A gentleman by day…
Phineas Betcham, Viscount Fenhurst is one of the country’s most eligible bachelors…which – to the heartbreak of each season’s new debutantes – is the way he intends to keep it. Because the broodingly handsome Viscount has vowed to keep emotions out of the bedchamber. And he is a man who always stays true to his word.
So when Penelope Rosebery arrives at his home, impoverished and in need of help, Phin is every inch the gentleman. But, beneath the surface, Penelope stirs a protective and passionate instinct within him. With her untamed beauty and lack of social ties, she’s something of a wildflower – delicate, spontaneous, and rare. And before long, Phineas finds himself tempted to abandon his rulebook…and leave etiquette behind until daybreak.
I think I’ve reached a point where I’ve binged on so many Regency romances I expect something… more… when I read. The Midnight Rake had an interesting premise, and I really appreciated that more effort was taken to use British English (something too many authors in this genre overlook). However, there were a few points in the book where I asked myself if I wanted to continue reading – I felt like I’d already read this story dozens of times in the past year.
There’s a reason the Regency is still the preferred setting for historical romance. It has the elegance and the manners and the balls and the pretty clothes. This book delivers on all those counts, and throws in the usual gang of titled hunks to boot. I liked the heroine and felt for her plight. Many people will really enjoy the story.
Something that annoys me in historical romance is the titled gentleman who doesn’t want to marry. It’s an anachronistic attitude; every man with a title knew he had to marry and he was raised to believe in protecting the title at all costs (so, a wife and a houseful of sons!). It wasn’t as if it hampered a man’s lifestyle in any way – he still carried on with his socialising and mistresses!
Our hero was one of those anachronistic men allergic to marriage…
I feel bad blaming this particular book for my genre fatigue, but there you have it! I just felt that there was nothing here that made The Midnight Rake stand out from the crowd. The language was a little more formal, which was a nice change, and made scenes feel more period-appropriate. Though there were still gottens all over the place, and speciality became specialty, a great deal of care was taken to eliminate other Americanisms (pavement/sidewalk, for example).
I suppose these days when I pick up a historical romance I’m looking for something original, and there just wasn’t enough originality for me here.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.