I really want to book a trip there ASAP. I’ve had friends who have gone and the photos were amazing. I hope that current-day Bucharest still has that old world city charm it does in this story.

Bonus Factor: Train Travel

Inside a dining car of a train with nice finishes and red velvet seats

Trains are so cool. Train travel is way better than planes because there are less rules and you have nice things to look at outside the window, especially in Europe. I’ve slept in sleeper trains twice in Thailand, but they were in communal sleeper cars. It’s a dream of mine is to stay in one of those cute little private sleeper cars one day as I travel somewhere. It will probably suck in practice, but in my head it’s so glamorous.

Bonus Factor: Puzzles

Close up of blue and pink shaded puzzle pieces

Theo is big into crosswords, which I approve of. As a child, her father would give her all sorts of ciphers and puzzles to figure out, and when he gives Huck his journal to give to Theo, she just knows there’s going to be some sort of secret code to discover. (She’s not wrong.)

Bonus Factor: The Occult

Artistic rendering of Vlad the Impaler

Theo has a handy reference guidebook for the weird and unexplainable that sounds like it’d be a GREAT read. Playing with this occult and dark magic stuff seems dicey, but how much more fascinating would the world be if magic were real?

Relationship Status: Adventuring Pals

What’s that you say, Book? You’ve decoded an ancient text that says we can find a world of riches in a far-away land? Well, now, just give me long enough to pack a sturdy bag of the essentials, and we can be off on a whirlwind adventure!

Literary Matchmaking

The Lady Rogue

We haven’t reviewed this one, but I had fond memories of Miss Amelia Peabody taking life by the balls in the early twentieth century and traveling to Egypt to dig up mummies on her own dime in Crocodile on the Sandbank. She has a very Theo vibe!

The Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)

For another girl who has adventures in a time when women were supposed to sit down and be quiet, enjoy Alison Goodman’s Dark Days Club.

All That Glitters (Enchantee #1)

For a tension-filled historical romance also set in Europe, read Gita Trelease’s All That Glitters.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book. I received neither money nor peanut butter cups in exchange for this review. The Lady Rogue is available now.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.