|reviewed by Suzie Johnson|
For those who like, love, adore edgy CBA fiction, CJ Chase’s debut novel, Redeeming the Rogue is right up there in the edgy category, with its featured hero who has a problem with alcohol.
After a whirlwind week of celebrating CJ here at the Inkwell, I am so excited to share this book with everyone. There’s been a lot of build-up this week, and everything that’s been said here is absolutely true.
Lisa called Kit a delectable hero in her most excellent and intriguing Regency spy post on Tuesday. She also said Kit is “a hero worth reading about, and Mattie Fraser is a heroine to match him.”
In her fiction post on Wednesday, Dina said CJ “perfects a balancing act of epic portions, keeping all the plates spinning throughout a story that will leave you breathless.”
Yesterday, Deb posted on forgiveness, a major theme in this book, and she said, “C.J. pulls out all the stops.”
These ladies shared a lot of wonderful things about CJ and her book. What more can I tell you? Hmmm… Lots!
Before we get to the good stuff, though, I have a confession to make.
I think it was Barb who commented on one of the posts that she feared we’d throw stones at her because she didn’t read or write a lot of historical romance.
Barb isn’t the only one of the Inkies with secrets. Before I tell you mine, please promise you won’t gasp and lose respect for me… I read very little historical romance set in England. In fact, I can only think of one author who writes books set in England that I purposely seek out. Julie Klassen. Most of the books set in England that I’ve tried to read seem to have their own language. Lords, earls, barons, court rituals and the myriad of rules of aristocracy. I get lost in all of that because I don’t understand it. The reason Julie’s books are so enjoyable to me is because she doesn’t spend a lot of time with that. Or if she does, she makes it so understandable that I don’t even notice. Our own Dina Sleiman’s book, Dance of the Dandelion, helped me understand some of the rules regarding the peasants and landowners.
So you can understand, I had a moment of overwhelming nervousness at the thought of reading and reviewing CJ’s book. I was afraid I’d be lost. There would be speech references I wouldn’t understand. All of my fears were for naught. CJ’s book is a stellar read. Anglophiles will love it. People like me who don’t read many books set in England will love it. It’s a book that brings two cultures together in the hero and heroine.
With revenge in her heart, Mattie Fraser has sailed from her home near the Potomac River in the young American nation, not long after Washington burned at the hands of the British in the War of 1812. She’s seeking information and justice relating to the whereabouts of her brother, George, who disappeared after being pressed into service on a British ship, the Impatience. She seeks out Christopher James Michael DeChambelle – Kit for short - who appears to be a clerk for the British military.
As you all know, appearances are often deceiving, and if you’ve been following the blog this week, you’ll know Kit is actually a British spy. You also know Kit spends a lot of time drowning his sorrows with alcohol in an attempt to deal with guilt over things he did as a spy.
Without letting Mattie know, Kit seeks out the captain of the Impatience - his brother, Julian. Kit overhears a conversation that makes him realize his brother may be involved in something that could end with him being tried for treason. With the aim of protecting his brother, Kit sets about on his mission. When Mattie becomes the target of several attacks, he finds himself trying to protect her as well. What he doesn’t know is that Mattie’s reasons for seeking the captain of the Impatience aren’t as noble as they seem, and she considers herself more than capable of protecting herself with the pistol she has tucked into her pocket.
But when the stakes rise, devastating mistakes are made. Before Kit and Mattie can move forward in their lives, they need to learn about forgiveness. They also discover they must let go of their past hurts in order to move forward with their lives. Will that life include God? Will it include each other?
I’m happy to say that with her edgy hero and plucky heroine, CJ has been most successful in making the reader care right up front. I especially loved the interpersonal relationships developed throughout the book, especially with the little street urchin named Nicky. He’s a heart-stealer, and it would be most awesome if he ends up as the hero of his own book one day. I also loved the early American patriotic flavor that came through in Mattie’s viewpoint. I’ll be looking forward to CJ’s next book, and I hope Kit and Mattie will be a part of it.
Please leave your email address in the usual encrypted format, along with your comment, to be considered for the giveaway of Redeeming the Rogue.