Book review: Valentine Rogues

Valentine RoguesValentine Rogues by Cindy Holbrook

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Finished this yesterday.

Once in a while, I will read an Old Skool style romance to remind me of why I prefer newer, more inclusive romance. This collection of novellas from around 2000 (which I totally grabbed from my pile of free stuff from a friend because LOOK AT THAT COVER) is a good example. It’s mostly fine, but there are little things that kick me out because the stuff I tend to prefer Doesn’t Do That Anymore.

So, for instance, secondary characters in a couple of these were kind of cardboard. I tend to enjoy the any-point-of-entry group series (sets of siblings or friends who all get their own books), so thin secondary characters irritate me now.

Slutshaming– having a flirtatious character (the sister of our protag) who is acting out referred to as “whorish” really did not work for me. Yes, she crossed the line (that was her plot job). But having the hero call her a whore is not really what I would have gone with in the scenario where you want me to LIKE him. There are ways to express social displeasure with out doing that.

Stereotypical “high drama Italian courtesan” was really not my cup of tea, although I’m glad her character got rehabilitiated after our main couple got together. Also, there was some deeply classist stuff that just threw me off.

Again, most of this was perfectly passable, and each contained an Important Valentine’s Day Ball Scene with Lovely Frocks. But the things that kicked me out outweighed the things I stay for.

View all my reviews


About Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas is a nine time Hugo Award winning editor and podcaster. In her day job, she is Head of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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