Continuing with The Rights and Responsibilities Challenge:
12) Be a stripper or go to a strip club.
Read a romance in which one or both of the protagonists is considered to have an “unsavory” profession, pursuit, or lifestyle for their time … or any time. For instance, an actress in the 1800’s, a bootlegger in the 1920’s, a mistress or gigolo, a jewel thief or con artist, a muckraker or gossip columnist. It’s all relative!
For this requirement of the challenge, my romance book group helped out by choosing to read Cat Sebastian’s The Ruin of a Rake, published in 2017. This book features a M/M romance set in the regency period.
Ruin of a Rake is a book that’s part of a series, which becomes somewhat obvious to the reader as there are characters that clearly have an interesting backstory which we don’t learn a lot about in this novel. In any event, this book focuses on a business-minded, financially successful member of the ton, who grew up in India but who has returned to England with his sister. Neither of the pair seems entirely happy with the decision. Julian’s sister Eleanor is escaping what appears to be an unsuccessful marriage and Julian is hoping the weather in England will cure him of his debilitating, chronic illness. While both of these reasons are real, they are only partially true, That being said, Julian does find something else that interests him upon his return. For one, he has become an expert at working British society, ingratiating himself into it despite his business background and lack of title and, for another, his sister introduces him to the notorious rake, Lord Courtenay, who needs Julian’s help. Courtenay, an equal opportunity seducer, wants to gain the respect of his peers in order to allow him the company of his young nephew — the son of the sister he loved and lost — who is under the guardianship of his sister’s widowed husband. With Julian’s knowledge of the ton and his business smarts, Courtenay hopes to seek his help in gaining back enough of the respect of his circle, as well as some of his inheritance, to once again be a part of his nephew’s life. As for Julian, Courtenay is not totally unknown to him. The man has fascinated him from afar, and now, with their conspiring to help Courtenay, Julian is getting to know him in a way he never dreamed.
As I mentioned, this story has a number of supporting characters that, to the author’s credit, are equally interesting. Although the relationship between Julian and Courtenay is certainly worthy, we are given only hints of the one between Julian’s sister and her husband, which teases the reader. Plus, it’s pretty clear that some of the other characters have stories which probably have been told in other books, and are only suggested at here — which is fine, but honestly it seemed like the author could’ve filled in the blanks a little bit more, especially since the book is only 295 pages. In any event, I would’ve appreciated knowing more about Julian’s sister’s story, at least. Furthermore, although Courtenay reveals himself to be a fundamentally decent person who eventually gets control of his life with the help of Julian, it annoyed me how passive he was in righting his situation, and how much he relied on Julian. It seemed a little strange that he was a titled man, with property, and a seat in Parliament and yet he let people just walk all over him. I enjoyed this story, but I think I wanted a bit more context regarding some of the other characters and a bit more backbone from one of our heroes. I would give this story a B/B+.
The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 10 down, 8 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E …)
Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 3 down, 15 to go