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.
Dear Ms. Linden,
We’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
This book can be purchased in mass market at Amazon or Powells or ebook format on June 3, 2008.
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.
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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This sounds delicious.
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?
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.
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.
This book sounds lovely. I especially like stories with diary entries, so I’m intrigued by that. And the cover is gorgeous.
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.
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.
I enjoy Caroline Linden, and these days a romance without a spy is sure hard to find. Sounds like a surefire winner!
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.
I have enjoyed Linden’s romances in the past so would be interested.
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.
Leah – the spy book will then be fresh and new for you. Please don’t let our jaded comments ruin it. ;)
I’ve never read anything by Caroline Linden but it sounds like a good read. Great cover too
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!
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.
Oh yes, and for the contest: If I win, I promise to post something both on my own blog and on Amazon.
A straight up Regency romance without intrigue and spies? Sign me up for the contest!
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.
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.
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.
This sounds right up my alley…
I will sound as boring as a Regency spy novel, but must chime in to say “yay!” to a book about characters and relationships…
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 passÃ©?
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.
WandaSue I love you and your title descriptions! Might just have to borrow a few of them for reviews.
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!
I object to the idea that Regency spies are boring!
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.
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. ;)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’d be happy to post a review–please count me in!
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.
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!
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!
Your review definitely appealed to me. I look forward to reading and enjoying this unique novel. Thanks for the chance.
This sounds intriguing. Please add me to the drawing.
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.
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.
I enjoy Regencys ~ this sounds like a great read.
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?
Mary, I think it stands just fine on its own.
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.
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.
This book sounds great. I would love to read it.
I’m intrigued by this book. This might be the cure to my Regency blues, since the last one I read left me flat.
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.
Count me in! I like Regencies and would be willing to post a review/reaction to the ARC somewhere public.
Me too please!
I’m interested in trying this author (new to me) –please sign me up for the contest!
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!
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.
Oh, sad, I don’t know how I missed this – but I will add the book to my list!
I missed this one before but not again!!
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!
Happy to sign up for a second chance! Thanks!
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.