Celia Reece knew Anthony well before he forged his scandalous reputation. The young man she remembers spoke kindly to her, made her laugh, and his devilish good looks always quickened her pulse. But Celia's mother had other designs—designs that didn't include marriage to Anthony. Now Celia is widowed, and her mother is intent on finding her a new husband. Refusing to let any obstacle stand in his path this time, Anthony sets out to win Celia's heart by using the same skills that made him London's most irresistible rake…
Caroline Linden’s A Rake’s Guide to Seduction is a twist on the second chance romance. The novel is part of the Reece family series and was originally published in 2008. Ms. Linden’s books are on my keeper shelves because I enjoy her descriptive writing style and her engaging characters - - and this book did not disappoint.
I adored Anthony Hamilton as he wasn’t what everyone in society assumed him to be. The author never misses an opportunity for someone to mention that Anthony sleeps with married women, gambles and is wealthy. Anthony Hamilton fascinated English society. Celia Reece loves to hear about her childhood friends escapades and has promised her mother than she would not associate with Mr. Hamilton. Caroline Linden takes a chance with the storyline in A Rakes Guide to Seduction when Celica marries Lord Andrew Bertram, not Anthony Hamilton. Celia and Bertie travel to the country to live with Bertie’s aging father. During the next four years, Celia records the details of her life in her journal. In the journal she describes her heartbreaks; her husband constantly ignores her, she is not allowed to visit London for the season and most importantly, she is unable to get pregnant. Bertie prefers to hunt, fish and party and Celia takes on the role of caregiver to Bertie’s father.
Anthony Hamilton is invited to a house party given by Duke of Exeter. Celia’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Exeter has invited a group of Celia’s friends to the house party to cheer up her newly widowed daughter. Anthony and Celia get a second chance to renew their friendship. Loved that Anthony understood how lonely and out of place Celia felt at her own party. His anonymous notes were heartfelt and showed he cared for her. Anthony kept to himself at the house party but his actions indicated his feelings towards Celia. The couple’s chemistry sizzles --- but do they have a chance for happiness? Most of Celia’s family and friends believe that Anthony is a womanizing gambler. Will Celia believe in their love or make another mistake?
There were a lot of minor characters in the book. I enjoyed catching up with the Reece family members but I thought Rosalind, Celia’s mother, overplayed her hand with respects to Anthony. It was hard to keep track of Celia’s former friends and their husbands. I did enjoy Anthony’s uncle and her niece Molly. I liked that the author used the journal to move the story forward by four years. This plot device worked as the reader saw how Celia matured during her marriage while her husband’s life wasn’t changed at all. Loved the subtle storyline that the author wrote throughout the novel—about not judging people for their actions, not by their title, clothes or their fortune. Ms. Linden does a great job balancing the romance between Anthony and Celia and the house party intrigue. There were a few surprises at the end of the book which added to my enjoyment of it!
Check out Caroline Linden's website here for the first chapter of the book!
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by the publisher.