May 19, 2015
The plans of mice and men...
50 Ways to Ruin a Rake is the first Jade Lee book I've read and it was interesting
experience. It is also the beginning of the Rakes and Rogues series. And, even though it is the beginning of a series, I believe some of the characters in this book are connected to her Bridal series. There were parts of the story I liked and there were parts that I was not too keen on.
This is a story about Mellie Smithson and Trevor. Mellie seems to be a highly intelligent woman - she has a very scientific mind, she works with chemicals and has created a new beauty product. The problem is her femininity. Her father, who she works with, and her uncle both use her brain and ignore it because she is a woman. She's close to being a drudge. She wants more for herself, but doesn't know how to go about getting it. There is also the problem of her uncle trying to force her to marry her cousin in order to keep all of her brain power in the family. Then there is Trevor.
Trevor is grandson to the Duke of Trimby and in line someday to take over the title. Here's the problem: Trevor's grandfather is a nasty old guy who wants his grandson to tow the line and get married. He has cut Trevor's funds off hoping that will force his grandson into doing what he wants him to do. Trevor has been subsisting off of food at parties and hanging out at the Smithson's place. Trevor has studied under Mellie's scientist father for a long time. So, Mellie and Trevor know each other. Mellie has grown up resenting Trevor's place in her father's heart and Trevor has grown up ignoring Mellie.
Well, Trevor has a plan. He knows Mellie doesn't like him so she is the perfect choice for him to present to his grandfather as his fiancée. His plan is that once his grandfather sees that he's engaged he will release Trevor's funds to him. Then after a certain amount of time Trevor and Mellie can break up. He believes Mellie will not be hurt by this because she dislikes him so much. Well, Mellie considers his plan, but adds some demands of her own. During the engagement, Trevor must help her find someone she can marry. She believes that only through marriage to the right person can she escape her irritating cousin, nasty uncle and oblivious father. So, they embark upon a fake engagement.
I might have enjoyed this book more if I had liked some of the people in the book better. First of all Mellie let people walk all over her for waaay too long. She found her cousin more than annoying, but never really puts her foot down. She doesn't stand up to her oblivious father and ignorant uncle. She lets Trevor maneuver her all over London so she can get some town bronze. But even with that I took a strong dislike to a rather obnoxious "friend" of Trevor's - Lady Eleanor. When Lady Eleanor is introduced to Mellie, her reaction is waaaay over the top. It's as if Mellie was some kind of backwater hick or monkey or someone who picks their nose in public. She treated Mellie as if Mellie had never seen the inside of a house or eaten at a dinner table or read a book. Eleanor was a mighty unpleasant person and I really wanted Mellie to stand up to her. If maybe it had been just one person pushing Mellie around, but no, everyone did. Occasionally there was a glimpse of temper and an explosion of words but not enough.
Then there is Trevor. He had big problems with his horrible family. What an atrocious grandfather, a real piece of work. Unlike boo-hoo-poor-me Mellie, he stood up to his family. And, I liked him for that. What I didn't like about him, was once again we have a so-called honorable hero who is going to end his engagement when he gets his money. But, he doesn't seem to have a problem with introducing Mellie to the facts of life. In fact he embarks upon this pretty early in the book, before any chemistry has been established between these two. He knows she doesn't like him, he knows it will not be lasting, but somehow he just can't keep his hands and tongue off of her. This was all introduced pretty early on and seemed to me to be rather tawdry.
Funny stuff. As I've said before funny is subjective and a lot of times when one is in a mood, one doesn't always see funny stuff as funny. All through the book, there was witty dialogue and things I was supposed to laugh at, but I was so irritated with the heroine and hero I was unable to see the humor in them. It wasn't till the very end when the turkey disguised as a Dodo bird is introduced that I laughed. In fact, I thought I was reading a different book and it dawned on me that probably there had been humor earlier on in the book but I just hadn't seen it. But, I have too many other books to read to go back and reread a book to find something I missed the first time around.
So, here's the dilemma. I didn't really enjoy this couple, but I did like the turkey and I thought that bird was pretty funny. I also had a major problem with Lady Eleanor because I think she’s earmarked for her own book and she has probably been in previous books. I’m thinking about going back and reading some of the other books to get a better feel for her, because she is really an obnoxious woman. Or, I could just read the next book in Ms. Jade's new series just to give her another chance. I'm always looking for new authors, and I also know that sometimes a book hits the spot and other times they don't. For me, this time this particular book didn't, but I'm willing to give another one a try.
Time/Place: Regency England