The Lady Rogue
By Jenn Bennett
Published September 3, 2019 by Simon Pulse
The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.
Some legends never die…
Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.
Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.
Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.
Lady Rogue has all the charm of Jenn Bennett’s YA contemporaries mixed with an Indiana Jones-esque adventure plot and a little magic, set in 1937. It’s a really fun book. Our heroine Theodora Fox, daughter of famed archaelogist/treasure hunter Richard Fox, is stranded in Instanbul with no money. Then who should show up by Huck Gallagher, the boy who broke her heart a year earlier. She hasn’t heard from him since his abrupt departure the year before, but now he claims he’s here to take her to meet her father in Romania. Theo is skeptical, but when two men in black robes try to break into her hotel room, and she and Huck flee, barely making it on to the Orient Express.
It turns out that Theo’s father has been searching for a ring that may have belonged to Vlad the Impaler (or Vlad Dracula), the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Theo and Huck end up on an adventurous journey across the wilds of Romania, searching for her father and being chased by some sinister characters.
This book is really entertaining. Theo is a great heroine. She’s smart and she chafes at the restrictions place on her by society and her father. The “I can’t stand you but I also kind of love you romance” is well done, and Theo and Huck have great chemistry. The plot is fast moving, and it integrates history, adventure, and a little bit of magic. It’s also a fun travelogue of Romania (one of my bucket list vacation spots). It’s a perfect book for anyone who ever wanted to be Indiana Jones.
I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.