Friday, February 20, 2009

The Demon Rake - Gayle Buck


Incredibly handsome Lord Damion St. Claire made no secret of his nature—or of his intentions toward lovely young widow Lady Victoria March. He was the most incorrigible womanizer in all the realm and Victoria was merely another potential conquest.

However, Damion's powerful uncle, Sir Aubrey St. Claire, had an entirely different proposition for Victoria: To save the St. Claire name, Victoria should become Damions wife in a marriage that would give Victoria title and fortune, at the price of enduring a wedded lifetime of infidelity.

Surrender her honor to a man who made her senses swim? Or exchange vows with a man certain to break his? How could Victoria say yes to either pernicious proposal? Yet why was it so hard to say no...?

I did enjoy this book very much. It had determined characters with strong personalities. Lady Victoria March comes to England to visit the father of her dead husband on his invitation. She was at first regarded as a fortune hunter but now the old man wants to make amends. On the way over she meets Damion St. Claire who, as a relative and not knowing she has been invited, treats her as the low birth fortune hunter he believes he is. Lady Victoria however is not about to let him mistreat her so and maintains her composure. Once they get to the March home however he realizes he was quite mistaken about her and she discovers her father in law as passed away but is invited to stay for a while by his brother, who also tells her of his late brother's plan to have Victoria and Damion marry.

Despite this bad start Damion and Victoria are attracted to each other from the beginning. But since he is known to be a devilish rake, a reputation he clearly embraces, she is determined to keep him at a distance and from the beginning refuses to take the late Earl of March's plan seriously. Soon they are joined by Damion's cousin, his wife and her sister who his actively pursuing Damion.

I think what makes the story so good is how they start to get to know each other slowly, without hidden motivations. By chance they have to live in the same house and so it's inevitable that they spend some time together and like what they see in the other.

I did feel though that the book dragged a bit in the middle. When it seems clear that they love each other and are on the way of revealing their feelings the author introduces an element of surprise and the last part of the book is shadowed by the love triangle I mentioned earlier. I don't think was really needed but I must say she wrote an interesting second woman, not totally a villain, and hinting of a happy ending for her.

One thing annoyed me though. The heroine is mentioned as being half portuguese but her name was spanish and so was her father's name. That was really weird. Unless Gayle Buck thinks we speak spanish...

Grade: 4/5




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