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Rogues and Rebels #1

The Companion's Secret

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In this tempestuous new series, rebellious hearts prove hard to tame—but can England’s most dangerous rake be captured by a wild Irish rose?

They call him Lord Ash, for his desires burn hot and leave devastation in their wake. But Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, knows the fortune he’s made at the card table won’t be enough to save his family estate. For that he needs a bride with a sterling reputation to distract from his tarnished past, a woman who’ll be proof against the fires of his dark passion. Fate deals him the perfect lady. So why can’t Gabriel keep his eyes from wandering to her outspoken, infuriatingly independent Irish cousin?

Camellia Burke came to London as her aunt’s companion, and she’s brought a secret with her: she’s written a scandalous novel. Now, her publisher demands that she make her fictional villain more realistic. Who better than the notorious Lord Ash as a model? Duty-bound to prevent her cousin from making a disastrous match, Cami never meant to gamble her own heart away. But when she’s called home, Ash follows. And though they’re surrounded by the flames of Rebellion, the sparks between them may be the most dangerous of all…

230 pages, Kindle Edition

First published April 3, 2018

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About the author

Susanna Craig

20 books438 followers
Almost as soon as she could hold a pencil, Susanna Craig began writing stories. Today, she pens award-winning Regency-era romance novels that blend history and heart with a dash of heat. An English professor, wife, and mom, she’s currently finding her happily ever after in Kentucky while holding onto her Midwestern roots. Find her online at http://www.susannacraig.com.

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5 stars
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115 (29%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 76 reviews
723 reviews306 followers
July 14, 2018
(4.5 stars) I'm rounding up to 5 stars for this book. IMO, it's worth it for meeting my criteria for really good historical romance. (1) My HR reads have to be well written. I dislike grammar and spelling mistakes and over-the-top anachronistic language and behavior and I love intelligent writing that flows and pleases. (2) My HR reads also have to have complex, complicated, very real and well-developed characters. (3) The romance of the story has to develop organically and realistically, but still give me the warm fuzzies. (4) As icing on the cake, I like some history in my historical romance, although that seems to be asking a lot lately.

So this new release by Craig meets all four of those criteria. The author has three degrees in literature and is an English professor at (I believe) university level. And her writing reflects this. Dang. It's good. IMO, HRs should be written so that they can appeal to all age levels. Many lately are neglecting my mature age group, more or less implying that I shouldn't be reading romance anymore and should leave the genre to younger readers.

I appreciate all Craig's characters and their distinct personalities and the fact that, although this plot makes use of many oft-employed tropes, it never feels cookie-cutter. Yes, we have a rake with a tragic backstory. Yes, we have a poor heroine working as companion in her aunt's household. Yes, we have that rake needing to marry and produce heirs with a respectable girl of the peerage to keep his title and estates out of the hands of his wastrel cousin. And we also have that trope of wooing the appropriate woman while falling in love with the "wrong" one.

But Craig takes all these done-before tropes and gives them a makeover. Our rake is truly one that I felt sympathy for from the get-go, as opposed to many other storybook rakes who annoy the heck out of me. And the author lets us know that this rake, Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, is worth caring about. After all, how could his best friend since their schooldays, a younger son who is intended for the church and is a truly good and lovely man, care so much about Ash otherwise? His friend Fox knows there is room for improvement in Ash's behavior but that he is basically a good man. And we readers get to learn about this good in Ash as the story progresses.

Now to our heroine. She's no downtrodden sad-sack, no impecunious orphan. She lived a happy life in Ireland with her parents and numerous siblings, but she has a secret. It's the reason she's in London as companion to her aunt. Camellia has written a novel, THE WILD IRISH ROSE, and she wants to get it published. She does find a publisher who sees the book's promise but he asks her to rewrite the character of the fictional rake, who is, to the publisher's eyes, too over-the-top. And what an opportunity for Camellia to observe a real life specimen of the rake species as Ash woos her cousin Felicity, the woman he has chosen as his future wife.

This would be enough for many HR authors to be able to fill up sufficient pages for a book. But Craig makes it more complex. And she adds some history so the book deserves the H of the genre HR. That novel written by Camellia may on the surface be a melodrama of an Irish lass seduced by a dissolute English rake, but there's more to it. After all, this is at the time of the 1798 Irish Rebellion against English control and Camellia has written this book to try to make the English more sympathetic to the Irish cause. As a matter of interest, Craig lets us know in the Author's Notes at the end that this is an homage to an actual Irish woman whose THE WILD IRISH GIRL; A NATIONAL TALE was published in 1806.

After months of finding no recently-released HRs that were worth the read, I'm grateful to Craig for supplying this one. It's intelligently written, the characters are beautifully realized, and it's romantic. Although it has a few sexual encounters between H and h, this isn't the usual excessive gratuitous sex held together by a few pages of plot. And, although much of the plot and many of the character types have been encountered before in many other books, Craig made it all feel fresh to me.

And there are dogs. Several dogs. And an actual reason why they are in the story. Not just there to be cute, the way other authors will drop children and animals into a story so we'll all go ""Aww, isn't that sweet?" There's clever writing here. A great love story. (Actually there are two love stories here. A secondary that is very satisfying.) I've got Book #2 in this Rogues and Rebels series pre-ordered.
Profile Image for Jultri.
1,078 reviews6 followers
November 27, 2018
Susanna Craig's writing appeals to me, but unfortunately the plot meandered a bit and I just got bored. I never understood why the hero turned rakish and felt that he should live up to his evil reputation and why he had a large chip on his shoulder against society. He was brought up by a loving uncle after his father passed away. He knew, he had saved his father's reputation by taking the blame for his death, so why should he spend his life punishing himself and feeding society's ill impression of him?
Profile Image for Caitlyn Lynch.
Author 43 books1,825 followers
April 5, 2018
Miss Camellia Burke is a poor cousin sent to live with her wealthy aunt and cousin as an (unpaid) companion. That’s about the only thing she has in common with Fanny Price, though, so don’t go thinking this is anything like Mansfield Park.

Daughter of an Irish solicitor, disgraced by a long-ago mistake and possessed of a sharp tongue and decided opinions, Cami is a fabulous heroine. Secretly working on a novel expressly designed to get the English to understand the perspective of the Irish (in the time immediately preceding the 1798 Irish Rebellion), she’s thoroughly irritated at first by having to waste her time playing chaperone to her cousin Felicity and Lord Ash, the disreputable marquis courting her. When she realises Ash makes a perfect model for the villain of her novel, however, she sets aside her resentment to make a study of him.

Of course, nothing is as black and white as Cami thinks. The scene where she discovers the truth about Ash’s father’s death was so heart-wrenching I found myself yelling at the book, telling Cami she absolutely had to marry him. Everything that came after only reinforced my conviction that Ash was absolutely the perfect hero for her, though he’d already won me over by NOT reading her manuscript when it literally fell at his feet.

At the end of the day, I thought this should have been called “Lord Ash’s Secret” or “The Marquis’s Secret” because the one he was carrying, the one he’d never told another living soul, was way, way bigger than Cami’s. That minor quibble aside, I loved, loved, loved this superbly written, thoroughly researched and richly detailed historical romance.

This is the second book I’ve read by this author (To Seduce A Stranger was the first) and I can now confidently say I think she’s one of the best historical romance authors writing today. If you love historicals and you haven’t read Susanna Craig yet, put her on your TBR list now. Bump her right up to the top. You absolutely won’t regret it.

The Companion’s Secret is one of those books where I wish I could give it more than five stars. It’ll stay with me for a long time. Absolute perfection.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.
Profile Image for HR-ML.
1,091 reviews39 followers
April 27, 2019
London 1798. I read this after reading OLT's review.

Gabriel (a marquess) cultivated a persona of heartlessness.
Nasty rumors spread RE the circumstances of the death of
Gabe's sire. His good-hearted best friend Fox studied for the
church. Camellia (1/2 Irish heritage) served as companion
to her aunt Lady Merrick, a countess. Gabe wanted revenge
on Lord Merrick so he courted his sweet, beautiful, dull dtr
Felicia. Gabe & Felicia knew they did not suit. Felicia later
felt an attraction for someone else.

Gabriel showed real growth by letting go of his need for
revenge & allowing his vulnerability to the h. Camellia
wrote an as yet unpublished novel w/ Irish independence
and romance as themes.

Cami was called away b/c her bros became involved in the
Irish Rebellion of 1798. Gabe thought he would render
assistance to Cami (IE transport) & then just part ways.
Cami fascinated Gabe and this grew into love.

This story had a nice flow and pace. I'd gladly read this
author again.
Profile Image for Sissy's Romance Book Review .
7,863 reviews16 followers
April 3, 2018
The Companion's Secret by Susanna Craig is book One in the Rogues and Rebels series. This is the story of Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough and Camellia Burke.
This was such a great romance. Gabriel has a bad reputation and in moving forward thinks to marry after he hears of his cousins plans. Gabriel has found the perfect women to help him with the his money issue and his reputation. But Gabriel can't seem to keep from looking toward Cami the cousin of his perfect possible wife. Cami is working as a companion her Aunt but also writing a book that she thinks to use Gabriel as inspiration to one of the main characters. But Cami is called back home and Gabriel goes to follow her.
Exciting read that was hard to put down.
Profile Image for Marissa.
130 reviews18 followers
March 23, 2018
Thank you to NetGalley and Lyrical Press for providing this book in exchange for an honest review.

Susanna Craig was an unfamiliar name to me when I started this book but now she's an author I'm excited to keep reading. I loved this book because its elements are a welcome departure from your run-of-the-mill historical romance. A bespectacled author heroine involved in the Irish rebellion? Yes please! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
110 reviews12 followers
March 1, 2018
4.5 stars
I won this book in a good reads giveaway for a fair and honest review.

Cami the lowly spinster cousin who lives in Ireland and comes to England to live with her Noble Uncle and aunt the Earl and Countess.

Ash the Marquess who has a past he can’t out run so he plays into it. All the haunting ghost but now he must marry to save his title from his uncle an cousin. He plans to marry Cami’s cousin Felicity only he can’t keep his eyes or mind away from Cami.

Cami just want independence and not to be beholden to a man she has her reasons but can Ash convince her that it will be okay that he isn’t as burnt as people believe. Can he even out run the cruelty of people who want to take everything from him.

The first half of the book was a solid four but after the half way mark it really picked up and there is one part that had me gasping it will change everything you think about Ash. An earlier part does the same for Cami’s character to a lesser extent and you’ll even see great character growth in the secondary characters. I would recommend this book and I would pick up the next in the series.
Profile Image for Suze.
1,878 reviews1,310 followers
July 1, 2018
Gabriel is a lord with a terrible reputation. He's the Marquess of Ashborough and many people fear him. He's rich, handsome and much disliked. Someone is after what he has and he needs to take action before he'll lose it all. What he requires to save his name and his estate is a devout wife. Lady Felicity seems to be the ideal candidate. She's lovely and well mannered, she has a flawless reputation and her father needs money, so getting a lucrative offer from Gabriel would be well received. However, Felicity has a cousin Gabriel can't get out of his mind. Camellia is everything he's ever wanted in a woman, but she can't be his future.

Camellia is in London because her demanding aunt needs a companion, but she has an ulterior motive. She wants to sell her novel. Writing is her passion and she's found a publisher who's interested in her story. However, she should make her male main character more realistic. Lord Ash would be the ideal example, he's a rake and Camellia feels she should protect Felicity from such a man. When she gets to know Gabriel though, she finds out he isn't the man people are making him out to be at all. Camellia comes from a family with many secrets and going home would put her at risk. Gabriel isn't willing to let anything compromise her safety, but what about his own future? Will these two troubled people find a way out of their difficult situations?

The Companion's Secret is a terrific fascinating story. It's clear from the beginning that Camellia and Gabriel have a beautiful connection. When they are together sparks fly, their dialogue is witty and intelligent and they seem to perfectly understand each other. I loved how well suited they are. Unfortunately Gabriel is looking for a certain kind of wife and Felicity is exactly the woman he should marry, but there isn't any chemistry between them. I was curious to find out if they'd be able to get themselves out of the unfortunate situation they're in and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to absorb every possible detail. Susanna Craig has written a captivating story with fabulous intriguing main characters. I was glued to the pages of The Companion's Secret from beginning to end.

Susanna Craig has a fantastic compelling writing style. I loved the complex love story she's managed to come up with. I admired the idea behind it and loved the execution, the complex relationships between the main characters are working incredibly well. There's plenty of tension, there's some great suspense and there are many unexpected twists and turns. I love it when a story comes together in such a splendid manner. The Companion's Secret is wonderfully romantic and there are many interesting layers that totally enchanted me. I highly recommend this gorgeous charming book.
Profile Image for Frankie.
834 reviews61 followers
April 14, 2018
This is book one in the new “Rogues and Rebels” series from Susanna Craig, and my goodness me, it’s going to be a scorcher of a series going by this first installment. It is an exciting, fast paced story an highly enjoyable a thrilling romp through a dangerous time.

Camellia Burke has left her Irish home and gone to live with her aunt in London to take on the role as companion, unbeknown to everyone she isn’t just a spare relative who is taken in to become what is little more than a servant; she is a budding writer. When she gets a reply from a London publisher – which is the main reason she took up her aunt’s offer to be her companion, to be nearer to publishers – who is interested in her book, but he isn’t happy about her villain. Her publisher claims that her character isn’t real enough, so she re-works her villain altogether and takes inspiration from the most notorious man in London; Lord Ash!

Gabriel; Marquis of Ashborough (or Ash) is a notorious scoundrel, a rake is on the hunt for the one thing that he never in his life thought he would need; a wife! But not just any wife, he needs a woman of standing, he needs a sterling reputation that will counteract his own blackened one. He knows that because of his tarnished reputation he will never win a wife the old-fashioned way because no one will want to associate themselves with him; a notorious scoundrel. So, with a little blackmail he sets out to marry a woman who is perfect for his requirement’s.

like how Craig worked their story, I completely changed my thoughts on them as a couple as the story went along. From thinking that surely these two aren’t compatible to these two are perfect! That takes real skill as a writer to be able to create such dynamic and lovable character’s that draw your attention.

This is very highly recommended and a new series to watch for all historical romance fans.
Profile Image for Cathy Geha.
3,651 reviews67 followers
April 1, 2018
The Companion’s Secret by Susanna Craig
Rogues & Rebels #1

Oh my…my…oh my…what a story this one was! Complex characters, historical references, expectations to be met, secrets to unravel and romances to observe as families dealt with issues that impacted their lives in more than one way…that there were happy endings for Camellia and her cousin Felicity was the icing on the cake.

Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough - or Ash for short - has a reputation that has put him outside society’s boundaries. Whether or not he deserves all that is said about him is revealed as the book unfolds. He is definitely more…and less…than what his reputation says he is. He does have one very good friend in Christopher Fox and that is worth noting early on. So, when Ash determines it is time to marry he knows just who will be his bride and how all will unfold…well…until he meets Felicity’s cousin, Camellia. Funny how what we believe will happen is not exactly what does, isn’t it?

I really enjoyed this book. What could have been a typical historical novel much like any other became so much more by the wielding of words that made its impact resound and kept me thinking after I finished the book. I started to write more and embellish BUT this book doesn’t need my words…or not more of them. I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and believe you will too. I am eager to read the next book in the series and wonder if it will be about Camellia’s sister Erica or if it will be about someone else entirely. Another person I would like to hear more about is Remy – Ash’s man of everything.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing – Lyrical Press for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars
Profile Image for Ash.
543 reviews22 followers
August 14, 2018
3.25 stars
Grade: rounded up to a B-
38 reviews1 follower
March 4, 2018
The Companion's Secret deftly spins the tale of Camellia Burke and Gabriel Finch, the Marquess of Ashborough, better known as Lord Ash. Part of a large Irish family, Cami comes to London to advance her career as a writer. When her editor demands a more dastardly villian, Cami convinces herself she can take care of her cousin and better flesh out her novel's nemesis at the same time. She does not count on falling in love with the damaged Lord Ash. While their love story anchors the novel, Craig delightfully populates the story with interesting and contrary secondary characters. Cousin Felicity shows spunk, and best friend Fox loyalty and good sense. Perhaps best of all, and most movingly, the ways Cami helps Ash heal and Ash recognizes Cami's gifts provide a satisfying, heartfelt, inspiring example for us all. Highly recommend!
830 reviews6 followers
February 17, 2018
I received this book from net galley for an honest review. Thank you!!

This novel was a nice read. It brings together a stubborn and independent woman and a man who is considered a rake, gambler, and to some a murder. Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough, wants to save his estate. He collects a debt at a card game and blackmails an introduction, where he will eventually propose marriage to the young lady. He is not accepted by polite society after many rumors have been spread by his uncle, who has been trying to get Gabriel's holdings. What Gabriel does not expect is Camellia Burke, the young lady's Irish cousin. Camellia is a writer and plans on having her novel published, after she makes some modifications according to the publisher. She wants the English to understand what is happening to the Irish people. She knows Gabriel is trouble, but cannot help being attracted to him. Gabriel is much more than he appears to be, choosing to show the side that society expects of him. As Gabriel and Camellia grow closer, he knows he cannot marry her cousin. When Camellia needs to return home, Gabriel goes with her, despite what it could cost him. Camellia and Gabriel open themselves up to each other, which causes Camellia to rethink some of the plots in her novel. Camellia knows Gabriel cannot stay with her and sends him away to protect him. Will they both get the happy ending they both deserve?
717 reviews11 followers
February 25, 2018
I won, I won

Ok it's not the first book I've won from goodreads but it's always a kick. However I will admit that if I don't like the book I win (under 3 stars) I don't leave a review. Seems rude to criticize a gift. Even though you're supposed to.

However no problem with this book. For me it was 5 stars. Liked the hero. The heroine. The family . The servant. The best friend. The dogs. Most of all liked the story. No problem giving it 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next one.
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,111 reviews25 followers
March 21, 2018
On the whole, I enjoyed this story. I enjoyed the way the author was able to weave together true historical events (the uprising in Ireland) with a completely fictional tale - and manage to weave another fictional tale (the book Cami was working on) into it as well.

Where I feel this book missed the mark a bit is the areas in which things felt rushed. I would have loved to have seen more of Cami's family - it seemed as though they were introduced, and then they were gone again before we really got to scratch the surface. I also wish there would be been more to their first visit to Gabriel's home. Also, an epilogue never goes wrong. I'm just saying :).

All things considered, I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys well crafted stories with a bit of the "real" in the fiction. I would read more from this author, and I am interested to see what happens in the next book!

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
Profile Image for Liana.
Author 11 books520 followers
July 9, 2018
The Companion's Secret, book one in Susanna Craig's Rogues and Rebels series, is one of my favorite reads of 2018 and the year is only halfway done! It features an Irish author heroine in need of inspiration for her villain, and a debauched marquess, Lord Ashborough (dubbed Lord Ash because everything he touches turns to ash) who's in search of a gently-bred, well-connected wife. When Gabriel set his sights on Cami's cousin, their forced proximity sets the pages on fire! It was a delight to read Cami and Gabriel's story, and I'm now excited to get my hands on book two, The Duke's Suspicion!
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,781 reviews45 followers
March 30, 2018
4 1/2 stars

Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough aka Lord Ash, has a reputation of destroying everything he touches, he is a gambler, an unrepentant rake and possibly a murderer. When he overhears his cousin using Gabriel's estate as collateral for a wager, he makes a decision. He will marry, have an heir and make sure his cousin never inherits. Problem is, he is not exactly welcomed in good society and finding a bride the traditional way might prove impossible. But not to worry, blackmail and extortion will do just as well. He asks his good friend Christopher Fox about potential brides and settles on Lady Felicity Trenton, daughter of the Earl of Merrick and sister to Lord Trenton, a man that owes Gabriel a fortune.

Camellia Burke is Lord Merrick's niece and has come from Ireland to act as a companion to Lady Merrick, Cami is an aspiring author and came to England in hopes of finding a publisher for her book. It is a volatile time in Ireland and she is hoping that her book will enlighten the English to the plight of the Irish. She has found a publisher and he loved her story, but feels like she needs to make her villain more believable, she is at a loss until she meets Lord Ash - he is a perfect model for her villain!

Gabriel is fascinated by Cami, but Lady Felicity is perfect for his needs, he needs a wife with an impeccable lineage to thwart his uncle and cousin and Cami doesn't fit the bill. But the more he is with her, the more he wants her. For her part, Cami uses her time to study him - for her book of course - She knows Felicity doesn't want to marry him, but the alternative is ruin for her family.

Cami is beginning to believe there is more to Gabriel than he lets anyone see and when she tells him Felicity doesn't want to marry him, he kisses her. Cami is conflicted, she wants him, but feels guilty. When Gabriel's uncle gives Felicity the cut - things escalate quickly.

Gabriel learns his Uncle is plotting to destroy him, this is not the first time, but this time might well be the last. He needs to marry Felicity, he has been avoiding asking for her hand, but his time is up. He tells Fox that he will marry Felicity - Fox objects, he cares for her and doesn't want her to be hurt. Gabriel says he will make sure she is taken care of, but that is not good enough for Fox and he leaves in anger. Fox is the only person that has ever stood by him and Gabriel wonders if he has finally turned that relationship to ash as well.

Lady Merrick is outraged by Gabriel's uncle and declares that if Lord Ash doesn't propose, Felicity will be ruined. Cami joins them for breakfast and tries to sooth her aunt, but when a letter from home arrives, all thoughts of Felicity and Gabriel flee. Trouble is brewing and she must return home.

When Gabriel arrives, Felicity urges him to go after her and Gabriel sets a new plan in motion. He finds Cami and tries to convince her to travel with him, she resists, but then he tells her he is not going to marry Felicity. Cami finally gives in to the attraction between them and the next morning when Gabriel finds her manuscript, she gives him more than just her body. She reads her book to him and in doing so, shares her soul with him.

Gabriel knows he should go back to London and clear his name, because he wants a future with Cami. Realizing how much she shared with him, he opens up to her, as he has never done with another person. This is a very touching and emotional scene - tissues may be needed by the reader - It appears that they have come to an understanding and he will return to London. But when the news of trouble in Ireland is learned, he can't let her go alone. But if he goes, he could lose everything - including his life.

This is such a great story, a wonderful blend of fact and fiction woven into a complicated and emotional tale, with a broken hero and an equally broken heroine - two imperfect people who are perfect for each other. This book has steamy-ish love scenes, a little heartache, sacrifices made, secrets shared and a very sweet ending. If this book had an epilogue it would have been a 5 star read - because IMO, it needed an epilogue, the ending just came a little too fast, tied up a little too neatly and ended a little too abruptly and left me wanting more. But that doesn't change the fact that I loved this book and would highly recommend it.

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*
Profile Image for Rose Blue.
644 reviews26 followers
April 12, 2018
4.5 Stars as reviewed at Roses Are Blue: https://wp.me/p3QRh4-L1

When Gabriel Finch, Marquess Ashborough, overhears his cousin and heir, bragging at a gaming hell about his anticipated future fortune, Ash knows it's time to make some changes in his life. He needs to marry and produce an heir, but his own reputation is so black that no society lady will welcome his suit. Ash manages to buy up all the gaming vowels of a young lord about to be ruined, and offers them to the young man's father in exchange for his approval for Ash to marry his daughter, Felicity. As Ash begins his courtship of Felicity, he finds himself greatly attracted to her cousin, Camellia, who is the companion to Felicity's mother.

Camellia Burke was raised in Ireland, but desired to come to England so that she'd be close to publishers. She's secretly writing a book, one loosely based on the life of her family, herself, and the matter of Ireland's fight for independence. Cami has received a positive response from one publisher, who is willing to publish her book if she's willing to make some changes to her villain, who needs to be fleshed out as opposed to the one dimensional character she portrayed. Though Cami is horrified that her cousin is being forced to marry such a notorious rake and gambler, she finds Ash is the perfect model for her fictitious villain.

As Felicity dutifully accepts Ash's courtship, Cami begins to see the real man beneath the wicked reputation. Likewise, Ash has noticed Cami's beauty beneath the spectacles and the ill fitting clothes, but he's attracted to her spirit and her fierceness, as well. Though his intended bride is kind, dutiful, and beautiful, his heart longs for Cami. But Ash has painted himself into a corner, as he needs a society lady for his wife, not an Irish solicitor's daughter, if he's to repair his black reputation. When Cami is urgently summoned back to Ireland by her family, Ash decides he must follow, even though he desperately needs to stay in town to fight the slander of an enemy determined to steal everything from him.

I love both Cami and Ash so much - they have many facets to their character, and aren't written as the stereotypical rake and bluestocking. Ash almost feels cursed, as everyone he's ever loved has died. He threw himself into improving his estate, and along the way became a successful gambler, a rake, and a man with many enemies, but only one true friend. Still, he secretly is a very generous and caring man who longs for someone to love him - the man, Gabriel. Cami suffered betrayal in love at a young age, and while she decided never to marry, she didn't become hard and cold. She loves her family, who demands too much of her, and shows Ash that she does see, and love, the man he truly is - Gabriel.

THE COMPANION'S SECRET is the first book I've read by Susanna Craig, and I am in love with her writing. This story flowed beautifully, and captivated me so much that I read it in one sitting. The love developing between Ash and Cami was so strong and emotional, that my heart was breaking for them when their situation seemed impossible.

He wrapped his arms around her, and she laid her cheek against his chest, as she had done
that day in the carriage. Her fingertips played in the knot of his cravat, stirring up the warm
scent of his cologne, and she nestled closer to draw it in, draw him in.
They fit together, two sharp edges locked tight and smooth, and she knew then that she would
fight his demons, bare-handed if she must, but they could not, would not have him. He was

In addition to the sizzling chemistry and strong romance between Ash and Cami, there were well rounded secondary characters who added much to the story, making THE COMPANION'S SECRET one fabulous read that I recommend most highly to lovers of a beautifully written historical romance.
Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,504 reviews116 followers
June 29, 2018
This book was an awesome discovery, the author immersed myself in her world full of secrets, plots and betrayals.
Lord Ash or Gabriel appears at first as the usual rogue, gambling, drinking and whoring until he has to change his ways to save his own estate from falling to his uncle and cousin’s hands. Then the more I get to know him, the more I loved him, he is so far from the dark dissolute he lets everyone thinks he is.
He is the one who has quite a secret, and more than one.
Camellia was also a mystery in herself, why is she so certain she can’t be ruined and what is really her book about. She is very kind and faithful to those she cares for.
In this, add Gabriel’s friend, Camilla’s cousin, their family and you have all the components for a great story.
Their journey is a rather long one, on a road with many bumps, each one will try to avoid at first, then they want to know for finally only thinking of protecting the other. A difficult path for them to discern the truth from the wrong.
I would have liked an epilogue but may be the next book in the series will give us a glimpse of them.
Profile Image for Janet.
3,719 reviews30 followers
April 2, 2018
Gabriel Finch, Marquis of Ashborough, is known as Lord Ash, for his desires burn hot and leave devastation in their wake. Overhearing a cousin trying to wager his principal estate makes Ash realise he needs to marry & have an heir to make sure his uncle Sebastian can’t inherit. He sets his eye on Lady Felicity. Camellia Burke came to London as her aunt’s companion, and she’s brought a secret with her: she’s written a scandalous novel. Now, her publisher demands that she make her fictional villain more realistic.
Gabriel & Cami are attracted from their first meeting but she’s a lowly companion & he’s a marquis. However they are constantly thrown together as he half-heartedly courts Felicity. They have many trials facing them, Ash’s reputation, the Irish rebellion & an uncle intent on ruining Ash. A well-written very enjoyable book that flowed really well. The characters are well fleshed, Ash is the gambling, womanising misunderstood rake & Cami the strong, intelligent spinster. I love the author’s books & this is up there with the best of them, I look forward to more in the series.

My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for iread.
711 reviews8 followers
October 24, 2018
The Companion’s Secret by Susanna Craig is book one in the Rogues & Rebels Novels. I enjoyed this book. It has a bit of a slow build, but once the ball begins to roll there is no stopping it. I literally read it in one day - staying up late into the night because I couldn’t put it down.
Gabriel Finch, Marquess of Ashborough is the perfect tortured hero. He is plagued by a tragic history and carries the blame for another’s death. The heroine Camellia Burke is a spinster and her aunt’s companion. Miss Burke has her own secrets to hide. What will happen when those secrets are revealed? Will they cause destruction or bring new life? Looking forward to more from Ms. Craig.
929 reviews
March 27, 2018
I have loved every book of Susanna Craig, and ‘The Companion’s Secret’ has now topped that list. Camellia Burke, is acting as her aunt’s companion whilst trying to publish a fictional novel, highlighting the plight of the Irish. When her publisher requests that she undertake a rewrite of her novel, she decides to find her inspiration in the Marquess of Ashborough, Gabriel Finch, who is courting her cousin, Felicity. Lord Ash, as he is commonly called, has forced the hand of Felicity’s father in trying to arrange a union between himself and Felicity, in an attempt to improve his standing in the ton. However, he finds himself fascinated by Camellia.
What may at first seem the standard story line, soon develops into a complex novel surrounding the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and a plot to see Gabriel tried for treason. The characters of Camellia and Gabriel will remain with you after you have finished reading. The tragedy faced by Gabriel at a young age has lead him to believe that he is the villain whilst Camellia, in her strength and honour, sees beyond this persona. As always, Ms Craig has included secondary characters that add greater depth to this engaging story. I so look forward to the second book in this series!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Mclaudia.
137 reviews7 followers
July 31, 2018
Beautifully done if a little formulaic in its brooding hero with a heart of gold premise. Nice chemistry between hero and heroine, and I enjoyed reading the bits of Ireland's history in there, since you don't see it that often. Should probably round it up to 5 stars, and looking forward to Erica's story.
Profile Image for Cat.
715 reviews
March 22, 2018
I received a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway and it has not affected my review.

I enjoyed this historical romance with complex characters. I don't think I've ever read an Irish historical before! This book features an Irish heroine living with English relatives and writing an allegory in hopes of bringing attention to the Irish people, their culture and their politics (the author's note has some cool historical notes, her heroine was actually based on a real-life figure). Her publisher says that her English villain is too caricatured, so she decides to model him off of one of the rogues she encounters, nicknamed "Lord Ash" because he is a romance hero and needs a dramatic name. (Kidding! Actually, there's some nice character development going into the Lord Ash persona vs the hero's actual actions.)

I would say this is more character- than plot-driven, which does make it seem a little slow-moving sometimes. The study of Camellia and Gabriel and how they develop over the course of the story is wonderful, however, and I loved getting to know them. Plus, the writing is lovely. And I am very, very intrigued by the snippet from the next book!

All in all, I enjoyed this story very much and I am grateful for the chance to read an advance copy.
Profile Image for Pj Ausdenmore.
621 reviews23 followers
March 16, 2018
I enjoy a good plot-driven romance in the books I read but what really pulls me in and holds me are the characters. Give me complex characters who engage my interest and my emotions and I'll keep coming back for more. That's a key reason why I've been a fan of Susanna Craig's stories since reading her debut, To Kiss a Thief, two years ago. In The Companion's Secret, Craig has crafted a hero and heroine in Gabriel and Camellia who captured my interest immediately and held it throughout their story. There's depth and honor in both of them even though circumstances throughout the years have caused Gabriel to bury his goodness deep inside and let society see what they expect from him. Gabriel's best friend, Christopher Fox and Camellia's cousin, Lady Felicity are well-rounded secondary characters who add an extra layer of complexity to the story. I especially enjoyed the ways in which Felicity moves the story forward, both for herself as well as Gabriel and Camellia. All of the main characters in this book - both good and bad - are brought to life on the pages, eliciting a strong emotional response.

Of course, it's not only about her realistic and relatable characters. Craig also has the ability to craft engaging, Georgian-era stories with well-researched historical - and geographical - accuracy that keep me reading late into the night. When I begin one of her books, I can count on characters that speak to my heart, a story that engages my emotions, and a history lesson that doesn't feel like one. It is any wonder that I eagerly anticipate each new book from this talented author?
April 6, 2018
I received this novel via Netgalley and enjoyed it. The story is a bit different from your run of the mill historical romance as next to the romance it gives us a little bit of history about the Irish uprising. Camilla is a strong heroine who is writing a novel and trying to gain her independence through publishing the novel. The hero Gabriel has never been loved and thinks he is not deserving love and wants to settle for an arranged marriage with Camilla's cousin Felicity. Garbiel's reputation within in the ton is that of a rake and Camilla is trying to do her upmost to discourage the marriage between Gabriel and Felicity. What follows is witty exchanges between Camilla and Gabriel and through these exchanges, they start to find a new respect for each other. Camilla has to travel back home to Ireland when an uprising breaks out and her brothers are in danger. Garbiel comes to her rescue and the romance grows. The end seemed a little rushed. I also always like to read an epilogue in my historical romances. However the next book seems to promise a little more of Camilla and Gabriel's story..
Profile Image for Alice.
87 reviews
March 10, 2018
This is the first book by Susanna Craig that I've read. I found the book to be very well written and enjoyable. The Companion's Secret was gifted to me through a Goodreads giveaway.

The companion had at least three secrets. She's writing a book no one knows about. She's fallen
in love with Lord Ashborough. Her Irish brothers are involved in the Irish uprising. Lord Ashborough is known as Lord Ash for leaving cinders behind in all that he does. He has a secret, too. And he believes everyone he loves will die because of him. Camellia and Gabriel learn of each other's secrets as they learn to accept love.

I look forward to reading more books by Susanna Craig including the second book of her Rogues and Rebels series.
Profile Image for Terre J.
429 reviews
March 6, 2018
What makes a book truly good? What about a book makes me awaken early and remember how much I want to finish the story I reluctantly didn’t finish the night before? Whatever it is, this story had it. A mysteriously woven rake, with a sad childhood and bad reputation? A bespectacled but intriguing spinster who writes novels? A passion that can’t be denied? These are present in many stories, but few grab my interest from the very first pages, and this one certainly did. There is a formula to romance stories, we all know it, and I’ll admit to needing the formula to work, through the early attraction, the denial of love, the realization of something beyond lust, impending danger of love lost, and finally, the ever so rewarding HEA. This book delivered everything, and delivered it well. Looking forward to the next book, this was a delightful read. Read it in just over a day, despite working a 12 hour shift in the same day. I received a free arc in exchange for an honest review.
15 reviews
March 1, 2018
I received this book for an honest review.

The companion's secret is about Camillia Burke, an Irish women who comes to live with her aunt. While there she starts to fall in love with Lord Ash who is destined to be her cousins husband. During their encounters they become infatuated with each other and fight against their growing attraction. I liked Camillia's character. She was content with who she was and was passionate about her writing for a book she tries to get published. I did feel like there were parts that were very rushed in the book: their short time at Lord Ash's home and the quick introductions with Camillia's family. There could definitely been more time spent detailing about her family, and their story, since so many characters were introduced, then randomly 6 weeks later her and her sister are moving away and you never hear about her family again. Overall an okay read, I definitely wanted more out of this book, I felt there were many parts that could either have been skipped, or expanded upon. It did not make my top favorite list, but if you're interested in a quick romance read the this may be for you.
24 reviews
March 19, 2018
This was a little slow to start, but it picked up pretty quickly. The ending fell short in my opinion. The books going great and then boom all done. It feels like there isn't much of a pretty bow on top closing for Gabriel and Camilla. Other than that its a great book!

This book was received through a Goodreads giveaway.
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