I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction or period pieces. However, an easy way to get me to pick one up is to add some sort of supernatural element (in this case, vampires). Recently re-released with a new title and cover, Lucifer’s Rogue (f/k/a The Vampire Voss) by Colleen Gleason combines the formality of the Regency era with the innate messiness of the vampire lifestyle resulting in a charming, albeit typical, worldly man (or vampire) meets virginal girl love story.
Even after centuries of lust, hedonism, and women, Voss rarely finds himself bored. As a member of the Dracule, he is a rogue of the first order, a man who loves nothing more than a warm woman, excellent vintage, and even a puzzling challenge to keep his mind active.
But when one of his seemingly harmless manipulations sets him on the path to seduce the beautiful Angelica Woodmore, things become a little less simple…a lot more passionate…and definitely more complicated.
And when the most evil vampire of the Dracule puts Angelica in his sights, Voss will have to risk everything to save her…and possibly his own soul.
First things first, I read the blurb after reading the story. While much of the push and pull between the Dracule and Lucifer is revealed throughout, there is no explicit acknowledgement that love is the cure. In fact, that is not what I concluded, which was a much broader “live a good life, act selflessly” type of message with true love being the impetus for change. Also, it’s important to remember that with the story set in Regency times, agency for the heroine is limited by severe social constructs. I had to remind myself that Angelica was, in fact, more forward than would be circumspect during that time.
A carefully constructed plot slowly builds the action, so be prepared to invest time in these characters. The last quarter of the book moved much quicker and held the bulk of the action. Once we get into the kidnappings and rescues and sexy times, it’s very easy to lose track of time and lament the moment that the story ends. To get there, you have to take the time to get through the beginning of the book, which focuses more on the social standing and constructs that our characters must navigate while also waging a battle against the evil and nefarious vampire faction.
Angelica is young, spirited, and intelligent, getting away with quite a bit of forward behavior in spite of time-period limitations. I love strong heroines. This may be the reason that period pieces don’t always resonate with me. In this case, I felt like Angelica does the best she can with the tools at her disposal. Voss is her (almost literal) antithesis: worldly, debauched, and (148 years) old. Redemption is always great, but I never saw Voss as incredibly terrible. He is, of course, a “bad boy” of the time, but there isn’t an indication that he is some sort of evil, conniving person…er, vampire. He is manipulative, many times in jest, but not obviously malicious.
Angelica and Voss are well-suited to one another. When they finally do recognize that suitability, and the attraction between them, Lucifer’s Rogue is nearly over. More time with the two of them together would have been appreciated. In the end, I spent an afternoon reading a delightful, Regency era story involving vampires, vampire hunters, and those that love them all. Enough seeds of curiosity have been planted to keep me reading through to the next story, especially knowing that it’s Maia and Dimitri’s. Also, this Moldavi guy needs to bite the dust.