A Good Rake is Hard to Find kicks off a new series from one of my favourite historical romance authors, Manda Collins. This new series is obviously inspired by Sons of Anarchy, since it revolves around a notorious curricle racing club, Lords of Anarchy. Perhaps you might think this is a ridiculous set up, and I would agree, but only if you mean ridiculously awesome!
When Miss Lenora Craven’s brother, Jonathan, dies in an “accident” while racing with the club, Lenora refuses to believe that her brother didn’t have help in arriving to his fatal accident. If Lenora wants to infiltrate the club and discover the truth she’s going to need help, unfortunately the man that she trusts to help her, Lord Frederick Lisle, is none other than her former fiancé, who was none too pleased when she broke things off.
Like Lenora, Frederick is unconvinced that Jonathan really met with an accident. Frederick and his two friends were already planning on launching their own investigation when Lenora ask for his help. At first, Frederick isn’t pleased to work with Lenora; she broke their engagement without ever giving him a reason, so she’s not exactly his favourite person. However, before too long, Frederick finds himself right back where he was, engaged to Lenora, but this time he has no intention of letting her end things, at least without telling him why.
Like Collins’ previous trilogies, A Good Rake is Hard to Find combines both romance and intrigue. And as usual, this combination works very well, even if readers are left with loose ends – gotta read the next book, after all. The mystery surrounding Jonathan’s death is what brings Lenora and Frederick back together, but it’s Lenora’s secrets that pack the emotional impact that makes this one a strong romance. Lenora has a very good reason for breaking off her previous engagement with Frederick and she is determined not to reveal that secret or to allow their new faux engagement to become a reality. Frederick for his part has grown up over the years and after his initial anger fades, is determined to win Lenora’s trust. This romantic element was well done and it was nice to see a couple in a romance work through their problems with relatively (this is a romance, after all) little angst.
My only complaint with this one is that the structure got me anticipating the next book in the series! Collins’ introduces both the heroes and the heroines of the next two books in A Good Rake is Hard to Find, and the problem with these breadcrumbs is that it often has me looking forward to the next book at the expense of the book that I’m already reading. Not really a bad thing since it certainly means that I will most definitely be reading the next book – although I would rather not have to wait for it!
A Good Rake is Hard to Find is a great installment in a new series. Yes, the premise is a touch outrageous, but that’s the kind of thing that I enjoy. The romance was touching and the angst was minimal, making this one a good read for those looking for more of a romantic suspense, historical-style.
*Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
If you like the reunited lovers trope, you can’t go wrong with Sabrina Jeffries’ If the Viscount Falls. This one follows another broken engagement as well as a bit of mystery. I loved it! See my full review.
For another reunited loves historical romance try Tracey Devlyn’s Night Storm. I think this one will appeal to fans of Collins’ since Devlyn also focuses on the mystery and suspense a little more than your typical historical romance. See my full review.