Buggy's Reviews > The Rake

The Rake by Mary Jo Putney
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really liked it
bookshelves: hist-rom, addicted, delightfully-roguish, regency, shelf-13

Opening Line: “When two gentlemen are related by blood, they do not usually address each other with formality.”

Based on all the glowing reviews and accolades THE RAKE has received I was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this regency romance. And I guess because I’d heard so many good things I was a little surprised at well, frankly how dull this was. Even with Putney’s great writing, attention to detail and a reprobate bad boy as our hero this was a bit of a grind to get through.

My main issue was the tedious and repetitive descriptions of the day to day activities taking place at the estate. Sure I appreciate the research that must have gone into the time period and it was interesting to a degree but it was also too much. I kept waiting for something, anything to happen but it was just endless talk and dinners and details of farm life. The steam factor was also very low and even at the end I still felt like Reggie and Alys were more friends than lovers and don’t even get me started on the “letting you go because you’re too good for me” trope.

This really should have been titled “The Alcoholic” because Reggie is a very successful one, as a rake however he fails. We are told (continuously) about his rakish behaviour but he doesn’t often exhibit any. He’s basically just a drunk who makes questionable decisions while drunk. All his other choices are ethical and kinda heroic. He just allows people to think the worst of him, adding to his disgraced reputation which for whatever reason he seems to covet.

I will say though that it was refreshing to have an alcoholic as the leading man and I found the sections where he’s craving a drink and bargaining with himself (just one, I can stop any time) very well done. It does get a little preachy but Bill W would be proud.

Ayls Weston is running from her past, masquerading as a man in order to maintain her position as the (successful) estate manager of Strickland manor. All that’s about to change however when Reginald Davenport comes home, taking his place as the rightful master of his family estate. After extensive (see tedious) exploration of the grounds, Reggie decides to keep Alys on as steward and over time the pair realize they have much in common. Reggie is also on the run, trying to escape several decades’ worth of drink and debauchery in London which as of late has been causing him to experience blackouts. He just needs a rest, and Strickland will be perfect. When a fire destroys the steward house Alys and her wards move into the big house and a romance that could save them both takes hold.

First published in 1989 (THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER) stands up well by todays romance standards and I would consider it a must read for the genre, especially since I seem to be in the minority with my feelings. Cheers
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Reading Progress

April 28, 2012 – Shelved
May 5, 2012 – Shelved as: hist-rom
April 28, 2013 – Started Reading
May 13, 2013 –
page 352
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: addicted
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: delightfully-roguish
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: regency
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: shelf-13
May 13, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-15 of 15 (15 new)

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message 1: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Walton Grant Buggy, Buggy, Buggy! How's the book?

Buggy Hey TAMSTER!!!! How are ya girl?

This is just okay. Not as good as I was expecting and quite honestly a little dry. We keep being told he's a "Rake" but so far other than a wee drinking problem a bad reputation (that we're again only told of)I'm having trouble seeing it. And damn I do like me a good Rake

message 3: by Tammy (new) - added it

Tammy Walton Grant I keep hearing about this one, but have never read it. Sounds like maybe he's one of those "fake rakes", lol.

I am just fine, btw, you? Got spring out there yet? Doing anything fun and exciting?

Buggy Spring has sprung out here in BC. I always forget how lush everything is once we get some leaves and grass back. Nights are still freezing but the geese are back!

message 5: by Bark (new)

Bark I think I read this a million years ago but hell if I can remember a thing about it. It's not the "rapey" one, is it?

message 6: by Buggy (last edited May 13, 2013 07:19PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buggy LMAO Barksless :) No its not the "rapey" one. Its the "alcoholic" one. LOL

And it was a grind to get through (even with the great writing) so that's probably why you don't remember it.

message 7: by Bark (new)

Bark Ahhh, the "alcoholic" one! Now it's coming back to me. My memory works in very broad strokes, apparently ;)

message 8: by Kristen (new) - added it

Kristen This book has been on my TBR list for forever. After reading your review, I am moving it to the top. Wonderfully done, Buggy.

Buggy Thanks much Kristen :) It sat on my TBR for ages too, I hope you love it!

message 10: by ♥ℳelody (last edited May 21, 2013 12:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

♥ℳelody Wow Buggy you nailed exactly what I thought while reading this! I thought it was very dull and repetitive too. Given that the hero is an alcoholic I was expecting a whole lot of dark angsty tension between him and Alys. I failed to see any romantic chemistry or spark between them. I found it very boring. And this is going to sound wrong but I thought Putney overdid it with Alys's 'masculinity'.

But I did think she was very good & accurate with the hero's drinking problem. I just wish she paid more attention to the romance arc of the story. :/

message 11: by Buggy (last edited May 21, 2013 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buggy Thanks so much Melody! I'm glad to know I'm not alone with my issues because this book is so popular and adored. And in saying that I think that's why I expected more.

I still gave it four stars because even with the dullness I managed to get through it. The writing is fantastic, but. Yeah the sections where Reggie battles his bottle of Brandy are super well done, I really felt for him.

Alys' masculinity... hmmm that's interesting I never really noticed except that she was tall, direct and wore pants but now that you mention it she's kinda described as Bea Arthur LOL

message 12: by Jennifer (last edited May 22, 2013 11:03AM) (new)

Jennifer Leighton I didn't love this one either. I actually thought when it came to his drinking problem, it got QUITE preachy. Too preachy for me. It also wasn't very hot.

message 13: by ♥ℳelody (last edited May 22, 2013 11:19AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

♥ℳelody Buggy it wasn't so much Aly's physical description but how she carried herself and interacted with Reginald that came off very masculine, too much at times. They were like 2 bachelors with how they interacted. I got zero sexual tension between them. And Putney having to constantly remind us how she was just 'one of the guys' and could talk about the estate and the land hours at a time, not very interesting or exciting IMO. And I think Reginald at one point offered her a cigar which she seemed to love very much. They were like chummy best friends. The dynamic was very weird for me and I struggled to even believe that they fell in love.

I heard a lot about this too and am familiar with Putney's writing so I guess I was expecting more from it. Also the set up sounded really good and so dark and I have a thing for dark angsty tormented characters. It had all the elements but it just didn't deliver like I was hoping it would. Wile I ended up finishing it, it took a while and there was nothing exciting about it.

message 14: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Leighton Melody wrote: "I have a thing for dark angsty tormented characters."

OH, me too! Off to check your bookshelves....

Priscilla  Waller I’m sorry all the above found it dry and preachy. I first read it in the late Eighties. I have loved it all the years an I recently got it on Audible. I thought it was brilliant in describing Reggie’s fight with his addictions.

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