Angel Rogue: Fallen Angels #4 by Mary Jo Putney
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: January 26, 2012
Publisher: Mary Jo Putney, Inc.
Pages: 357 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Lord Robert Andreville (Robin) is in his early 30s and has become extremely burned out and depressed from two causes: The woman he wanted to marry, a fellow spy who for many years worked with him for the British government against Napoleon, has married another man, and after over 12 years of spy work, now that the Napoleonic wars are over, he doesn't know what to do with his life as the younger son of a noble family.
He is staying with his brother, an English lord, on his brother's quiet estate in the country when he runs, literally, into Maxima Collins. While he is napping in the woods on the estate, Maxie trips and falls on top of him, exposing to Robin in the process that what to outward appearances is a small, lower-class teenage boy is, in fact, a woman.
Maxie is in her mid-twenties and is the daughter of a second-son of a noble family who lived in the United States for many years and married a Mohawk woman. Maxie's father has recently died, and she believes he may have been murdered. She has left the protection of her uncle's estate--where she has been treated as an interloper by her aunt--and taken off on foot for London, determined to find out for herself what happened to her father. Being a gentleman with strong protective instincts, Robin is determined to accompany her and keep her safe, but he doesn't tell her immediately who he really is. First, because he doesn't think she will believe him since he is dressed in clothing almost as rough as Maxie's American frontier garb. Second, because he is sick of being depressed, privileged Lord Robert and wants to be someone else temporarily (and masquerading is a skill he perfected as a spy). Third, because initially this seems like it will be merely a temporary lark. The adventure soon proves to be far more than he expected. He finds himself coming alive again in the company of the most resolute, fascinating woman he's ever met--including the redoubtable woman who is his lost love.
As are all MJP's stories, this one is extremely well written, historically authentic, and alive with vibrant, sympathetic characters and exciting adventure.
I absolutely adore "two for the road" stories where two outsiders go on a journey together which allows them to make their own unique world together and find the acceptance and understanding with each other that no one else could ever provide. Maxie is a wonderful heroine, independent, forceful, and utterly loyal. In a fun twist on standard romance heroes, handsome Robin has a physical "flaw" of being a short man. However, he is plenty tall enough for tiny Maxie, and he knows how to fight in a way that allows him to turn the much larger size of an attacker back onto that enemy.
I have a long, happy history with this book. I first read this story as The Rogue and The Runaway, a short Regency romance written in 1990, and I loved it. Then when Ms. Putney rewrote it as a much longer Regency historical romance, this particular book, in 1995, I immediately purchased it, devoured it, and loved this version, too. Recently I have been replacing my paperback keeper romances, which have become worn with much use over the years (my own re-reading and loans to friends and family) with eBook versions. This eBook is very well done. The formatting is excellent, and there are no editing errors that I noticed.
I highly recommend this book both for readers newly discovering the magnificently talented Ms. Putney and for long-time fans such as myself.