The Saint Who Stole My Heart, the fourth book in Stefanie Sloane's Regency Rogue Series, is just such a heroine. Sadly for her, though, she doesn't get the worthy hero her sister bluestockings usually do.
Synopsis: Possessed of a brilliant mind and a love for puzzles, Dashiell Matthews, Viscount Carrington, is a crucial member of the elite Young Corinthians spy league. Assuming the façade of an addle-brained Adonis, he hunts for a notorious London murderer known as the Bishop. When fate causes him to cross paths with Miss Elena Barnes, Dash discovers an enigma that will prove delightfully intoxicating to unravel: a voluptuous beauty as intelligent as she is fearless.
Only the lure of a collection of rare books bequeathed to her family by Dash’s late father could tempt Elena from her cozy rural life to the crush and vanity of London. But if Elena finds his lordship to be the most impossibly beautiful man she’s ever seen, he also seems to be the stupidest. Which made her body’s shameless response to his masterful seduction all the more unfathomable. Yet when she discovers Dash’s mission to track the dangerous Bishop, she willingly risks everything—her trust, her heart, her very life—to join him. — Goodreads
My thoughts: The Saint Who Stole My Heart features several likable female characters — bluestocking Elena; her trusty maid, Rowena; and the Furies, three ton doyennes who happen to be sisters. They confront some of the most pressing women's issues of their era, and because of this they have depth and character. Elena in particular has a passion for social justice, and she doesn't hesitate to track down the bad guys or have them thrown in jail on only her testimony. The book suffered, though, from weakly drawn male characters, most notably the hero, Dash.
The problem arose from the fact that Dash has spent years in the ton playing the fool as a means to disguise his role as a puzzle-solving spy. Throughout much of the first half of the book, I had trouble with the transitions from Dash-as-genius (his perspective) to Dash-as-bumbling-fool (Elena's perspective). It was hard to see him for what he was described as — a brilliant thinker, dedicated to tracking down a murderer. Dash's motivations for his masquerade felt somewhat silly, as did his sudden desire to reveal his true self to Elena. Elena notes, mystified, that there is "something" between them, but that
something is vague from the beginning and it never really developed. Despite a pretty steamy encounter in a carriage, Dash and Elena didn't seem to have any chemistry or passion for one another, and so their entire happily ever after felt contrived.
Much of the plot is driven by Dash's quest to find out who murdered one of his childhood mentors, and in this he's aided by fellow members of the Young Corinthians. Having not read the previous books in the series, I'm not sure I fully understood the mission of Young Corinthians, so perhaps that's made clearer in previous novels. I thought they solved the book's "mystery" a bit too easily, though, and this weakened the overall suspense plot.
Overall, the female characters made The Saint Who Stole My Heart a decent read, if not a particularly memorable one. After really only a year in the romance market, Sloane is well-liked by many readers (see links to other reviews below), and I can understand why. This novel may not have been to my taste, but I'd be willing to give her other books a try.
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Length: 304 pages
Other reviews of The Saint Who Stole My Heart:
In the Hammock (4 stars out of 5)
Stitch, Read, Cook
Disclosure: I received this book in return for a fair and honest review.