How to Romance a Rake by Manda Collins

August 15, 2012

Three's a Crowd
With her second book, How to Romance a Rake, author Manda Collins has stepped up her game and created a very special heroine.  This book has a polish about it that wasn't present in her debut novel and she has created some memorable characters - even the stinkers!

Let's take a look at the main reason this book is so good - the heroine, Juliet.  Juliet has a couple of problems to overcome: her absent, inattentive father; her cruel, detestable mother.  And, by the way this mother should get the 2012 Mommie Dearest award. What a horrible woman.  Juliet is shy, hides herself away from society.  But you see she has a very good reason for doing so, for the biggest of all of her problems is her physical disability.  Now, this disability isn't your standard Romanceland scar across the eyebrow - no siree.  Due to an accident, a portion of her leg was amputated, so this lends itself to all kinds of struggles, both physical and mental.

Juliet was an interesting character to watch. She appears to be weak, but she's not.  She is a very strong woman, unsure of herself one moment, blossoming the next.  The only thing I would have liked to have seen was her punching her mother in the face.

Then we have Deveril, who seems to be a Beta hero and I'm not sure why the title infers that he is a rake.  He didn't seem to have those qualities in this book.  He was sweet, kind and supportive of Juliet.  His easy acceptance of her disability was wonderful.  The one quibble I have with his character was his guilt over his mother's death.  So many heroes in romance novels seem to have this enormous guilt over something that happened when they were children.  I'm finding the "I killed my brother/mother/father/sister/cousin/friend blame game and I was only 3" a little tiresome.

There is a mystery in this story and it pretty well written.  In fact, I didn't see the villain coming.  Well done!

I have one more quibble.  As much as I love continuing/sequels/prequels/whatevers, I need a break from the "group rescue" scenes.  Yes, I know we want to see the characters from the last novel and we must be introduced to the personalities from future books, but all those people barging into a room to save someone is a tad bit silly.

Overall, this was a wonderful addition to the Ugly Duckling series and as to date my favorite.  I knew Manda Collins had a strong voice and How to Romance a Rake proves it.  I'm really looking forward to the third story.  Good job, Ms. Collins!

Time/Place: Regency England
Sensuality: Hot


Anonymous said...

You found a great deal more to praise in this book than I did. Actually, I had difficulty finishing it. For one thing, the style of writing was rather stodgy. There were many instances when some excitement might have entered the narrative and didn't; the story continued with the same bland tone. For another, the relationship between the h/h was almost saccharine, a sweetness which didn't "fit" with the rest of the heroine's character. I agree that the mother's character was nicely gruesome, but really didn't get the purpose of the reconciliation with the father. Could anyone really not know that his daughter had lost a foot? All in all, I'd sum the book up as a bit too melodramatic--for my taste, at least.

Melanie said...


On your recommendation alone I just ought the book and am looking forward to reading it soon.

Thanks ;D

SidneyKay said...

Melanie: AAAKKKK...not the dreaded "on your recommendation alone." I hope you enjoy it.

SidneyKay said...

Anon: I accepted the father not knowing as more of his not being there either physically or mentally for his daughter. I think that the missing foot could be hidden, especially if you never saw your father and obviously they didn't have a relationship in which he tucked her in at night. So, I bought it.

Melissa said...

As a female in that particular time period, it is believable that the father had no idea of the extent of his daughter's injury. A female sick room was not an accepted topic among males and as the father accepted his wife's explanations and then left, the entire situation could possibly have been hidden.

I was surprised at the identity of the villain, but that part of the story pulled me away from where i thought the book was going...the concern that Juliet had about Deveril's acceptance of her missing limb.

Thanks for recommending this book!