Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest, and hopefully spoiler-free, review.
As I raved in my review post for The Masterful Mr. Montague, I adore Barnaby and Penelope as a mystery-solving couple, so I started reading Loving Rose: The Redemption of Malcolm Sinclair by Stephanie Laurens – book three in the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series – with gleeful anticipation.
Miraculously spared from death, Malcolm Sinclair erases the notorious man he once was. Reinventing himself as Thomas Glendower, he strives to make amends for his past, yet he never imagines penance might come via a secretive lady he discovers living in his secluded manor.
Rose has a plausible explanation for why she and her children are residing in Thomas’s house, but she quickly realizes he’s far too intelligent to fool. Revealing the truth is impossibly dangerous, yet day by day he wins her trust, and then her heart.
But then her enemy closes in, and Rose turns to Thomas as the only man who can protect her and the children. And when she asks for his help, Thomas finally understands his true purpose, and with unwavering commitment, he seeks his redemption the only way he can—through living the reality of loving Rose.
Loving Rose can be termed an original work for Ms. Laurens. This is the first time that she’s taken a villain, Malcolm Sinclair initially from A Taste of Innocence, and transformed him into a hero – Thomas Glendower. And it wasn’t a rapid transformation, but rather well done as most of this novel seems to be about Thomas. This is a romance where the hero is front and centre, which makes it different from the norm. As a reader, we are taken in a journey of transformation and redemption along with Thomas. Rose, who is an important character in this novel, serves as a reason for that change, but it is nonetheless Thomas who carries the weight of this story.
That isn’t to say that the mystery and romance aspects of Loving Rose are not explored or well-portrayed, they are but they are not as important to the story as Thomas/Malcolm’s journey. This novel is a romantic tribute to the hero’s journey of old.
And of course, we get cameos from some old friends and new!
My only quibbles with this novel were that I wanted a more dastardly villain, especially since Malcolm had been such a good villain in his own novel, but a true evil mastermind was sadly lacking in this novel and I also wanted to see Malcolm’s new identity as Thomas Glendower challenged in some way, but it never was to my satisfaction.
Yet, overall this novel was fun enough to make me dread the wait until 2018 for the next one! :(
For those of you lucky enough to just be starting the Casebook of Barnaby Adair series, you have three amazing novels to tide your over for the next three years. But, of course, Ms. Laurens never sits idle so, while we may not be getting another installment in this particular series any time soon, she is returning to her beloved Cynsters for the next batch of novels. :D
(aka Book Reviewer)