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Monday, July 24, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Rake’s Bargain by Lucy Ashford

the rakes bargain

The Rake’s Bargain by Lucy Ashford
Unabridged; 8 hr. 8 min.
Recorded Books
Charlotte Strevens (narrator)
December 30, 2016
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Heat Rating:
2 flames (1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received from publisher for review

The stage is set
Deborah O'Hara loves her life, leading her troupe of actors. But when she becomes entangled in a web of secrets spun by the rakishly handsome Damian Beaumaris, Duke of Cirencester, she is forced to play the hardest role of her life: that of the stunning but disloyal Paulette, the duke's widowed sister-in-law.

To regain the honor of his family, Beau needs Deb's help. But despite his intentions to let nothing distract him from his plan, he doesn't bargain on the forbidden sparks that fly with his beautiful leading lady….

So I’m 1 for 2 with my Harlequin Historicals experience, which I guess is par for the course, but I was hoping this would be another good one, but alas this was more of a dud.

The opening scenes were pretty good and starts out with really the most action of the whole novel. There is a theft, a near escape, and a kidnapping by bumbling idiots that was rather enjoyable. However, once Beau drags Deb into his game of subterfuge, I began losing interest. The first half of The Rake’s Bargain feels a little like an overplayed rom-com (I personally kept drawing parallels to 90’s favorite She’s All That), which I could get behind if done right: guy uses unsuspecting girl to achieve his end game and doesn’t care what happens to the girl along the way, only for them to fall in love at the end. Unlike the rom-com though, I couldn’t find much of anything romantic or comedic about it. I actually kept wondering all the way through to the end how the heroine could find the guy to be even remotely interesting or could redeem himself. The way he treats her is not something I could overcome regardless of how beautiful he might be. She knows he is using her for an outcome that she can’t justify. I just couldn’t buy into the romantic element, that didn’t even begin to develop until over halfway through the book, because the guy was such an ass all the way through. I kept waiting for something more to happen, particularly for the woman she is supposed to be (Paulette) to show up, now that would have made things interesting!

I did like the heroine though. From the very beginning Deb is looking out for the good of her acting troupe and is willing to put her personal reputation on the line over and over to better their lot. It isn’t everyday that the main character is an actress and it was refreshing to see her use her skills both to delight audiences onstage and to move through this twisted mess with Beau more smoothly.

Ultimately I feel like there was a solid premise here, but it got lost in the details and ultimately wasn’t that enjoyable of a read for me in the end. With a romance you really need to buy into the motives of both of the characters involved and I certainly didn’t find that here.



The saving element for this book was the audio presentation, because without that, I would have probably put it down despite its short length. While I was originally thrown off by the narrator’s accent, it fit appropriately with the setting and after a little bit I grew to accept it. Strevens does make an effort to create different voices for her various characters and pulls off her male voices acceptably (I’ve certainly heard worse!). Her reading pace I found to be appropriate and kept the plot moving. I did find that the pauses between tracks felt longer than necessary; I kept checking my iPod to make sure that it hadn’t accidentally paused on me only to have it then move on to the next track.

You can check out a sample of the audiobook below (link opens to Audible):

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Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Lucy Ashford:

captain and innocent
The Captain and his Innocent

captains courtesan
The Captain’s Courtesan

the major and pickpocket
The Major and the Pickpocket

belle marchmain
The Outrageous Belle Marchmain

The Return of Lord Conistone

the problem with josephine
The Problem with Josephine

Find Lucy Ashford:

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

1 comment:

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