The Rebel - By C.J. Archer
When Cole regains consciousness he is calling himself Nicholas Coleclough, believes himself to be eighteen and has no recollection of where he was going, why he was in the area and the past ten years of his life. Nicholas Coleclough/Nick is remarkably different from the dark Cole Lucy initially encountered. Nick is sweet, outgoing and kind but difficult memories are preventing Nick from getting his memories back. Nick starts having nightmares and flashbacks, trying to piece together the story of Cole. Lucy is a bloodhound about discovering Nick's past. She quickly becomes enamored with the new Cole/Nick. But Nick/Cole are tormented by their past and haven't been able to grow up properly. He's had stunted emotional development which has caused him to push people away. Once effectively isolating himself, he continues to mutter that no one cares and if they do then he doesn't deserve it, his self loathing has just continued festered.Digging up the past is not what either of them expected and they must weather many storms to their happy ending.
This book did not garner much excitement from me.
It was very run of the mill feudal period romance. I think I was hoping for something a little darker considering the description of Cole and the fact that it is part of a series called "Assassin's Guild." Due to Cole's memory loss we spend no time in Assassin world but majority of the book frittering about the manor with Lucy. Lucy is quiet a smart, independent young woman but by god she is annoying. She questions and questions with a manner similar to that of a queen demanding answers of subordinates. She wouldn't know polite if it slapped her in the face. Despite her intolerable nosy antics I have a lot of respect for her dedication and loyalty to Nick. She sticks by him when I would've shown him the door with a lecture on idiots who want to decide what's best for women without asking.
My only issues were that the story didn't have much spark, I think I was the most entertained near the end of the book. I wanted a little more action with my romance. I also wasn't convinced that Lucy loved Nick/Cole as a whole person because he had become two very different people. I felt that Archer simply made Cole more a Nick at the end when I really wanted the edgier dark Cole with the sweet parts of Nick. My final note is about the moment when Nick/Cole has a revelation that people around him do care and he is deserving of love. Due to his past and personality from the last ten years this is a big deal. But I found the way it was addressed abrupt and not as deserving of the huge change it was. Despite these issues, Lucy and Nick/Cole have good chemistry and the ending is an enjoyable riptide of events. Just don't expect the novel to be dark and full of edgy assassins.