Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Rake by Any Other Name by Mia Marlowe @SourcebooksCasa

A Rake by Any Other Name (Somerfield Park, #1)
Release date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical (Regency) Romance
Series: Somerfield Park #1

When his father, Lord Somerset, tumbles off the roof, Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, is called home from his Grand Tour to take the reins of the estate while the marquess recuperates. Somerset is in serious financial difficulty, which can only be remedied by marriage to an heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight, lately arrived from India with her nabob father.

Unfortunately, Richard believes he has already lost his heart to Lady Antonia Pruett. And Miss Goodnight isn’t too keen on becoming Somerset’s purse with feet, so she foils their families’ attempts to throw her and Richard together at every turn. To make matters worse, the reason Lord Somerset fell off the roof in the first place is a secret that threatens to upend all their lives.

My Rating: 3 Roses

A nice book that had its pros and cons but was an overall lovely read, A Rake by Any Other Name was an enjoyable historical romance. It had some issues that kept me from really loving it, but in the end, I liked it just fine.

I had conflicting opinions about both of the main characters.
With Sophie, I started off annoyed with her. She seemed judgmental and willing to write off anything that nobles did as bad without giving it a thought. But, as the book went on, she earned by respect as a character. I already knew that she was strong and independent, but she proved that she was also kind and an ultimately fair person. She was undoubtedly by favorite part of the story.

With Richard, it went the other way around. I never had a problem with liking him. He was a sweet man who did his best to be honorable. But, as the book went on, he lost my respect. The way he handled the situation was poor, to say the least. The fact that he claimed to have been in love with Antonia, only to fall right back out of love when he met someone who more suited to him. That's all well and good for the romance in the book, but it made him seem, not exactly fickle, but very naive. Then, he proved that he could assert his will within his family under some circumstances but, for some reason, was terrible at doing so in others. Like with his choice of bride. I didn't dislike, but he wasn't my favorite character.

The romance, on its own, was good. Sophie and Richard were very sweet together. I liked the way that they went from disliking each other, to getting to know each other, earning each other's trust and respect, then claiming love. And, they had some heat between them. Overall, I thought they were a lovely couple.

I had a couple of other issues with the book that brought it down. 1) Richard's entire family seemed selfish and rude and snobby. His father and mother annoyed me with their use of their son as a commodity and the way that, once they didn't need Sophie's wealth, they looked down on her and scored a match. One of his sister's way okay. I like her no-nonsense attitude and her ability to take down a man with just her words. His other sister, however, struck me as materialistic and shallow. With all the issues with money, the one thing she kept complaining about was not getting her season. Other than that one sister, they all irritated me. 2) This book fell prey to more than one annoying plot whole. You know, the ones used way too often in romances that are not only cheesy but extremely irritating. First, the presence of the almost fiance who was, of course, catty and snobby. Then, Sophie, who was an otherwise reasonable character, fell prey to the sin of listening in on a conversation, hearing something she interpreted as bad, then running away before getting the full context and going all melodramatic before finally being set straight. Then, there was (possible spoiler alert) the totally predictable plot twist where one of the characters gets found in a compromising position with someone else and is forced into an engagement that led to a lot of unnecessary angst and self pity. And, finally, tacked at the end, is a lost heir that suddenly pops up, resolving the situatio. Even though I liked the story overall, these plot holes annoyed me and made me skim until they were fixed.

There was a secondary story in this book about one of the maids in the house. I skimmed through it because it seemed unrelated to the main story, but I know of other reviewers who liked it.

The plot was well paced and I was kept interested the entire way through. Despite the issues that I had, I still liked the story overall. It was a nice read that, though not perfect, was enjoyable. I'm curious to see what will come next in this series and I liked this one enough to continue on with it. We'll see if book 2 is better.

A Rake by Any Other Name was a good historical romance. Though I had issues with it, I still liked it and enjoyed reading it. It had it's flaws, but it was still a charming read. Romance lovers, this might be a book you'll want to look up.

*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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