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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Drea's Review - The Rake's Handbook

Title: The Rake's Handbook
Author: Sally Orr
Series: The Rake's Handbook, #1
Format: e-book
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Length: Novel (352 pages)
Genre: historical romance
Source: Netgalley
Buy: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Rating: 3-stars 

Drea's Review:

Elinor’s new neighbor wants to build a factory next to her land—one that might spit out soot capable of staining her precious home. The lovely house is all Elinor has left of her beloved husband. Staining is not an option. But her new neighbor is famous for writing the handbook on being a rake, and persuading him away from his industrial project could be a danger to more than her reputation.

Ross needs to make an old wrong right for his mother’s sake—becoming a better man. His new estate in the country is the first step in that plan. Building steam engines will bring in the cash to pay for her home decorating needs. And decorating is all that is keeping Mom sane these days. There’s just one stumbling block between him and his steam engines—river access through his alluring neighbor’s land. Securing that access will make Ross face his inner demons but just might earn him the love he needs.


Elinor is a decent heroine who grows throughout the book, and realizes she can move on with her life without violating the memories of her past. Ross’s mother Lady Helen calls Elinor a “silly” and “frivolous” woman, but that isn’t really “shown” in the book even though it’s the general consensus in the area. She does let her lawyer and doctor lead her around a bit for a woman of today’s standards, but of course she isn’t a modern woman. I can forgive her that ;)

Ross is actually more of a stand-up kind of guy than the rake he’s purported to be. He does let himself get carried away with Elinor, but she doesn’t help the matter by failing to protest even the slightest. And when it matters, he does the right thing. I know it’s difficult to illustrate rake-like behavior without violating the whole “the hero mustn’t be with anyone other than the heroine once they’ve met”, but I just didn’t get the rake feeling from him at all in the book.

In terms of secondary characters nephew-in-law Berdy is the silly and frivolous one. For the first two thirds of the book he’s irritating with his cravat obsession. Fortunately he too grows. I thought Ross’s Mom, Lady Helen, had an unreasonable dislike of Elinor that never really got explained. She does get over it by the end, otherwise that would spell disaster for Ross and Elinor.

This book had all of the elements to be great: a sexy rake and a fairly independent heroine who can’t keep their hands off each other. But it missed the mark for me. The author tried to relate the flirtation to the fictional rake handbook during three quarters of the book. As a result their banter felt forced and a bit disjointed. Though I do like how the heroine used a fictional marital bliss handbook to defend against his rake handbook later in the book—that was a nice touch, but not enough to pull it together for me.


Challenge Update: This is book twelve toward the 2014 Historical Romance reading challenge I signed up for ages ago. I'm FINISHED, w00!! *dances*


2 comments:

  1. Woots! Congrats on finishing the challenge Drea! That's too bad it was just a bit off the mark for ya.

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  2. Ah sorry to know that something was missing there. I didn't know about the book but it's true that maybe I'll pass if it's not better.

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