Saturday, December 27, 2008

Let Sleeping Rogues Lie, by Sabrina Jeffries


I must say that I may have a new favorite author; at least for today. Sabrina Jeffries combines intriguing situations, likeable characters, and strong sexual attraction to make her stories page turners. In short,  I like her style.

Let Sleeping Rogues Lie is one of her novels in the School for Heiresses series.  This series revolves around students and teachers in Mrs. Harris' School for Young Ladies.  When Anthony Dalton, the new Viscount Norcourt, wishes to enroll his newly orphaned niece in the school, he meets with some resistance. First, there is no room for her and second, and  more importantly, Anthony does not really have custody of her, his brother's child. His aunt and uncle, the same evil people who raised him by punishing him for normal bodily urges, ie; masturbation (yes, it's mentioned quite frequently in this book) are fighting to keep her.  And due to Anthony's reputation as a rogue and a rakehell, he needs to enroll Tessa in order to strengthen his claim to her guardianship and keep her away from them.

Anthony meets Madeline Prescott, teacher at the school and  daughter of a physician wrongly accused of killing a woman by administering nitrous oxide during a medical procedure.  In order for Tessa to be enrolled, Madeline needs something from Anthony in order to clear her father from the accusations of murder brought on by this same uncle.  It's a convoluted, somewhat twisted plot, but it seems to work.  Anthony is talked into giving "rogue" lessons to the girls in the school in exchange for Madeline's recommendation to the headmistress to enroll Tessa.  This is probably the funniest part of the book.  Surprisingly, Anthony finds his niche in instructing the innocents in the ways of avoiding the "beasts masquerading as gentlemen" such as himself.  I laughed out loud at his lessons.

There's something intriguing about an author of historical romance who tackles some tough issues. After all, why bother?  Isn't it all about the romance and the sex? Sabrina Jeffries tells us that there is something to be learned while indulging our passion for romance. Laugh at that statement if you want, but I certainly learned about the use of nitrous oxide in this time period, as well as the prevalance of disdain for masturbation and the misunderstandings regarding depression (which Madeline's father suffers from) during this time.  In other words, I actually learned something new!   If not a first for me, then something that does not usually happen when I read this genre.  So kudos to Ms. Jeffries. And I will be reading the rest of her series. I like having my happy endings  embellished with a little something extra.

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