Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh

Unrated | 384 pages | Avon | Historical Romance | 11/26/2019 | 
Mason Fredericks is the man of Lady's Grace's dreams and while he might not notice her now he won't be able to look away when he sees her being wooed by her colleague Sebastian Holloway an anxious anthropologist she plans to turn into her perfect rake with the help of Sebastian's childhood friend the Duke of Rotherby. Seb and Grace's feelings for each other might be more real than they expected. Basically, this book is about everybody trying to get out of the friend zone.

I like a historical romance that doesn't take itself that seriously and Grace and Seb take their intense study of high society so seriously that it's played off as comedic while Rotherby plays the straight man.  It's not all fun and games though as Lady Grace also helps Sebastian manage his social anxiety and step outside the box.

The sort of overly academic nerdiness takes a back seat as Grace and Seb struggle with their true feelings. It's one of those books where if they just TALKED to each other it would save a lot of trouble.

Leigh adds layers to this "love triangle" I think it's easy in a romance novel to make the "not-hero" either wildly unfit for the heroine or a jerk, but Leigh humanizes both of the men in a way that was refreshing.

This is my first time reading Leigh and her style takes some liberties, (in the not so realistic but kind of realistic world of historical romance). I don't feel like Seb, Rotherby, and Grace could have really spent all that time alone together and the language felt too modern at times.

Leigh doesn't let her historical romance sit in a vacuum. She points out race and inequality in a conversational way and of course, Seb is a bit of a woke bae; he takes time out of the plot to explain why he doesn't smoke tobacco, why he only goes on missions that protect indigenous lands and he also makes sure he goes on expeditions that include lady scientist.

I feel like I learned about Zoey Archer debuting as a historical romance writer on the Smart Books, Trashy Podcast like yesterday and she has a growing backlist now. This book kicks off her 80's movie-inspired series about a set of boarding school boys who met in detention.


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