Saturday, July 21, 2012

Review: How to Romance A Rake by Manda Collins

Title:  How To Romance A Rake
Author:  Manda Collins
Genre:  Historical Romance
Pages:  336
Published:  July 2012
Publisher:  St Martin’s Press
Source:  NetGalley
Buy Links:  Amazon, Book Depository, Kobo

Synopsis:

You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can’t make her bloom—unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat…

What’s a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing at a place like Lord Deveril’s ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she’s a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the ton. So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense—and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze…

Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the “fashionable” ladies he’s accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence—and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret—and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms…

Spice Level:  Just the right amount!
Violence Level:  There is some minor violence, but nothing completely off the wall.

Juliet isn’t your typical debutante; she’s shy, doesn’t dance and is frequently mocked by the other unmarried ladies in the room.  Nicknamed one of the “Ugly Ducklings” along with two very close friends (one we’ve already met in “How to Dance with a Duke”) the girls have bonded and been by each other’s sides through out whatever comes.

Very few people know what really happened to Juliet when she spent time in Europe with her family.  While her father was deeply engaged in politics as part of the embassy, she decided she’d had enough.  While I don’t want to giveaway what happens to Juliet and the events leading up to it, she manages to get badly injured and is never quite the same afterwards.  We learn just how much she’s suffered and what she’s had to overcome to get to where she is.

With an extremely controlling mother, Juliet has been a wallflower most of her life.  When Alec suddenly notices her and brings her into the limelight, she’s unsure of what will happen.  New dresses, learning to dance, and having many more friends; her mother fears that someone will find out about her “affliction” and it will look poorly on her.  She wants her to blend in and marry the man she chooses – which has it’s own set of crazy problems.

All in all this was an amazing read.  I loved learning more about Juliet and reading more about Cecily and what happened to her after her “Happily Ever After”.  That’s one of the great things about a series - you get to see past characters!  This was the type of book to pick up on a lazy sunny afternoon and curl up under a shady tree with.  I was so engrossed in the story, I didn’t even notice the sunburn creepying up my leg! 

Will I recommend this book?  Oh yes, I loved Manda’s debut novel, and was thrilled when I saw it come up on NetGalley.  I wasn’t disappointed either, the story was just as fantastic as her first, and I totally loved Juliet!  I can’t wait to see what the next book holds for Madeline (“How to Entice an Earl”).  Will I read more by this author?  That’s an absolute affirmative!  Manda has easily earned a place in my “Auto-buy” list and a permanent home in my e-reader or bookcase.

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