June 17, 2013
“Gonna find her - Gonna find her - Gonna find her - Gonna find her -
Yeah, I've been searchin'
A-a searchin'” - Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
I had a good time with this fast moving story. The second offering in the Royal Rake series, One Night with a Rake by Connie Mason and Mia Marlowe hit the right spot. To refresh your memory this is the series about the race to impregnate a woman/women/wife by the three unmarried royal dukes, Clarence, Cambridge and Kent, after the death of the heir apparent, Princess Charlotte of England.
This book comes with a few warnings. First of all there is a lot going on here. Let's see, we have our hero, Nathaniel, who cannot shame his sister or father and has some kind of traitorous cowardly act being held over his head. That will force him into seducing our heroine, Georgette, and somehow her being impure will disgust the degenerate Duke of Cambridge. We all know that the Duke of Cambridge will find disgust with her and not marry her. However, her parents, who have a marriage of convenience, are pushing, pushing, pushing her into it. But, you see they are afraid that Georgette might get in trouble because she is allowed to wander the London slums rescuing women from a life of degradation, so, they decide to let Nathaniel live with them and watch over Georgette. They do this because he was once engaged to Georgette's sister, who is now in the grave. Everyone is sad because her sister was such a nice person and she's not. Anyway, Nathaniel has to seduce Georgette because he doesn't want his family to live in shame and he does feel bad the whole time he's doing it. Don't forget the sidekicks. There is the reformed street-walker-turned-lady's-maid who borrows her lady’s perfume and is in love with the big lummox footman, who is in love with her and thinks she deserves love, love, love. He also thinks she shouldn't be putting things in her mouth...well, maybe. There is also a murderer who is killing off people in the bad part of town and is mad at Georgette because she's always putting her nose into his business. Don't forget the secret paper that will prove Nathaniel isn't a coward. That secret paper is in a secret place that only our slimy blackmailer knows about. Of course, there are the guys from the other book who might know something. Let me see, did I leave anything out? Maybe.
The other warning: if you are a historical accuracy stickler, if you have spasms when things are zipped instead of buttoned or the word "flute" upsets you, then this book may not be for you. Not that there were any zippers in this one. However, for the royal dukes of England to be wandering the English countryside, scouting for worthy local candidates in which to deposit their royal seed – tbbbt - not going to happen. During this time period there were a gazillion small European countries, all filled with tons of minor nobility. There were boatloads of blue-blooded nubile daughters to choose from.
Then, there was the problem of Georgette's parents inviting our bachelor bad boy Nathaniel to reside with them. Just "watch" over our daughter for us, keep her out of trouble. Pu-lease. Obviously, these people have never read a romance novel. While I'm talking about the oblivious parents, I also found it hard to believe that they would let their daughter run all over London's stews and never once thought about locking her up in the country.
However, even with all of these impossible story threads, I had a great time reading this book. The reason? I loved Georgette and Nathaniel. I found this couple to be just simply delightful. The continual exchange of clever dialog between these two was a real treat. Even with Nathaniel’s deceit, they worked well together. Don't get me wrong, they were both strong, stubborn people, and occasionally Georgette crossed into TSTL territory. However, I didn't mind, it all seemed to balance out. She may have done outrageously stupid things, but then he would do some cave-man- throw-over-the-shoulder thing and it would all work out. There was plenty of funny mind-talk going on inside both Georgette and Nathaniel. Also entertaining were the secondary characters of the maid and footman. There was another story about the parents that began, but didn't seem to go anywhere. It might have been interesting, but then, how many secondary characters can you have in love in one book?
The murder mystery was a fun little diversion, but I don't believe it was a necessary addition to the love story of Nathaniel and Georgette. They would have been just fine without it.
I do have one thing about Nathaniel that didn't sit well. By the end of the story, he still hadn’t confessed his deceit to Georgette. They were a consolidated couple, but that particular thread didn't get tied. I'm not sure why it wasn't, but in the end, it would have made Nathaniel a more honorable hero.
Overall, this was a fast book with a fun couple. So, just ignore some of the things you know couldn't possibly ever happen, kick your shoes off, put your feet up, get some decaf coffee and relax.
Time/Place: Regency England