What a Widow Desires – “A Rake’s Guide to Seduction” by Caroline Linden
Imagine my surprise when, a few pages into “A Rake’s Guide to Seduction,” by Caroline Linden, I realized it was a sequel to another book I read this month – “What a Rogue Desires.”
The previous book dealt with the wealthy Reece family’s scoundrel son, David, and his attraction to/relationship with a street thief named Vivian.
This new book, “A Rake’s Guide..” is the story of David’s younger sister Celia.
Beautiful and spunky Celia is the belle of the ball during her Season in London. She accepts a marriage proposal from a dreamy young man, and marries him. A few unhappy years pass before the young husband dies. Depressed, Celia returns to her family home and her doting Mother’s beliefs that a large party will make everything all better. All of the family friends and acquaintances arrive for the week-long party, including Anthony Hamilton, a gambler/womanizer friend of Celia’s brothers. Of course, Anthony has been harboring feelings for Celia since her first Season in London (and even asked for permission to ask her to marry him just a few hours too late!) and their relationship takes off like a rocket.
Seriously. In the middle of some naughtiness in the library, they’re walked in on. This is when the idea that Anthony should marry Celia comes in. Neither wants to force the other into marriage, though they can’t deny their attraction to each other.
Then, for some reason, there’s a woman claiming to be Anthony’s wife and to have his child – and a jealous young man with debts and a gun. The ending gets a little chaotic, and like Ms. Linden was trying to milk every possible bit of excitement out of these characters. By the end, it’s all gone back to normal and of course there’s a wedding.
I enjoyed “What a Rogue Desires” way more than “A Rake’s Guide to Seduction.” I recognize that several of the books in this genre are obviously going to be somewhat formulaic, but this one didn’t keep me hooked. Celia and Anthony are nowhere near as fun a couple as David and Vivian were.
Caroline Linden is super at writing these types of books, but I think this one just never finds its real focus. Is it a book about a forbidden marriage? If so, it’s not really that forbidden? Is it about Anthony’s past? If so, Celia doesn’t really care about it. The book lacks a pulsing central conflict to keep a reader burning to read more.
SuchABookNerd Smut Index: 5. Other than a few moments of steam, there’s not much to get hyped about.