Monday, July 25, 2011
Rakes and Radishes
Carina Press, 2010
Source: Received a free ecopy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
This started out very promising and then took a very different (and to me, unwelcome) turn. Henrietta thinks she is in love with her cousin Edward, who has left her for London in order to try to publish his poetry. She eagerly awaits his return so that they can conquer London as a married couple. However she receives a rude awakening upon reading that Edward almost successfully eloped with the Beauty of the Season. Her neighbor, the Earl of Kesseley, has been in love with Henrietta for as long as he can remember but while they are friends, she scorns his country bumpkin clothing and his honest, compassionate manner. See, Henrietta reads Gothic novels and desires a rakish hero such as described in them.
So I liked the beginning and the early part of the book as Kesseley attempted to fit in while still maintaining his good character. He likes farming, he's kind, and so what if he doesn't know the latest fashion? I didn't care! But Henrietta fails to see what is right in front of her and Kesseley ends up committing himself to becoming the worst rake. He gets a new haircut, new clothes, and a new *mysterious* personality, which successfully woes the Beauty of the Season. Meanwhile Henrietta has to stand aside and watch the nice man she knew act more like his father. Because Kesseley acts so poorly, he almost ends up betrothed to someone else and the relationship between the main couple was not well-developed. All I saw was two people seemingly intent on inflicting as much pain as possible on the person they claimed to love and want to marry.
There are also two subplots involving their parents. Kesseley's father was an awful rake who abused his mother while his now-widowed mother has an affair with a married man and laments her lost true love. She had some interesting mood swings and her treatment of the main couple was...interesting. Henrietta's father was more interesting to me; he and his now dead wife were astronomers and they mathematically attempted to prove the existence of a planet beyond Uranus. He didn't play a very big part.
Overall: A different kind of romance, which was not to my taste.
Read for ebook challenge.