Seductive and mysterious, Merlyn was the laird of Ravensmuir - never had a man so stirred my body and soul. I gave myself to him - willingly, trustingly, passionately - and we soon wed. Then a horrible revelation emerged, shattering my innocence and my marriage...
Five years later, Merlyn returned to my doorstep, desperate for my help. The scoundrel swore he was haunted by memories of me, that a treasure locked in Ravensmuir could clear his name. Yet I could not surrender to his will again. Now he is said to be murdered and Ravensmuir has fallen into my hands.
But even as I cross the threshold of this cursed keep, I hear his whisper in the darkness, feel his caress in the night, and I know that Merlyn has told me but part of his tale. Should I do as is right and expose his lair? Or dare I trust my alluring but deceptive spouse - the rogue who destroyed my heart?
©2002, 2011 Claire Delacroix, Inc. (P)2014 Deborah A. Cooke
"Passion and intrigue test the boundaries of love and honor - The Rogue is medieval storytelling at its best!" (Terri Garey, RITA Award winning author of Dead Girls Are Easy)
"An engaging tale of lost love found." (Booklist)
"A beguiling medieval romance from Delacroix... readers will devour this rich and compulsively readable tale." (Publishers Weekly)
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"Love, mystery and intrigue mingle in medieval Scotland."
The Rogue by Claire Delacroix is the first book in the Rogues of Ravensmuir trilogy. Originally published in 2002, it received a glorious upgrade in the form of an audio edition narrated by Ashley Klanac. It features a mysterious hero, an opinionated heroine and a mystery subplot - all set in medieval Scotland. What's not to love?
The story centers around Merlyn of Ravensmuir Castle and his feisty wife Ysabella. After just a few weeks of marriage, she discovers his family is involved in a not so legitimate business and she leaves him, returning to her maternal home in Kinfairlie village. Flash forward five years and Merlyn needs Ysabella's help because someone is trying to kill him. Ysabella agrees to help him only after he tells her the whole truth of what he's been hiding all these years.
This story is Gothic in tone, told in the first person from Ysabella's viewpoint. If I have any complaint about this book is that it took more than half the book before we find out what was so terrible that made Ysabella leave Merlyn. But, I really enjoyed the mystery and intrigue of the story as the two lovers uncover the secrets of Ravensmuir. With both of them keeping secrets from each other until the very end of the story, they are a perfect match for each other!
"An intriguing blend of love, betrayal, & mystery!"
Yes! The book was very well done and enjoyable. Both the narration and the story were excellent. The plot twists kept the story exciting and kept the reader guessing as to who to trust and who was behind the attempted murder.
Merlyn. He is a devilishly handsome rogue who is not at all what he seems. I loved the depth of his character and the way the author skillfully showed more and more of him to the reader as the story went on. He's a strong hero who is very easy to be both fascinated with and to admire.
I have not, but I enjoyed this one and would be glad to listen to more.
I was moved by Merlyn's true relationship with his father and his love for Ysabella. Merlyn's side of the story is fascinating!
Here is my summary of the story (no spoilers)
Ysabella cannot abide lies. Of all things, she values honesty above all else. When the devilishly handsome man who sweeps her off her feet and marries her turns out to not be who she thinks he his, she'll be forced to make the toughest decision of her young life. In order to maintain her integrity, she'll have to run from a life of fortune, grandeur, and passion with the man she is beginning to love.
Life on her own with her young siblings to care for is challenging. Without being either single or divorced she cannot seek the protection of another man and she cannot get a license to begin business on her own. The ale brewing work is hard labor, but she is determined to do what it takes to provide for her small family. Five long years have gone by when she hears a horse with silver bells approaching in a prance. She would recognize that sound anywhere and both hopes and fears that it brings the rider she most longs to see and simultaneously wishes never to encounter again - her estranged husband Merlyn.
Merlyn's visit to Ysabella is a strange turn of events. Is he angry with her? What does he want? He couldn't have possibly discovered her most closely held secrets, could he? As strange as the initial visit is, what follows after will turn Ysabella's world upside down. After all the pain and lies between them, is there any hope for a future together? With a villain on the loose will Ysabella loose what is most dear to her heart?
With lives on the line and uncertainty on who to trust, this book has a fascinating plot that will keep readers enthralled. The Rogue contains a perfect blend of romance, love, betrayal, and mystery. The story is incredibly detailed with great depth of character and history. It's beautifully written.
"Better read the book, not listen to it"
I started reading the book found it interesting so thought, ok I'll get the AUDIO...
Tried twice to listen to it, half way through I was about to just give up on the whole deal but knew that I had like what I had read so went back and finish reading the e-book and DID like the story...A lot!
The narrator makes it sound much to much dramatic/theatrical, don't know why she does.
One thing for sure she won't be on my favorite narrator lists.
Reading and listening turned out 2 different stories in my own opinion.
"A great story"
Merlyn definitely burrowed himself in my heart. He is mysterious, smart, a bit of a rogue, but with a heart of gold. Ysabella is a perfect match for him, outspoken and feisty. Loved their story which begins with mystery and deceit from all corners, slowly unravels and the truth comes to light with a bang. Quite a few twists in the story that kept me glued to it.
Ms. Klanac's voice is enjoyable especially where there is dialogue, action or a build up to a twist, but where Ysabella recounts her story I found it too much like a lament, to much melancholy and affectation in the voice. I almost gave up after the 3rd chapter, I kept listening because the story is really good and I am so glad I did.
"This is an all nighter"
This is my first time reading this author and I have to say I am impressed! This was a really great story exciting to the last chapter and the narrator just topped it off! Will DEF be reading more from this author.
"A Spellbindingly Told Gothic Romance"
Of course, and probably this time follow it along with the book.
When Ysabella finds herself lost in the tunnel, enclosed in darkness. The fear is palpable from the narrators voice. Most excellently done.
I was entirely enraptured with Claire Delacroix’s spellbinding gothic medieval romance between Merlyn and Ysabella. Ashley Klanac’s voice with its fiery portrayal of Ysabella sharpened the enjoyment of an already remarkable sensual story, taking me beyond myself and thrusting me into the castle of Ravensmuir with its secrets and dark, damp passages hidden within its walls and floor.
This is one of those stories which I shall happily read or listen to again. The descriptive detailed scenes, the conspiracy within, and eloquently phrased dialogue with wonderful dialect and thought put me in awe of the author and this production. She has entranced me.
Ashley Klanac’s flexibility in the numerous voices needed in dialog held me rapt in the telling. Merlyn’s voice simply oozed with sensual desire. I was never confused who was speaking for the personality of the character flowed through the voice timbre and dialect.
The story itself was an interesting one. Ysabella had come upon hard times, in fact, the five years previous and been years of extreme poverty, but by her own choice. Once she had learned who her new husband was–not but a scoundrel and liar– she left him and the splendor she had married into, returning to Kinfarlie and to her mother and sister.
Her mother had been different from the rest of the folk living in Kinfairlie. She was well-spoken and had always insisted her daughters speak correctly. Many people had thought Ysabella’s mother a witch. She had lost her mother from illness. She would not lose others she loved. She would continue working making ale that only eked out a bare existence, but enough to at least feed them.
After these five long years, her husband, Merlyn comes to the village seeking Ysabella’s aid. Not her forgiveness. The narrator shows with her pithy dialog the hatred she had of Merlyn at the same time how her body responded to his very voice. Ysabella’s remarks were extremely sarcastic while Merlyn tries to defuse her wrath. He wanted her to return to the castle and bring her siblings. Could she be so cruel as to deny additional food and clothes to them? And yet she did. The following day, she gets word she is a widow. Merlyn has been killed. Additional, he has left his castle to her. She readily takes what providence has offered. She moves to the castle.
So many secrets had lain between Merlyn and Ysabella. Within the story telling, we learn of these secrets and the lies and half-lies untold which slowly become known.
This story was fast-paced, with inner layers of intrigue and mystery which keeps the reader from knowing the villain and when all appear to be telling the truth, are they yet telling lies? This was a read/audiobook that I’m glad I could listen to and delightedly recommend it. It had the happily-ever-after ending with justice, so satisfying to my revengeful soul! I’m eager to see what book 2 of the series holds, titled The Scoundrel
No, because I haven't read the print version, although I really enjoyed the audio!
I never compare books!
She just add another dimension!
No, I prefer to savor each chapter!
I recommend this audio!
"A great listen"
I LOVE this story. There were places where the storyteller seemed to ramble, but I have read this book previously and don't recall the story itself being that way. Overall, this was a very enjoyable listen and the story of Isabella and Merlyn quite a beautiful one. A must listen for all!
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