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Monday, March 30, 2009:
"The Rake" by Suzanne Enoch - review (2002)

Three determined young ladies vow to give three of London's worst rakes their comeuppance -- but when these rogues turn the tables, who truly learns a lesson in love?

Once upon a time, the notorious Viscount Dare charmed Lady Georgiana Halley out of her innocence -- to win a wager, no less! -- and now he must pay dearly. The, plan is simple: She will use every seductive wileshe knows to win Dare's heart...and then break it. But his smoldering gaze once again tempts Georgiana to give in to desire -- and when he astonishes her with a marriage proposal, she wonders: Is he playing yet another game...or could it truly be love this time?

This is not my first book by Suzanne Enoch - I have enjoyed previous historicals by her, though I haven't read any of her books for about a year or so. Too many books, so little precious time. But when RNTV had their "Duke of Slut" week, the 2nd book in this series, "London's Perfect Scoundrel", caught my attention, so I just knew I had to get this one right away. And because I like to read in order, I decided to get all 3 stories in the "Lessons in Love" trilogy.

Lady Georgie really dislikes Tristan Carroway, Viscount Dare, and wishes nothing to do with him. Though he's kept the intimate nature of their relationship from six years ago a secret from the ton, there is still the little stinging matter of a wager that has left her feeling betrayed and hurt, even after all this time. So when she sees him carelessly trifling with the affections of a sweet young woman, she decides it's time Dare were taught a lesson, and who better to give it to him than a woman who knows exactly what he's all about?

Tristan is immediately suspicious when out of the blue, Georgiana appears to be warming towards him. Having nearly ruined her reputation years ago, he knows she cannot be experiencing a change of heart after despising him for so long, yet he can't quite figure what she's all about. The chit is maddening, but then he's never quite gotten over his immense attraction for her, or forgotten their incredible night of passion. But his estate is in financial trouble, and as the eldest and the heir, it is up to him to save the family coffers by marrying well, and quickly. And maybe he could concentrate on securing an ideal match with the lovely and innocent Miss Amanda Johns if only he wasn't so distracted by a more lush and cantankerous beauty...

I read this book fairly quickly because I really liked the characters here. Georgiana and Tristan are quite a pair, and though Georgie is still battling hurt feelings and cannot trust another man with her heart, she seems to enjoy arguing with the sinfully gorgeous Lord Dare. She comes up with a plan to teach him a lesson which has her becoming companion to his two elderly aunts, therefore she ends up staying at his house to take care of them. Along with the aunties and Tristan, there are also his four younger brothers, and Georgie enjoys the banter and affection between the entire family. As time goes on, it becomes evident that she and Tristan still have feelings for each other, and both find it hard to ignore their physical attraction. But Georgie is determined not to fall for his charms like she did when she was a green girl, and though once again it appears her feelings have become engaged, she is not so willing to forgive and forget. She is determined to carry out the lesson and show Dare what it's like to tread so carelessly on someone's heart, even if it means additional heartache for her as well. It's worth the sacrifice if she can bring him to scratch and have him running with his tail between his legs to secure a prudent marriage with Amelia.

By the time Dare took that infamous wager involving Lady Georgiana, he was a total rake, almost completely unrependant in his behavior, except for the fact he's kept his liasion with her a complete secret from the ton. Yet at the time of his seduction of Georgiana, he regretted the outcome and how she reacted, but then again, with the immaturity of youth, didn't do anything to try to win her back. Instead, he pursued countless other women and frivilous pursuits, and though he might have cared for her, he went on to enjoy the hedonistic life of a rake. Now, years later, when Georgiana is back in his life and he gets to really know her, he begins to suspect that no other woman but her will do for him. But if he ever wishes to earn her regard, he knows he has a lot to make up for.

I liked that though Georgie acknowledges her attraction to Dare, she still doesn't immediately trust him. In fact after her experience, she doesn't know if she can trust any man, really. She's not lacking for suitors, but she can't be sure that she is wanted for herself or for her dowry. Besides, no man makes her feel the way Tristan does, and she knows she cannot marry him, so her options are rather limited. Her family is aware that something happened between the two years ago, and are very protective of her, which ends up being both a help and a hindrance to her plan. Still, there comes a time when Georgiana has to decide if she's willing to take a leap of faith with her heart, or play it safe and never know the love of a lifetime.

Tristan, as rakish as he is, has the talent to worm his way into one's affections, whether one is willing or not. Watching him with his family and seeing him rather confounded by a woman makes him more endearing, and I couldn't help but fall a little in love with the guy myself. He's losing his heart before he even realizes it, and will do whatever it takes to protect the reputation of his lady, even if it means potentially ruining friendships, fighting with his brothers, or being banned from his gentleman clubs. How can you just not love a guy like that?

I really look forward to reading the story of Evie & Saint in book #2, and seeing what kinds of lessons in love will be learned. In the meantime, I will savor the feeling I got from this book and be grateful to Andrea for her take on the Duke of Slut, which prompted me to pick up this series. So far, it's definitely been worth my while.
Rating: ****1/2 out of *****

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  1. Oh, I could definitely love this hero I can see it already! Great insight into the story, it sounds like one for the TBB!

  2. This sounds really good!! Hmm I think I might need to move to historicals next :o)

  3. This whole series is some kind of awesome - I'll tell you that! The third book is on my list of all-time keepers. For the hero, mostly. Oh, I'm so jealous of you reading this series again. Yum for you! Enjoy!

  4. I also read the Duke of Slut review on London's Perfect Scoundrel (and added said book to my TBR :) This book also sounds good...guess I should start here then *grin*

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