Title: How to Rescue a Rake
Author: Jayne Fresina
Series: Book Club Belles #3
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: Jan 5th
HOW TO RESCUE A RAKE:
Reject his marriage proposal
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate’s mysterious new wealth has the town’s rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana’s attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry “any suitable girl” under the age of 25.
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate’s return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can’t help but feel in Nate’s presence…and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.
But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention-and her heart.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
Jane Austen’s Persuasion is one of my favourite books. I am an enormous fan of Austen anyway, but Persuasion has an added touch of melancholy and romance that gets me every time. I can certainly see why an author might like to base their own tale on that one, adding a few more modern twists here and there. That’s okay, I can appreciate and even enjoy that. However, I don’t need to be constantly reminded about it by having great chunks of Persuasion scattered throughout the text. Yes, yes, it’s all very clever and look how this story is mirroring that, and oh, she’s just like Anne Elliot isn’t she? Except she’s not and it isn’t clever, it’s just annoying and reduced my enjoyment of this book considerably.
Which is a shame, because if it hadn’t been for the constant smacks around the head with the other book, I could have really enjoyed this – although a few less Persuasion moments might have been nice, the fall in particular felt really unnecessary for this plot. The opening half is really quite melancholy, with Diana feeling all hopeless and old and overlooked, and Nate likewise feeling hurt and confused and not knowing what he wants. Nate is an unrepentant charmer while Diana is brisk and brusque and does everything she can to be mean to him. If the story had carried on in this vein it might have sunk beneath its own hopelessness.
Thankfully Bath comes to the rescue! I loved how Diana was transformed away from her mother. True, her cousin Elizabeth is awful and tries to drag her constantly downwards, but she nevertheless manages to blossom and I liked seeing that. I also liked how Nate listens to her. He’s actually pretty sweet and the way he loves Diana is all kinds of adorable.
The whole seduction moment felt a little out of place with the rest of the slow build up and careful Persuasion reenactments, but overall I liked how their romance progressed and they finally sorted out their feelings for one another. Even if Diana could have tried to be a little nicer more often. On the whole, though, this is sweet. It’s my first read from this author, but I don’t think it will be my last.
How to Rescue a Rake is out January 5th!
Visit Jayne Fresina for more details.