Johnson's latest historical, set in 18th-century England, relays the May-September romance between 18-year-old Robbie Carre, the roguish hero of Johnson's Outlaw, and 30-something widow Roxanne Forrestor. The sexually charged story opens with Robbie, who has recently returned from exile in Holland, making a sudden appearance in Roxanne's boudoir. Beyond his hopes of ravishing the object of his affection, the lad aims to reclaim his ancestral lands. Soon, those closest to Robbie find themselves in jeopardy: Roxanne is forced to become the mistress of a powerful duke in order to protect her children from Robbie's adversaries, a decision that doesn't sit well with Robbie. Demanding, stubborn and childishly irrational, Roxanne's young lover behaves more like one of her children than a romantic hero. Some readers will no doubt be titillated by the older womanAyounger man romance, but others will likely find Roxanne's maternal role in the relationship distasteful. That said, Johnson, as in her other novels, rewards readers with a slew of footnotes detailing the historic setting.
In To Please a Lady, Johnson reacquaints readers with the devilish Carre men of Outlaw fame, and will they ever be grateful for it! Johnnie Carre's impetuous and oh-so-sexy younger brother Robbie continues his pursuit of Roxanne, the twice-widowed Countess of Kilmarnock, in spite of the price on his rebellious head. And despite the political intrigue that Roxanne finds herself involved in, she cannot deny her passion for the handsome young man. But can Robbie protect Roxanne and her children from the machinations of the unscrupulous Englishmen and turncoat Scotsmen threatening their love and future together? Caught in the midst of conspiracy, Roxanne and the fugitive Robbie battle the greed of the crown to secure a place for themselves and their undeniable need for each other.
Roxanne Forrestor was determined to live life on her own terms--even in a man's world. The beautiful Countess of Kilmarnock had so far survived the political and romantic intrigues of Scotland's most powerful suitors. So why couldn't she resist the brash Robbie Carre? Why did she find it impossible to throw the rebel earl out of her bedchamber even though it meant harboring a wanted man? Robbie cared nothing for his own safety. But he knew all too well that his ruthless enemies, desparate to capture him, would use Roxie and her children as pawns. He would brave the odds to protect them, would fight for his fugitive love with Roxie...even if their stolen moments of pleasure cost him his life.
Roxane Forrestor was determined to live ife on her own terms...even in a man's world. The beautiful Countess of Kilmarnock had so far survived the political and romantic intrigues of Scotland's most powerful suitors. So why couldn't she resist the brash Robbie Carre? Why did she find it impossible to throw the rebel eatl out of her bedchamber even though it meant harboring a wanted man? Robbie cared nothing for his own safety. But he knew all too well that his ruthless enemies , desperate to capture him, would use Roxie and her children as pawns. He would brave the odds to protect them, would fight for his fugitive love with Roxie....even if their stolen moments of pleasure could cost him his life.
The prequel to this, Outlaw, was so wonderful, I had high hopes for this one but I was overall disappointed. Robbie just doesn't inspire the same kind of awe and invincibility as Johnnie Carre. Oh, he swaggers, takes ridiculous risks and all, but he'd be nothing without the Carre clan behind him. And frankly, he was way too immature for Roxanne.
He was so irresponsible that I felt like she was his mother rather than his lover. I guess this is all to say that the age difference was a major problem for me.
One thing I really like about Susan Johnson is the amount of research she does for her books; that is shown by the extensive notes she adds at the back of the book (footnotes are marked in the text and the information is shown at the end of the book). The notes add so much to the understanding of the history contained in the novel.
It is critical that the reader has already read OUTLAW (see below) before starting this book. Robbie and Roxie's story starts at the end of the first book. Otherwise, the reader will be bewildered as to why Robbie is in Roxie's room as the story opens. By their conversation, it is obvious that they are lovers.
The main bone of contention between the couple = the age gap between the lovers. Robbie is a youthful 18 and Roxie is 28, with 5 children. She is a two-time widow who likes her independence. Roxie's oldest daughter is only 5 years younger than Robbie.
This story is told against the backdrop of English domination over Scotland and the Scottish wrangling to get out from under English rule. What I liked about this story was the fact that there was action between the adversaries instead of constant bedroom scenes (as in OUTLAW).
1. Outlaw (1996)
** 2. To Please a Lady (1999)