Sunday, September 28, 2008
Review: A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE
What do you get when you combine beautifully written prose, two fascinating, well-drawn protagonists, a seemingly fresh plot, and some of the hottest sex this side of erotica?? Easy....you get Victoria Dahl's latest historical romance, A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE (Zebra Books). I can sum up my reaction to this book in one word: WOW!
I don't like to summarize plots in my reviews--just to say why a book worked (or didn't work) for me, so excuse the lack of plot summary. What I will tell you is that the book's lead characters, Emma and Hart, are fascinating characters. And equally important, they are *believable* characters. Their conflict seemed real, not at all contrived, and they behaved in ways that seemed real, given their past experiences. And though Hart is a duke and Emma is far below him in rank and circumstance, they come off as equals in many respects, and I liked that.
And what was really clever about that 'equality' is that, once again, it wasn't contrived. It wasn't even anachronistic. Hart was a duke and expected to get his way, as any duke would. He took advantage of his position. He commanded and stomped about, all ducal-like. And yet, somehow, I never felt that he treated Emma as a 'lesser.' And Emma was a strong, likeable heroine without becoming one of those caricature 'spunky' heroines that are so common in historical romance.
And the naughty parts?? Smokin' hot! And there were LOTS of naughty parts, mind you. Really, really naughty! (read Ms. Dahl's MySpace blog entry about a particular scene that scandalized her husband!) Suffice it to say that this book had sexy stuff I've never before read in a mainstream (as in, non-erotic) romance. And you know what? It worked. It fit this story, these characters. It wasn't at all gratuitous--each love scene moved the plot forward; irrevocably changed the characters, developed them.
I'm pretty sure I've never read a romance like this one--love scenes, plot, characters, etc. It was just different. In so many ways. Fresh. Unique.
All in all, I adored A RAKE'S GUIDE TO PLEASURE. Everything about it. Probably one of my favorite historical romances *ever*, and without a doubt, Hart has made my short list of all-time-favorite romance heroes. Yes, he's that delicious!
So, get thyself to the bookstore, pronto, and pick up a copy--if you haven't already. And if you have already read it, I'd love to hear what you thought!
Posted by Kristi Cook at 2:58 PM