This Rake of Mine
Like many average books, This Rake of Mine is a little hard to sum up. Overall it was enjoyable, if not exactly breathtaking. I never truly felt drawn into the characters and felt the circumstances surrounding their relationship were a bit silly. In addition, Miranda’s heart/mind battle grew wearing toward the end. All of this added up to an average read.
Miss Miranda Wabberly, a merchant’s daughter, is about to be married to an earl described in her thoughts as unheroic and obtuse. She is barely out of Miss Emery’s Establishment for the Education of Genteel Young Ladies and wants a chance to find her knight in shining armor. She runs to a quiet alcove to wish she was a bit ruined to prevent her lofty marriage. Yes, the old “Be careful what you wish for” adage happens next.
A very drunken Lord John Tremont mistakes her for his mistress because he is too foxed to know the difference. Miranda nearly swoons over his embrace and he has her dress nearly undone when the masses descend upon them. All he really remembers of Miranda is her fiery kiss to go along with her red hair.
Fast forward nine years and Miranda Mabberly is now Miss Jane Porter and a teacher at Miss Emery’s school. Ironically she teaches decorum. After spending some years in the wilds of the north country, banished by her father, Miss Emery offered her a job, but Miranda obviously needed to change her name. Now, with her mother and father dead, and in possession of her inheritance, she is moving to Kent to live a quiet life. She will escort three of her students to Kent since they will be staying there for the summer as well. Felicity, Thalia, and Pippin are quite the trio.
As life will have it, Lord John has also been cast out of society for his ruination of Miranda, and is now known as Mad Jack Tremont. He inherited his eccentric aunt’s manor and no longer spends much time in society. A strange quirk of fate brings Miranda and the girls to his doorstep. He has no idea who Miss Porter is, of course, but Miranda has never forgotten Jack. The three girls, longing for adventure and romance in their teenage hearts, innocently conspire to throw Miranda and Jack together. Jack’s life is full of secrets now, and Miranda and the girls unknowingly put his life at risk with their presence.
Miranda discovers things about Jack and her situation that she never knew, which shed new light on his actions toward her during their first, ill-fated meeting. However, Miranda continues to believe the worst of him, even accuses him of a heinous crime that occurs during their stay without ever asking him his side of the story. This is after she knows he is an honorable man. She continuously marches around in righteous indignation and by doing so endangers his life and the lives of others. This type of behavior drives me crazy. Thankfully, near the end Miranda comes to her senses and realizes what an immature brat she has been and takes steps to rectify her mistakes.
Jack truly is an honorable hero, even if he takes forever to realize Miss Porter’s identity. He is no longer the wastrel, but instead has pledged his life to help others. He takes the matchmaking by the girls in stride and with good humor, knowing they romanticize about finding a suitor for Miranda, and he is drawn to her. It’s a mark of his character that he forgives Miranda for her horrible behavior.
The secondary characters were actually quite funny. Thalia, Felicity and Pippin are quite creative in their endeavors, and when Jack’s butler helps them out, the results are entertaining. However, they couldn’t save the storyline themselves, and when I found myself wondering if an aside kiss between Pippin and a enigmatic secondary character would make for a better book, I knew Miranda and Jack’s story was not destined for anything beyond mediocrity. I truly am hoping for Pippin’s story, so I will look forward to this author’s next book. Since I know Boyle can be great at times, I’ll chalk this one up as a fluke.