from our DIK review:Caroline Linden has created a truly beautiful love story between two people whose lives haven’t been easy or turned out as they hoped. Celia’s depression is sympathetically and realistically presented, as is her growth from someone blinded by a childish ideal of love to a more mature woman who is able to recognise and accept real, deep love and affection. Her worry that because she made the wrong choice once she may do so again is understandable, but ultimately, she doesn’t allow that fear to control her and I found her willingness to open her heart again to be admirable.As for Anthony… well, he’s dreamy. *sigh* He’s no saint, but he’s no rake, either; his reputation is largely the result of gossip and misunderstanding which, because of his reluctance to discuss it has become a self-perpetuating myth. Over the years he has learned to ignore what is said of him; as he tells Celia, even if he told the truth, nobody would believe him. One of the loveliest moments in the book is the point at which Celia realises he has never had anyone in his corner to stand up for him, and then determines she will be that person.The romance between Celia and Anthony is beautifully developed, and there’s never any question they are perfect for one another and that their love for each other is genuine. The author writes with insight about society marriages of the time through the words and attitudes of Celia’s friends who have become bitter and bitchy; and I rather liked the hint of a romance blossoming between her somewhat starchy mother and Anthony’s big, braw, Scottish uncle.The book’s one flaw is in the sudden plot twist thrown in near the end, which is why I ended up not giving it a straight A grade; the story doesn’t really need it, although I did appreciate it as an opportunity for Celia to show her faith in Anthony in the face of the doubts exhibited by everyone around her.Caroline Linden is a ‘must-read’ author for me these days, and she’s one of a handful of historical romance authors who is able to craft a satisfying love story that functions within the social conventions of the time and in which the characters are believably rooted in the nineteenth century rather than being a group of twenty-first century people in period dress. Finding time to read favourite authors’ back-catalogues is difficult given the number of new books I read and review, but I’m really glad I made time for this one. A Rake’s Guide to Seduction is highly recommended.
Grade: A-Check Review