Welcome to red wine and books! Where an avid lover of all genres shares with you her opinion on some of the best (and not so great) stories she reads.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Rake and The Rose (A Rake's Mistake #1) by Amelia Clearwater




From Goodreads.com 
Alexander Cromwell finds himself in a position he must quickly correct- he needs a wife. So when his meddling Aunt and stepmother (Yes, and stepmother) Giselle invites ladies and their families to spend the early spring at The Cromwell Estate, he loathes the thought of what is to come. 

A young woman wakes up finding herself lacking not only her memory- but she is in the woods! Frantic and frightened from some unknown force buried in her subconscious, her only clue is her locket which holds her name, Charlotte. 

The Marquess of Cromwell does not belive in Fate, but when he stumbles upon Charlotte during a fox hunt and later trying to flee charges of theft, she inevitably lands into his care and -ahem- lap he is rather put out but highly intrigued. Through poisoning, jealousy, and a horrid kidnapping can they manage to realize that they belong with each other? 

Can he give himself to her? Or will propriety and placement in society keep him from what he wants most? 

Will Charlotte find out who she really is, and what it is that lurks in the darkness of her mind? 

And do either know what the cost truly is for what they want?                                      

                                               *******************

 My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Where oh where to I begin with this novel? There were so many things that I liked about it, and so many things that I didn't that I'm not sure where to begin. 

I suppose I'll start with the good, because there was plenty of it. 

There was tons of witty banter between the characters, and I loved the way Charlotte stood up for herself to Alex and for the things that she wanted even while not knowing who she was, or where she came from. You could tell that she was not someone who would easily fall into the "correct for the times" role of the demure lady, and I adored her for it. 

There was enough mystery, drama, romance and suspense to keep this novel steadily moving forward (if not feeling a bit overdone, but more on that later). I can honestly say that it didn't ever seem to just trail off or become stagnate, there was always something to keep the reader's attention. If nothing else, I was determined to see it through just to see if Charlotte ever got her memory back and if she did what her story was. I knew it had to be something intriguing (and boy was it)! 

Now, on to the bad. 

This novel definitely could have done with a good edit before it was published. There were several instances in this book where the wrong word was used (either "he" instead of "she" or just the wrong word altogether). However, on the whole these were far enough between that they could be overlooked by the majority of readers. My biggest issues were due to the fact that there were several instances of characters speaking and behaving in ways that were highly inappropriate given the time period. 

To begin with, merely the fact that Charlotte (an unaccompanied female) was living with him (in his mothers rooms nonetheless), would have made her a social outcast. Immediately her reputation would have been ruined, and Alex would have been "forced" into a marriage with her long before one actually takes place. Added to that the fact that there were several instances where they were alone together (they even slept together before they got married, resulting in Charlotte becoming pregnant... and still he did not marry her right away). I could just not get through this without rolling my eyes. A lot. 

Another big issue that I found with this novel was that there was just so much going on. Aside from the two leads behaving quite inappropriately, it just seemed to bring in more drama that was not needed to make the book good. I don't want to give too much away, but when characters have lost their memory, are poisoned, kidnapped, give birth, go to war, participate in violence, etc, it ends up (in my opinion) taking away from the overall work instead of adding to it. And don't even get me started on the threads that were left loose (which to be fair would fit nicely in one of the next installments from this author). At times I found myself wondering why the first book wasn't split up into two or more on its own as there seemed to be enough material in the author's head to make this possible. 

Taking all things into consideration, I think this would be an enjoyable (if not longer) read for someone who isn't that familiar with the regency genre (or doesn't care if the characters and settings stray from the norm), but if you are on the opposite end of that spectrum, you probably won't like this one.

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The Rake and The Rose (A Rake's Mistake #1) is available from Amazon.com

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