How to Ravish a Rake
I have enjoyed reading Vicky Dreiling in the past. I like her sense of humour, which extends to her characters and their stories. While this book has all of that, the majority of the story is about the need to have sex for the primary characters. I couldn’t wait to finish it, just so I did not have to read through yet another repetitive love scene.
Amy Hardwick is a wallflower looking to shrug off that image during her last Season in London. She is hoping for a love match, failing which she may have to return to her parents in the country and marry the local vicar. She has realized that her dress-designing skills can help her get positive attention as a fashion diva, ridding her of the wallflower tag. When a dressmaker offers her money in exchange for her designs, Amy agrees on the condition that the deal is kept secret.
Will Darcett is known as “The Devil” for his rakish ways. He has the travel bug, partly to stay away from his interfering family. He asks his brother for funds to continue traveling, but instead is offered a position as his brother’s steward to earn his living. He then tries to raise money by gambling but ends up losing a fortune instead. He considers marrying an heiress but realizes he is better off admitting the truth and asking for help from his family.
For the brief duration that Will is considering marrying an heiress, he notices Amy Hardwick and attempts to compromise her. She is aware of his rakish tendencies, so she is able to thwart his efforts. Soon after, they are accidentally locked in a wine cellar for an entire night. Will realizes that he feels the need to take care of her as they cuddle and try to stay warm through the night. Soon afterwards, they are forced into marriage.
Amy comes to the marriage without any level of trust in Will, and decides to keep the knowledge of her deal with the dressmaker secret so she can continue saving for an emergency fund. Will comes to the marriage with the realization that he will have to give up his wanderlust and be committed to a job. Amy asks for a courtship period before they consummate the marriage, so they can get to know each other better. She believes that any chance at romance or holding Will’s interest in her will disappear if she gives in to sex. Will agrees to a three-week courtship. The rest of the book is about both of them getting to know each other better, and learning to trust each other.
This book had so much promise in the initial chapters. Wonderful characters (although Will does not fit the description of a rake with any of his behavior), unique personality traits, interesting friends and family. Yet Ms. Dreiling failed to capitalize on any of these strengths. Amy’s dress-designing skills and Will’s wanderlust could have been used to create unique situations that drive the characterization and the story. However, these were completely dropped after the first few chapters. Will and Amy’s courtship was sweet, but the focus of the story and the characters in the middle and end of this book seems to be on how to progress from first base to third. I would almost classify this book semi-erotica had the vocabulary been more explicit.
The highlights of this story truly are the characters. Will’s meddling family is wonderful. Aunt Hester, with her odd fashions and her blunt dialogue, and Grandmamma are absolutely hysterical. I am also very intrigued by Will’s friends, and hope Ms. Dreiling gives them their own books, especially Bell.
This book stands alone as the story, even though it is part of a series. Readers of the series will get some glimpses into characters from both stories.
Overall, this book is charming in parts and forgettable in others. I will continue to look forward to Ms. Dreiling’s next with the hope that it has a stronger plot, with just as much wit and characterization.