MY FAKE RAKE is the first book in Eva Leigh’s “Union of the Rakes” series, and it’s also the first book I’ve read by this author. The description for this book initially intrigued me because it has a fake romance that turns into the real deal, and that’s my favorite romance trope. It also has a couple who started out as friends but turn into lovers and that’s my second favorite trope. Lady Grace Wyatt’s father takes ill and uses the age-old parental ploy of familial guilt to get his daughter thinking about marriage. Grace’s ideal potential mate is Mason Fredericks. Mason is smart and handsome but has never really seen Grace as a woman. Enter Grace’s guy BFF - anthropologist Sebastian Holloway.
In an effort to get the man she thinks she wants, Grace dreams up a plan to turn her fellow bookish friend Sebastian into a rake. The theory is that somebody cool taking an interest in Grace, will finally get Mason to look at her in a different light. I wasn’t totally sold on that idea, but it prompts Grace and Sebastian to spend some quality time together and give in to the attraction they had for each other when they first met. This very unconventional romance between two friends alternates between sweet and steamy. I like that the story is told from alternating perspectives, since the characters can be slow to reveal their true feelings. There isn’t any villain in MY FAKE RAKE. Instead, the two main characters are only hindered by their reticence to make themselves emotionally vulnerable to each other.
The way in which Eva Leigh gets Grace and Sebastian on the path to romance seems very convoluted to me, but the characters make this book worth reading. While the tropes in this romance novel are classics, the characters are multifaceted and surprising in the best ways. Mason – the man Grace is longing for at the beginning of this tale – doesn’t really have hidden jerk-like tendencies, as would be expected in this type of story. While you can’t help rooting for the hero, even he grudgingly admits that Mason is kind of an ok guy. Sebastian’s friend Rotherby is a duke but he’s also a loyal friend who plays Cupid and can take some friendly ribbing.
MY FAKE RAKE is an enchanting tale of friendship and true love. I adore how Sebastian respects Grace’s intellect and capability when it comes to being a herpetologist. I would love to read about how Grace’s sister and friend Jane found their spouses, as well as Sebastian’s friends in future stories. I look forward to reading the next book in Eva Leigh’s “Union of the Rakes” series.
In the first book in Eva Leigh's new Union of the Rakes series, a bluestocking enlists a faux suitor to help her land an ideal husband only to be blindsided by real desire…
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...
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.