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REVIEW: A Rake’s Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden

Want to win an Advanced Readers Copy of this June 2008 book? We are giving away 10 of them. Read the review and then leave a comment if you are interested. Rules are winners are picked at random and you must promise to post something, somewhere about the book prior to June 2008. It can be good, bad or indifferent.

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Dear Ms. Linden,

Book CoverWe’ve done lots of reviews of the previous books in this series. I had wondered if the younger sister of those heroes would find her true love. I’m happy to see that not only has she found him, but she’s found him again.

I’m coming, more and more, to enjoy a sweet, more gentle character study Regency. Don’t cloud the issue with spies or former spies or endless speculation about dancing at Almacks. Just give me two people who are trying to work out that age old question of “Do you love me?” If you’re going to set it in a certain era, make the details believable and specific for that time frame — or why bother to set it then — then let it happen.

Celia starts as a – let’s be honest – somewhat young and slightly silly heroine who’s got a bit of a crush on her older brother’s friend. But since she’s eighteen, I have no problems with that. She’s dazzled by finally being ‘out,’ falls for flash over substance and makes the kind of mistake that a lot of young girls still do.

I like that Bertram wasn’t turned into some eeevil man in order to further book plot and Celia’s unhappiness. The style of short engagement and how little she and he would know each other before marriage is enough of a real life estrangement for them. As Celia wonders, maybe if they had stayed in London things would have been better as they had enough to distract them from their unhappiness or maybe if they had married different people, things would have worked out. Her diary entries show a believable, slow decline in feelings for each other and I can understand how she’d want to hide her failure of a marriage from her nearest and dearest. After all, who wants to admit to such a disaster after your family has allowed you to choose for love?

While they may have been catty, I think Celia’s friends show the disappointment that must have been more evident in that age with arranged marriages and the quick, short engagement period of society weddings when couples never really had a chance to get to know each other. Instead of everyone finding “twue love” it’s a nice change. It also shows that Celia has matured enough to realize that the gossip she once so readily engaged in could be harmful – as she wonders if people are now gossiping about her.

Anthony is a nice hero. I know that might sound like a bland description but three cheers for a non-ahole guy. Despite what society thinks, he tries to do the right thing especially after he realizes he’s actually in love with Celia. Up to now he’s only thought of her as his friend’s little sister but once he ‘sees the light,’ he heads over to the Duke, states his case and then bucks up under the disappointing news that she’s already engaged. I like that Anthony doesn’t have ‘group hug,’ make up moment with his ‘father’ the Earl. There’s too much bad blood to easily erase so quickly.

I think Rosalind is nicely done – a loving mother who could also be a PITA as she tries to get Celia back into society and matched up – very normal and real life. Also, that Molly would have trouble getting along with her younger half-brothers Thomas and baby Edward. Very nice reality scenes. Thank you for not spending too much time spent with the earlier couples or no more than would be normal for people of the age and station in life. I find it interesting that David’s head groom is his brother-in-law.

It’s surprising that more wasn’t made of finding Celia and Anthony in the library. The place had been filled with gossip mongers from day one and all of a sudden they’re all Celia’s friends and won’t go back to London with this juicy gossip? Even if she is a widow, finding the host’s sister in flagrante delicto with a man not her husband would have made the tea rounds.

I found the subplots at the end with Lady Drummond and the attempt to take Celia hostage somewhat silly. Neither ‘goes’ with rest of the style of the book, they’re both too short and really, what was the point?

The book could have done with a little tightening and paring as things dragged a bit in the middle. I think it was realistic that Celia still needed some time to grow up before truly appreciating Anthony. How much life wisdom does the average 18 year old have? Not much. And this time she got to see her suitor in good light and bad, alone and in company so her choice carries more weight. Anthony also acknowledges that he couldn’t have adequately supported Celia those four years since his investments hadn’t paid off yet.

Overall, this is a nice ending to this series. A Regency with no spies and no PTSD wounded soldier hero is a treat. The scenes of intimacy are delish without being tasteless. I do wish that the title wasn’t so “blah” and generic. If I were looking at the book without having read any of the previous books, I might have been tempted to put it back on the store shelf without even giving it a try. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market at Amazon or Powells or ebook format on June 3, 2008.

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

73 Comments

  1. cecilia
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 06:57:05

    I’m totally with you on the growing appreciation of books that base the drama on plain old human interaction and character development. I find those are the ones I’m most likely to remember the details of, even if spies and werewolves are ‘more exciting’. This sounds like a good read.

    ReplyReply

  2. Sarah
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 07:20:11

    A historical where the hero is a plain old nice guy? I can get behind that. Way too few of those stories out there. You’ve actually made this book sound more interesting than most of the descriptions I’ve read of it thus far, so I’d love to give it a try.

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  3. katiebabs
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 07:36:04

    I have always enjoyed Linden’s romances. And it is always good to have a nice hero and not the pompous, I have slept with every woman in England type. And not a spy in sight! Woo hoo. :)

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  4. Stephanie Z.
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 07:52:57

    A Regency with no spies and no PTSD wounded soldier hero is a treat.

    Well, OK, as much as I love England’s Perfect Hero, I have to admit you’re right.

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  5. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 08:03:12

    Katiebabs, part of the story is the fact that all of the ton thinks that the hero is a rake. We know fairly early on (so I don’t think this is a spoiler) that he isn’t and as the story progresses we see how honorable Anthony really is. But he does have a bad rep.

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  6. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 08:06:58

    Sarah, I’m glad I didn’t read the blurb before starting the book. I wonder if this is part of the uphill problem that newer authors might face, that people don’t automatically buy their books without first reading the blurb? And as I said, the title isn’t doing this book many favors either.

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  7. Mireille
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 08:44:24

    Oh, I’m with you–I’m tired of the PTSD war-hero, and the spy, and all the other “dramatic” plots. I like traditional Regencies–I prefer those to Regency-set historicals *because* I’m more interested in the couple and their story than any big drama around them.

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  8. ames
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 09:05:09

    I’m sick of spies in historical romance. The only spy plots I will gladly read are Sylvia Day’s. This book sounds good. :P

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  9. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 09:12:57

    Back in the day, I remember spy plots were new and fresh. Back in the day, I remember a hero with PTSD was different and interesting.

    Those days are past.

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  10. Anna
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 10:07:53

    This sounds delicious.

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  11. Sarai
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 10:12:13

    This series sounds like something I am in the mood for. I will have to check out the rest of the series. Are they all as good as this one? Does this author have a lot of books out?

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  12. Lizzy
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 10:15:06

    I didn’t read this review, but I have to say I am loving this cover. It’s unabashedly old school, and for that I am pleased.

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  13. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 10:26:52

    Here’s a list of her books. ROGUE and GENTLEMAN are about this heroine’s brothers. It’s been a long time since I read WOMAN so I can’t recall if it ties into this series or not. Sorry.

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  14. Alyssa
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 11:02:15

    This book sounds lovely. I especially like stories with diary entries, so I’m intrigued by that. And the cover is gorgeous.

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  15. NHS
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 11:08:49

    I whole heartedly agree with what has been said.
    When you have two truly intriguing characters and suck you in to their relationship you don’t need all those external plot devices to keep your interest.

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  16. Anne Douglas
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 11:17:59

    I’m a fan of relationship based storylines too. Plus I kind of like the idea of the ‘well, I fubared that then, didn’t I’ aspect – which seems a whole lot more realistic, really.

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  17. Laura
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:10:24

    I enjoy Caroline Linden, and these days a romance without a spy is sure hard to find. Sounds like a surefire winner!

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  18. Leah
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:17:23

    I have never read regency, but oddly enough, I bought one today featuring, what else–a spy! I had no idea they were now cliched! This one sounds great, though, and I look forward to picking a copy up in June.

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  19. wonald
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:19:53

    I have enjoyed Linden’s romances in the past so would be interested.

    ReplyReply

  20. Bonnie L.
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:20:10

    I’m always on the lookout for authors with something fresher to offer. I know it’s not a new concept, but it’s fresh in this current market.

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  21. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:38:22

    Leah – the spy book will then be fresh and new for you. Please don’t let our jaded comments ruin it. ;)

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  22. Caitie
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 12:39:05

    I’ve never read anything by Caroline Linden but it sounds like a good read. Great cover too

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  23. Phyl
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 13:17:09

    Jayne, you do a great job of making me want to read this book. It sounds right up my alley. I’d love to win a copy. Thanks!

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  24. Liviania
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 13:39:49

    I haven’t read this author before, bu you make the book sound very worthwhile. (Particularly when you say the hero is a nice guy – I’m still trying to figure out why some many romance heroes are domineering aholes.) Also, I like my romance without gimmicks or frills sometimes. Nothing but two people falling in love can be very satisfying.

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  25. Liviania
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 13:42:02

    Oh yes, and for the contest: If I win, I promise to post something both on my own blog and on Amazon.

    ReplyReply

  26. AB
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 13:49:38

    A straight up Regency romance without intrigue and spies? Sign me up for the contest!

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  27. JulieLeto
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 14:30:14

    I'm still trying to figure out why some many romance heroes are domineering aholes

    Because they sell.

    Want more nice guys? BUY THIS BOOK. Put the author on the bestseller lists. Vote with your dollars. Buy it the first week it is out. Pre-order now if you can. Get the buzz going.

    I don’t know this author. I’m just saying that the only way to change trends is to buy the books that feature the elements you like. Sell enough copies and someone will pay attention.

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  28. WandaSue
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 15:59:27

    I’m definitely reading this — contest winner or not. I am weary of the Earl of Spy and the Duke of Alpha. And their best friend, Viscount Cookiecutter. Not to mention Lady Toostupidtolive or the Hon. Miss Feistypants.

    I’m hungry for the comfort-food of a good, character-driven Regency.

    Is “A Rake’s Guide to Seduction” it? By the sound of the above review, I think it is. One way or another, I’m reading it.

    ReplyReply

  29. Kathy
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 16:23:56

    A Regency with no spies and no PTSD wounded soldier hero is a treat. The scenes of intimacy are delish without being tasteless. I do wish that the title wasn't so “blah” and generic. If I were looking at the book without having read any of the previous books, I might have been tempted to put it back on the store shelf without even giving it a try.

    No spies?!? No PTSD?!? I’m speechless – with gratitude, that is.

    You’re right about that title. Without this review, I probably would have left it on the shelf. But now, I will definitely add this to my “to buy” list. Thanks.

    ReplyReply

  30. JaimeK
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 16:33:55

    This sounds right up my alley…

    ReplyReply

  31. Willa
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 16:49:37

    I will sound as boring as a Regency spy novel, but must chime in to say “yay!” to a book about characters and relationships…

    ReplyReply

  32. JaneO
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 17:30:07

    It sounds good to me too. But with all these people talking about how they look forward to a Regency about characters and relationships, with a good guy hero and no spies, why do publishers seem to think this subgenre is passé?

    ReplyReply

  33. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 17:45:04

    JaneO – my guess is that Regency spy heroes are like vampires. Some people still like ‘em and the books still sell so that’s what gets written. I agree with what Julie Leto said, if you like a plotline, character type, whatever, then vote with your moolah and let the publishing houses know it.

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  34. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 17:46:20

    WandaSue I love you and your title descriptions! Might just have to borrow a few of them for reviews.

    ReplyReply

  35. Emily
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 18:49:23

    Jayne – I am more and more interested like yourself in “sweeter” regency romances based more on character development and evolution instead of scandal, intrigue and seduction games. Which are all well and good in the end, but sometimes sweet is just what we need!

    ReplyReply

  36. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 19:50:29

    I object to the idea that Regency spies are boring!

    ReplyReply

  37. miaserene
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 19:50:46

    I’m interested in the reasonable portrayal of a society marriage and second chance at love. Please enter me in the giveaway, if the ARC can be shipped to Canada.

    ReplyReply

  38. Robin
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 19:56:19

    I have a little bit of catching up to do with this series (I read the first two), and I am glad we’re finally getting Celia’s story.

    What I really liked about the first two books was the way they tended to develop as solid stories between *real-seeming* characters — not a lot of fanfare and over-the-top characterizations, just good old character development and relationship building. The way I think of them is as quiet, but I don’t know how to explain what I mean such that I can communicate that as a *good* thing not a boring thing. Anyway, I think you did it in your review, Jayne, and it sounds like this book continues that trend, so I’m looking forward to it.

    Obviously I’m not looking to be entered in the contest. ;)

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  39. Liviania
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 20:30:16

    Because they sell.

    Want more nice guys? BUY THIS BOOK. Put the author on the bestseller lists. Vote with your dollars. Buy it the first week it is out. Pre-order now if you can. Get the buzz going.

    I don't know this author. I'm just saying that the only way to change trends is to buy the books that feature the elements you like. Sell enough copies and someone will pay attention.

    The only problem is I often by a book featuring a jerk because of a cute cover/blurb and the companies don’t recieve the information that I resold the novel that week.

    ReplyReply

  40. Jayne
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 20:53:44

    Liviania – that’s when I take a book back. Now obviously this isn’t an option for an ebook and with mail order it’s probably not worth it with shipping costs but if I buy a book from my local bookstore and it doesn’t work for me – heck yeah I take it back.

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  41. AnimeJune
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 21:17:41

    Now this sounds like an interesting story – I’ve always liked characters studies more, after all, that was Jane Austin’s thing, making card parties and balls interesting after 2000 years of “male” adventure fiction. Sounds a bit like Sherry Thomas’ “Private Arrangements.” I’d love to win a copy.

    ReplyReply

  42. Linda Rigel
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 21:43:49

    I mostly lurk, but I want to say I’m loving these comments. I’ve been feeling so inadequate because my WIP set in Regency times has no paranormals, no spies, and the only fairies are in a child’s imagination.

    EDIT: Please don’t put me in the contest — I will buy the book.

    ReplyReply

  43. D.L.
    Apr 16, 2008 @ 22:12:24

    I love nice guy heroes. A “sweet” Regency sounds wonderful. And I agree about the cover- old school, but it works and I love it.

    ReplyReply

  44. azteclady
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 00:13:28

    I’d be happy to post a review–please count me in!

    ReplyReply

  45. Liviania
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 00:31:07

    Liviania – that's when I take a book back. Now obviously this isn't an option for an ebook and with mail order it's probably not worth it with shipping costs but if I buy a book from my local bookstore and it doesn't work for me – heck yeah I take it back.

    I’ve taken books back, but for me it’s a bit of a hassle. If I’m on-campus, it takes fifty minutes to get to my preferred bookstore, or I bought the book off-campus. If I’m off-campus, chances are I bought the book on-campus. During the summer I am diligent about returning books.

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  46. Beth
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 06:39:51

    This discussion of spies is interesting. I have been reading Julia Quinn, Lisa Kleypas, Mary Balogh, Loretta Chase, Hoyt, Sherry Thomas, and don’t recall a single spy except for Bourne’s Spymaster’s Lady. I must have missed the spy boat, or perhaps these don’t qualify as Regencies?

    Rakes on the other hand… ugh… someone needs to spray a good lot of rakicide all over Regency England to put those things down!

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  47. Jan
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 07:33:39

    This sounds like a good romance. I had lost track of this series by Linden so I have to search out the ones I’ve missed! No spies, no PTSD sounds good to me!

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  48. anne
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 09:01:37

    Your review definitely appealed to me. I look forward to reading and enjoying this unique novel. Thanks for the chance.

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  49. GrowlyCub
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 11:33:29

    This sounds intriguing. Please add me to the drawing.

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  50. Bonnie Dee
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 11:42:56

    Sounds good to me. I, too, am more interested in human interaction with the difficulties of the relationship arising from human frailty and self-doubt rather than an outside influence.

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  51. Marci
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 15:47:51

    I love discovering new series. I just finished the Slightly series by Mary Balogh and was looking for a new one to start. This sounds like the a great series to glom next. Now I just need to track down the first few. My TBR historical pile is getting pretty tall.

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  52. ChRiStY
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 16:52:14

    I enjoy Regencys ~ this sounds like a great read.

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  53. Mary M.
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 19:11:38

    Sounds like something I would like! I remember reading reviews of previous Caroline Linden books here and thinking I’d have to give her a try some day but…so many books, so little time. I skipped big chunks of this reviews in case there was anything spoilerish. Does it stand alone well or do you enjoy it more if you’ve read the previous books in the series?

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  54. Jayne
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 19:12:38

    Mary, I think it stands just fine on its own.

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  55. Jess
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 06:08:17

    I have enjoyed the previous Linden books and have been waiting for this new one with Celia. After reading the review (skimming, actually, to not find out too much), I can’t wait for June.

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  56. Gladys Paradowski
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:57:44

    I just finished reading a romance book that had so much “excess baggage” that I kept thinking about skipping much of it. I definitely agree that just sticking to the love plot makes a book more readable and far more interesting.

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  57. CrystalGB
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:39:02

    This book sounds great. I would love to read it.

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  58. Nohely
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:57:11

    I’m intrigued by this book. This might be the cure to my Regency blues, since the last one I read left me flat.

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  59. senetra
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 14:38:17

    I read one of the books in the series, but didn’t like it that much. The review interested me enough to get the other book and the one reviewed.

    ReplyReply

  60. Jody W.
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:24:48

    Count me in! I like Regencies and would be willing to post a review/reaction to the ARC somewhere public.

    ReplyReply

  61. Dani
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 18:50:35

    Me too please!

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  62. sistergolden
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 20:17:03

    I’m interested in trying this author (new to me) –please sign me up for the contest!

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  63. Laela
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 19:15:45

    I loved Linden’s What a Gentleman Wants, although a bit indifferent about her last book. I am looking forward to this new book to see if she can bounce back. Count me in for this contest!

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  64. Caffey
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 01:11:02

    Would be a joy to read and review this on my blog and Amazon. I’ve been so looking forward to this release. I love re-united stories, where they come back together, and thats what this one sounds like. A regency! They can be great comfort reads. Enjoyed reading your review.

    ReplyReply

  65. Amy S.
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:00:20

    Sounds great!

    ReplyReply

  66. Winners of the Caroline Linden ARC Giveaway | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 12:01:24

    [...] You are getting an early peek at Caroline Linden’s lovely June historical, A Rake’s Guide to Seduction. Please send us your snail mail address within the next 48 hours. [...]

  67. limecello
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 22:52:19

    Oh, sad, I don’t know how I missed this – but I will add the book to my list!

    ReplyReply

  68. Dear Author Giveaway You Won’t Want to Miss | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    May 07, 2008 @ 13:58:20

    [...] remind the readers that there were two outstanding Caroline Linden ARC’s for her June book, A Rake’s Guide to Seduction. Two readers didn’t come forward so I am re-opening the opportunity. Caroline Linden writes [...]

  69. Sandy (strlady)
    May 07, 2008 @ 17:20:45

    I missed this one before but not again!!

    ReplyReply

  70. AndreaS
    May 08, 2008 @ 13:30:16

    oh man. I was so behind but thankfully I did not miss it completely!

    I am a big fan of slow developments. And this one sounds wonderful. I’m always in favor of the silly heroine finding her sense (or just growing up a bit).

    My TBR pile just keeps growing!

    ReplyReply

  71. Kimbelina
    May 08, 2008 @ 21:32:39

    Happy to sign up for a second chance! Thanks!

    ReplyReply

  72. GrowlyCub
    May 09, 2008 @ 17:40:37

    Jayne, I’ve posted my review at http://growlycub.livejournal.com and invite comments, if anybody is so inclined.

    Thanks again for sending me the ARC. I really enjoyed reading the book.

    ReplyReply

  73. June Recommended Reads | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary
    Dec 17, 2009 @ 12:59:30

    [...] and specific for that time frame -’ or why bother to set it then -’ then let it happen. Read more here. Jane would also recommend this [...]

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