3.5/5 stars.As someone who enjoyed Leigh Moore's first book, [b:The Truth About Faking|15990074|The Truth About Faking|Leigh Talbert Moore|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346804960s/15990074.jpg|21745866] (review HERE), I was really happy to be able to be a part of the Blog Tour for Rouge. True, this book sounded very different from her first, but I have a love of historicals, and the promise of a book set in a cabaret theatre in 1890s New Orleans was too much to pass up. Plus I kept seeing all these comparisons to Moulin Rouge, which I absolutely adored. Anyway, all of this is to simply say that I definitely wanted to read Rouge, and basically dove in head-first.Mrs. Moore has a true gift for creating atmosphere. Some of my favorite parts of this book were her descriptions of Hale's life at the theatre; the musty, velvet curtains, the small rooms and tiny hallways, and the backstage descriptions of the show. Likewise, when Hale ventured outside of the theatre - particularly her nighttime stroll with Beau - her way of crafting Hale's surroundings made me feel as if I were right there with her. You could feel the humidity, smell the (not-so-great) smells, and experience the music and nighttime life of the city. As someone who likes her historicals to have an authentic flair, this was definitely right up my alley!There is also a fabulous cast of characters in this book. You not only have our main character, Hale, but a whole host of supporting characters who live with her in her cabaret home and surround her day after day. My favorite of this bunch was definitely Roland, who I felt was one of the strongest aspects of the book. I loved his friendship with Hale, and really felt the connection between the two of them. You could tell just how much he cared for her, and she for him, and I loved their interactions and conversations. I also enjoyed watching Hale's love for Teeny, and her willingness to do whatever was required to keep her safe and cared for. This connection to Teeny drives much of this book, and becomes the reasoning behind Hale's decision-making, and I really felt like it was explored wonderfully and done in a way that really pulled the reader in.My one complaint about this book is that I felt like there was a bit of insta-love going on between Hale and Beau. Hale has her entire life planned out, right down to how she's going to get Freddie to propose and take her and Teeny away with him, and I just felt like her connection to Beau occurred too fast. I understand the concept of love at first sight, but I just felt like Hale went from "he's attractive and I want him" to "I love him" a bit too quickly. It just seemed like she was attracted to his good looks rather than anything of substance, which was just totally at odds with how she'd lived and planned her life up to that point.That being said, once Hale and Beau started spending more time with each other, I couldn't help but pull for their love to survive and overcome. Of course, nothing is that simple, and happily-ever-afters typically take a bit of work, and this wouldn't have been half the story if everything had come together clean and easy. The second half of the book was probably the strongest, because Hale was having to deal with things she never thought she'd have to do, and what she'd been working toward was completely turned on its head. She definitely became a stronger character, and I couldn't help but love her all the more for it.Rouge is an extremely atmospheric read, full of love, danger and intrigue that keeps the reader fully invested in its pages. It's amazing cast of characters will make you fall in love with them, and want them all to have their own happy endings, whatever they may be. Hale is a strong, independent woman trying to do her best for those she loves, and not always succeeding. Be forewarned, though, that the ending is rather ouchy, although expected considering this is the first in a series. One thing's for sure, though: I'm definitely looking forward to the next book!A copy of this book was provided via YA Bound Blog Tours for review purposes.***To see more of my reviews, please visit me @ Read and Reviewed!