willaful's Reviews > Rake with a Frozen Heart

Rake with a Frozen Heart by Marguerite Kaye
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Rafe St Alban, the Earl of Pentland, is startled when he finds an unconscious young woman in a ditch near his home. He's even more startled when the woman, Henrietta, turns up as a stowaway in his carriage several days later, running away from an employer who accused her of stealing jewelry. Against his better judgment, Rafe agrees to help her track down the real culprit and prove her innocence, but the more time he spends with the outspoken and compassionate Henrietta, the less he wants to let her go.

I wound up liking this much more than I initially expected to. A slow start, an obvious mystery, an unoriginal match-up of a young, naive, idealistic heroine with a brooding rake, and an inconsistent historical tone did not bode well. Having finished it, I still can't recommend it to anyone who reads historicals primarily to feel transported to another era, because the plot pretty much ignores any period details that would be inconvenient. Henrietta is left alone with Rafe in his bedroom; she shares a room and a bed (and eventually her body) at an inn with him; he grabs her at a public ball and drags her away to a private area, in full view of all the guests... and none of this has any repercussions, or causes any concern. For me, ignoring the tension caused by society's constraints is a waste of a historical setting.

But despite its flaws, once past the beginning I found Rake With a Frozen Heart engaging. It was fast-paced and straightforward, with passionate love scenes and dialogue that establishes intimacy between the characters. It was the dialogue, especially Rafe's, that really grabbed me. The bitter man with a tragic secret is a romance staple and Rafe's tragic secret was nothing new, but I was struck by how he talks about it to Henrietta, the quality of his self-expression and insights. It made him seem very real.

Overall, this was a pleasant change of pace from many more bloated and meandering historical romances.

(Reviewed from e-arc provided by netGalley.)
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message 1: by AgentScully (new)

AgentScully Nice review Willa. I may give this a try.

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