Wearing his very best, Oliver le Beau Blackthorn sets off to propose marriage to his beloved, Madelyn. Since his amorous advances were received favorably, he’s reasonably certain that he has a chance at her hand in marriage, even though he is a bastard. Reasonably certain, anyway, until her brother kicks him out and delivers him the beating of his life, right in front of Madelyn’s little sister Chelsea. Beau begins a lifelong campaign to get revenge on Thomas; what he doesn’t count on is Chelsea dropping right into his lap. Nearly forced to marry the odious and insincere reverand who rules Thomas’s life, Chelsea is determined to get the ultimate revenge by eloping with Beau. The pair soon discover that they’re united in a lot more than dislike for Thomas.
This was a sweet, very readable historical romance that at times even had me laughing. The main couple have that all-important chemistry; in fact, they’re more often found teasing each other than anything else, which made me really feel that they had a particular connection. They are truly adorable together, and their discovery of that makes for a very enchanting read. This is the basis of the appeal of the entire book, and it’s one thing Michaels does very very well.
The plot itself is very simple; the couple set out for Gretna Green and mainly focus on evading Thomas. He is not evil, just misguided, with little affection for either of his sisters; so there isn’t really a villain at all in the story, though it could have very easily slipped into that trope. I personally had envisioned quite a few different scenarios towards the end in the way of the HEA – I didn’t actually expect it to end the way it did. But it was a good ending, and no one really reads romances for the exterior plots anyway.
I suppose my only problem with the book is the title. Beau is not a rake. They make occasional references to his “extensive experience” with women but he’s ridiculously far from the classic image of a rake. Not once does he take advantage of Chelsea – he never even tries. He’s rather the perfect gentleman. I wonder if the book was given that title just to attract attention and trade on the well-known romance stereotype – it’s not at all descriptive of the contents of the book.
The Taming of the Rake is a sweet, funny, and enchanting romance, a great choice for other historical romance fans, and definitely recommended by me.
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