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Rake with a Frozen Heart by Marguerite Kaye
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's review
Apr 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 4-stars, historical-romance, tortured-hero
Read from March 16 to April 03, 2012

This ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Publish date: May 1st, 2012 Fiction – Adult: Romance: Historical, 288 pages
Harlequin (Harlequin Historical)

Henrietta Markham is an honest soul, not capable of lying. When she’s accused of having committed a crime, waiting for the Bow Street Runner to arrive doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Determined to find the real culprit and clear her name she sets out for London.
How the Earl of Pentland ended up aiding a damsel in distress, he doesn’t quite know himself. Void of all emotions after a terrible tragedy, he vowed to never let anyone in again. Rafe isn’t about to admit to himself that Henrietta is the one making him laugh again. He doesn’t deserve happiness – she deserves it all. It’s getting harder and harder to remain indifferent.

Crossing paths with Henrietta was nothing but an unpleasant disruption of his day. The hero acted like I expected him to. In fact, I was hoping he’d be this way. Precision landing! The blurb referred to the ice flowing through his veins, and a shiver went down my spine. I just had to request this galley. Wow, what an enigmatic recluse! His demeanor was cold and unyielding, but that didn’t keep him from helping Henrietta out of the ditch she found herself in. This little act of chivalry, no matter how much the hero despised the thought of being called chivalrous, gave me hope. I love the dark and brooding type, but I must at least get a glimpse of the man he could be (kind, loving, …). The author did a wonderful job in making me believe he had a good heart hidden underneath all these layers of protection.

Normally I would’ve gotten bored hearing all that talk about his perfect physique, his perfect everything, but that wasn’t the case here. Maybe because I had a pretty clear vision of the hero in my mind. Perfect…perfectly accurate. Besides, I was okay with him looking so darn good (selfless of me, wasn’t it?) He had to learn the hard way that thinking he had the upper-hand didn’t necessarily mean he really had it. I thought to myself: You just wait until Henrietta finally has you by the…err….(emotionally speaking). Denial worked only for so long.

Henrietta, I should probably mention up front, is innocent, inexperienced, and a real chatterbox. The latter turned out to be the trait I loved about her most. She blabbered away even when she wasn’t actually speaking; just thinking round and round and round. She couldn’t control her outbursts, which resulted in a couple of *facepalm* moments I will cherish and hold dear to my heart forever. It didn’t come across as silly at all. I found her adorable. A likeable heroine who, despite being out of her comfort zone, held on to her opinions and morals. She did not want to accept Rafe’s money, however, her situation rendering it inevitable. The fact, that it bothered her was proof of her integrity.

I had such fun with the main characters and saw the change that gradually happened within Rafe. The longer he was around Henrietta, the more he smiled, the more he came out of his shell. The mystery part of the novel didn’t overshadow the character development. I wanted a dreamy historical romance with a tortured hero and that’s what the author provided. Henrietta bombarded Rafe with questions and sometimes put her foot in her mouth. I couldn’t be angry at her, though. It was what Rafe needed. She was embarrassed, but never seriously considered not asking something or telling what’s on her mind. Courageous little thing!

They were a great couple: A larger than life hero (his regrets, too) and a heroine who’s sweet, sensual and chattered like a magpie.

What I didn’t like about the book was that Henrietta constantly talked about her parents - what mother or father would say to this and that. The author had her reasons for sharing a bit of background information about the heroine’s parents, but it all turned from endearing innocence to childish innocence. By god, I didn’t want to think of a child being held in the hero’s arms. Unfortunately, even in bed Henrietta talked about what they taught her. Wow, not the right place!

There were two tiny glitches in the plot (no biggie, but I thought I’d mention them anyway). Rafe offered Henrietta breakfast, but soon after his departure she was surprised it was morning already. Breakfast is a very specific term. It could’ve been avoided by simply using “something to eat” instead.
The second glitch: The actions of the real criminal didn’t add up with the conclusion.

All historical romance fans out there; this is a book you should read. Not overly long, but with lots of heart. It might not have wowed me into silence with its brilliance, but I loved the romance and let out a content sigh at the end. Sometimes that’s just what it’s all about. Lovely! 4 stars to Rake with a Frozen Heart by Marguerite Kaye.

Beware of Spoilers!

A few of my favorite quotes for those of you who are interested:
° “Do your worst, the man replied laconically, for all you know I may already have done mine.”
° “Had not ever – in bed – on bed – whatever! She had not.”
° “…realized that calling someone a rake to their face, even if they were a rake, wasn’t perhaps the most tactful thing to say.”
° “Yearning. Not a word he normally associated with himself, but that’s what he felt.”

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