My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh

My Fake Rake: The Union of the Rakes by Eva Leigh
Publisher: Avon Books from Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (366 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Review by Honeysuckle

Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to “build” the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace’s colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.

To further his own research on English society, Sebastian agrees to let Grace transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace’s feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn’t asked him to help her marry someone else…
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Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he’s faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.

There’s only one thing a self-sufficient and book smart lady of the ton can do when she simply must marry a fellow naturalist but he only sees her as a colleague. She sets out to make him notice her by way of a fake romance. Nobody is better suited for a fake romance than your best guy friend, right?

This was one of those books that, when finished, was honestly satisfying. The character development was there. I truly liked both Grace and Sebastian as well as the side characters introduced throughout the story. Especially the Duke of Rotherby. He’s an interesting player in this game Grace and Sebastian play out before all of London society. I was tickled to note that his story will come out next year and I’ll be sure to watch for it. Some lovely miss is going to tie him in knots and it will fun to watch.

Also, I realized I need to go back and look at some of Ms. Leigh’s prior books to see if some of the other happily married couples I met had their happily ever afters already told. That’s how I often find some of my new future favorite story tellers. By reading their series completely out of order.

I particularly liked this story because, while the premise wasn’t new (I’ve ready plenty of the ‘fake romance to win the hero’ tropes in historical romance) the personalities and family dynamics of these characters stood out to me. Grace is allowed to venture into what most people of the time period would have considered “a man’s world”. She’s smart and interested in learning all she can in the field of zoology. Sebastian is also a man of science but he’s more in the habit of studying people and cultures. I think the author made that distinction an important part of this book. Sebastian sees Grace in way others don’t. It was a sweet courtship to watch even when they didn’t realize it was a courtship.

There’s some pretty funny scenes involving some scandalous dirty words and dancing in the rain. Historical romance lovers will enjoy the dialogue as well the story itself. Well developed and an unexpected yet delightful ending.

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