Saturday, June 22, 2013

Review: A Counterfeit Betrothal/The Notorious Rake by Mary Balogh

Title: A Counterfeit Betrothal (and) The Notorious Rake
Author: Mary Balogh
Source: FirstReads
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: Novel (x2)
Release Date: April 30, 2013
Reviewer: Jasmyn

A Counterfeit Betrothal
Lady Sophia Bryant has no intention of marrying anytime soon.  Her one desire is to reunite her parents, who have been estranged for fourteen years.  Surely, if she happens to announce her betrothal - even a false one - they will be forced to see each other.  Devilishly handsome Lord Francis Sutton seems perfect for such deceit, always agreeable to games of passion in which he has nothing to lose.  The trap is set - if only Lady Sophia can keep her foolish heart from falling prey to her brilliant snares.

The Notorious Rake
Lord Edmund Waite is everything that Lady Mary Gregg despises: lewd, lascivious, mocking - the most incorrigible and successful rogue around.  A bluestocking like her would never tempt a man whose taste runs to pretty playthings - so Mary is startled to find herself the object of Lord Edmund's desires.  Even more surprising is her reaction to his shocking advances.  She may be a lady, but this man knows so well how to make her feel like a woman.

A Counterfeit Betrothal is a fantastic story - it would have gotten 5 stars if it had been by itself.  Lady Sophia and Lord Francis are the perfect couple, and have been since they were kids tormenting each other.  When Sophia gets the crazy idea to pretend to be betrothed to him to try and get her parents back together after 14 years apart, he's more than happy to help with her scheme.  But things take an interesting turn when they realize they may actually like each other.  God forbid either admits it - in fact Lady Sophia is quite humorous when she tries to convince herself and Francis - I was laughing so hard I nearly cried.  It was the perfect young romance blooming between childhood friends (sort of).  There was even a bit of a side story with Sophia's parents, but the young ones outshone them hands down.

The Notorious Rake was a little too much of what I consider to be a stereotypical historical romance.  Roguish gentleman meets stand up lady and tries to get her into bed - only he ends up falling in love instead.  This second story in the book is what brought the overall rating down for me.  I had a hard time relating to either character, and it seemed like it was a story I had heard many times before.

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