Reforming the Rake
At one point in this book, Charles Summerson’s friend Jack says to him: “Summerson, I will never figure out how your mind works.” I never did figure Charles out, and he quite ruined the book for me.
Beatrice Sinclair is 23 years old and almost on the shelf despite being quite a diamond. She’s beautiful, intelligent, the daughter of a viscount, and has had several offers of marriage, all of which she refused. Beatrice wants to marry for love and hasn’t felt love for any of her suitors. But since her father has been grumbling about her unmarried state, she comes to London with her aunt Louisa for one last Season determined that she will find a husband. And if she doesn’t love him – well, maybe she’ll at least like him.
Louisa’s next-door neighbor is Charles Summerson, the Marquess of Pelham, a rake’s rake. He sees Bea one day in the garden and is struck by her beautiful ankles. When he meets her at some of the Season’s functions, he is struck by the rest of her beautiful self. Charles is a rake, and has no desire to settle down, but he is powerfully attracted to Bea. When he comes on to her too strongly, she runs back home. Charles follows, and her father, his mother and several others catch them in a compromising position. So he promises to marry her – all the time swearing that he will never love her.
Beatrice is a pleasant enough heroine although there is nothing to distinguish her from the mob of pleasant enough heroines who populate Regency-land. The scenes when she was with her family were charming and I enjoyed them much more than the ones where she was with Charles. Frankly, I wondered what she saw in him.
Charles’s mind was a hodgepodge of illogic. He is a former spy (Regency romance land is simply crawling with them) who fears that an old enemy of his is still out there. Said enemy never shows up and is conveniently dispatched off-stage. He is scarred by the deaths of his father and brother, fears his own death, and doesn’t want children as not only might they die, they might cause the death of their mother. Too bad there were no shrinks around back then – Sigmund, Carl and Alfred would have loved to analyze him. Charles vacillates for some time until he decides he loves Bea and then poof – all his fears are gone. It’s a good thing Bea is a sensible woman; clearly she’ll have her hands full with him.
Reforming the Rake gets the titles for the characters wrong – Charles is Lord Pelham, not Lord Summerson, and at one point Bea refers to a city block, a term not used at this time period. There are lots and lots of Regency-set historical romances out there, many of which are very good. I suggest the reader try one of them and give this one a pass.