Thursday, April 03, 2008

Thursday 13 #39- The Perfect Rake, Anne Gracie

This is the first time I've done a Thursday 13 book review, but there's always a first right? The purpose of Thursday 13 is to help bloggers get to know one another better. Put a link in the comments and I'll link to you here. Click link in the title above to see a list of other participants.

1. The Perfect Rake was written by Anne Gracie and published by Berkeley in 2005. It's set in Regency England.

2. The set up is full of time worn romance cliches: abused orphan sisters led by the plucky eldest flee their evil guardian and are launched into society by an elderly relative while said mean evil guardian pursues them/her and she/they are finally saved by the hero.

3. In this instance, I must say Ms. Gracie makes all of these cliches work for me. And work well, too. The initial scene where Prudence and Gideon meet is extremely funny and reveals much about them individually and sets the stage for their relationship.

4. I think Ms. Gracie let the guardian off the hook too easily at the end, though.

5. I appreciate Ms. Gracie's ability to show the internalization of emotional abuse and she walks the knife's edge of just enough, not too overblown, yet clearly depicting how easily damaged a young woman could be.

6. The hero, Gideon, is supposed to be the classic "rake": well experienced with married women, drinks too much, parties too much, but has his own code. You know the drill: no innocents, because even rakes have to draw the line somewhere; a female relative or two who dotes on him and swears society has it all wrong; no bastard children, emotionally damaged in some way as a child and tons of money.

7. From the beginning, Gideon has eyes only for Prudence. From the start he calls her Miss Imprudence for her tendency to allow her mouth to get herself and by extension, Gideon, in trouble. I loved Gideon for his sense of humor, his ability to roll with Prudence's schemes. In the end, for his ability to both protect her and his ability to to help her grow.

8. Prudence for her part is fiercely protective of her sisters and is desperate though resourceful in her efforts to save them. Luckily she has enough memories of her parents to sustain her and give her strength through her ordeals.

9. Despite the overtones, The Perfect Rake manages to be funny and at times lighthearted. Always showing the power of familial love, parents' ability to reach beyond the grave to influence their children and the healing power of a new relationship.

10. A midnight hell for leather carriage ride.

11. Gideon gets shot, but all is not what it seems.

12. A Duke who is described as stout and serious and likes to live on an isolated estate.

13. Very highly recommended.

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