A Rake By Any Other Name

Mia Marlowe
A Rake By Any Other Name
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Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date
November 2014
Book 1 of Somerfield Park
Historical Romance

When his father, Lord Somerset, tumbles off the roof, Richard Barrett, Lord Hartley, is called home from his Grand Tour to take the reins of the estate while the marquess recuperates. Somerset is in serious financial difficulty, which can only be remedied by marriage to an heiress, Miss Sophie Goodnight, lately arrived from India with her nabob father.

Unfortunately, Richard believes he has already lost his heart to Lady Antonia Pruett. And Miss Goodnight isn't too keen on becoming Somerset's purse with feet, so she foils their families' attempts to throw her and Richard together at every turn. To make matters worse, the reason Lord Somerset fell off the roof in the first place is a secret that threatens to upend all their lives.

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Oct 23, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
108 people found the following review helpful
A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME is the first book in the Somerfield Park series, and if future installments are anything like this little gem, count me in as a loyal reader!

When Richard Barrett, aka Lord Hartley, encounters a blue-eyed chit pruning his grandmother's rose bush, he's flabbergasted by her impertinence! How dare the help speak to him like that! But the obstinate girl is quickly forgotten when he learns that his family coffers are out of money and that his parents have made a deal with a very wealthy businessman to marry his daughter. Distraught, Richard had just been about to propose to his lady love, Lady Antonia. But if he refuses, his land and the people it supports will be in danger. He's pleasantly surprised to find that his ornery gardener and the heiress are one in the same: Miss Sophie Goodnight.

Sophie has zero desire to wed, especially not a man who's never had an original thought in his life. Brought up in India and allowed to run wild, Sophie balks at the expectations and restrictions of the ton, usually to her amusement. She and Richard strike a tenuous deal to band together to thwart the marriage plans, but the pair quickly learns that there's a thin line between love and hate, and that the most passionate of encounters sometimes come from anger. The two of them devise a plan to save Somerset-by-the-Sea, just as others are devising plans to help themselves.

Beyond the typical scandals and rakes and social climbers and manipulations, A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME featured a bit of mystery, some yummy yet tasteful sex and the delightfully catty gossip of the servants (probably my favorite feature of this story). Of course we had the requisite bitchy grandmother with a soft spot for the "wrong" girl (Sophie) and the "right" girl (Antonia) causing all sorts of problems for everyone. Like grandma, I loved Sophie and thought she was one of the more unique characters I've encountered. Raised in India, allowed to run wild, encouraged by her mother to appreciate her body, spoiled by her father and his massive wealth, and deflowered by a man who didn't love her, Sophie was an original through and through for this genre.

Her chemistry with Richard was outstanding, and I found the changes he went through during the course of A RAKE BY ANY OTHER NAME lovely. Though I felt a twinge of anger that he could so easily kiss Sophie when he was "dating" Antonia, that feeling quickly dissipated after bitchy Antonia made out with Richard's BFF and started causing trouble. I felt so bad that Richard, who is pretty much a peacemaker and not at all the rake the title suggests, was stuck in the middle, both of two lovely women, and the future of his estate and family obligations vs. what he wanted out of his life. He felt the weight of the estate on his noble shoulders and he just couldn't deal sometimes. As I mentioned before, the gossipy servants were perfectly done and I enjoyed reading about their hierarchy and gossip and relationships just as much as I did the main players.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to fans of the genre and even those who just like a well written, fun romance.
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