Historical romances are riveting because while many are stunning and significant, they can be challenging to relate to when reading in the 21st century. Not every writer will give us the kind of awakening and entrance into the brilliant world of regency romanticization that Jane Austen did. But damn if some books don’t come incredibly close, reaching that level by finding ways into the most vulnerable corridors of your heart and latching on for dear life, engraving a space where they’ll remain forever. Forever Your Rogue by Erin Langston is one of those books. It’s the kind I need not only a digital copy of but an audio, a physical, and any special edition hardcover available.
It’s sweet, sizzling with breathtaking chemistry, and so superbly well-written that the book will stay with you long after you’ve closed it. Langston proved she was an exemplary writer through her debut novella (available for free through her newsletter), A Day Until Forever, then she outdid herself tremendously with her debut novel, Forever Your Rogue, creating something masterful and beguiling in every way.
It’s challenging to write about the novel without spoiling so much of what makes it brilliant, but the heart that’s brimming from every page and the spaces in between is something readers will undoubtedly feel at their core. There’s nothing more apparent throughout the text than the detail that Lanston has poured heart and soul into every word. The characters are deeply nuanced, and though the love story plays with familiar tropes, Langston strengthens the relationship with some of the most heartfelt banter you’ll ever read in a historical romance.
In many ways, Nathanial “Nate” Travers and Viscountess Cora Dane remind me of a reversed Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley, which might be why it’s so hard to break down the text’s perfection. Their love story is one that won’t just stay with you but one that’ll consume your every thought, forcing you to read and reread passages tirelessly. There’s something so effortlessly entwining between Nate and Cora, and it’s not the detail that they’ve known each other for years, it’s not the fact that this an engagement of convenience forcing them to do things for show—but it’s something more profound. It’s a tether that pushes them to be better versions of themselves. It’s a gorgeous means of writing that allows the characters front and center to tackle the parts of themselves necessary to achieve true, unmatched freedom while they find someone who sees them as they really are. There’s a vulnerability that’s so achingly palpable in the letters that a few, in particular, will make hearts squeeze.
There’s an idea within Forever Your Rogue by Erin Langston, a specific conversation, to be exact, that beautifully presents the novel’s theme and the idea of how love caters to growth in an ever-present manner. It’s about becoming. People don’t change overnight, and growth isn’t always a linear process, which Langston shows through the characters brilliantly. So much of this idea is often presented through forms of telling, and despite the detail that a conversation takes place, we see this process unfold right in front of us. It’s the same thing Austen does with Emma that makes the relationship so acutely memorable. The characters are deeply vulnerable, even when they aren’t, and that vulnerability dismantles toxic masculinity in a genuinely believable way. The characters are imperfect, but their efforts are understandable, worthy, and sincere. The scolding, reprimanding, and adoration are all so well-written that every passage makes the journeys emotionally compelling.
The novel is about romance, redemption (in a not-so-overt form), and the beauty of finding a home where trust is a solid foundation. In this sense, Aldworth Park, like Pemberley or Aubrey Hall for Bridgerton fans, feels like home—it’s the kind of fictional setting that envelopes you and takes ahold of your most comforting dreams, making them a reality while ensuring that everything that happens at the location feels much more immersive.
And here, Langston does the impossible by making me, a perpetual autumn girly, long for the summer—perpetual July, in a way I thought I’d never care for, in a way that’s magical and enamoring and so very comforting. But with conversations of heat, I can’t end this without talking about the spice and how dazzlingly this woman writes intimacy in a way that’s so overwhelmingly glorious to read. (Insert fire heart emoji. Let’s deem it as hers.)
Overall, in truth, words fail me. And that’s the thing—there’s enduring beauty in Forever Your Rogue that feels timeless. In a few years, someone will discover this novel for the first time and be struck to their core by the healing floodgates of emotions that open up. They’ll be awestruck with a story for which there are no words because this much heart in something is a rare and genuinely indescribable thing. Cora Dane is the kind of heroine who sticks with you through dark moments, reminding you that unveiling true freedom requires work and stubbornness. Nate Travers is evergrowing hope. There’s so much yet to be said, and I will—when you’ve all had a chance to read it, I can’t wait to scream about it alongside you.
Forever Your Rogue by Erin Langston will be available on February 28. In the meantime, if you haven’t already, check out her free novella, an autumn staple for me, A Day Until Forever.