Monday, May 4, 2009

THE NOTORIOUS RAKE - MARY BALOGH

The Lady and the Libertine

Lord Edmund Waite was everything that Lady Mary Gregg despised in a man. He was lewd, lascivious, mocking---the most notorious and successful rake in the realm. Happily, Mary had nothing to fear from this lord of libertines. A bluestocking like her could never tempt a man whose taste ran to pretty playthings for his pleasures.

How startled Mary was to find herself the object of Lord Waite's determined desires. But even more surprising was her reaction to his shocking advances. How could she remain a lady with this man who knew so well how to make her feel like a woman.


To my eternal surprise, this is a traditional romance and not a shorter version of a historical. Why do I begin by saying that? Because it needs to be said, I think it’s the most interesting feature of the book – the hero and heroine having sex at the beginning of the book has a tremendous impact over the way their relation develops throughout the story.

Usually I am not that fond of reading about sex scenes at the very beginning, especially when we’re talking about the Regency period and considering that in most books the hero and heroine meet for the first time at the beginning of the story. How can it ring true that the heroine would be that much sex starved to be willing to have sex with a stranger? In 1800 something? Or am I too narrow-minded?! Okay, nevermind that, Mary Balogh sometimes does this kind of plot, and even if I don’t like the excuse she used (heroine terrified of storms finds only one way to fight her fear and that is through sex!!!!! yep, pretty unbelievable), the fact that there was sexual intercourse between hero and heroine makes for a very special developing of the story.

For example, their dialogues are simply great – in my opinion, the best asset of the book. And they couldn’t have been so open and free in speaking if they haven’t had that scene. Another example are the hero and heroine themselves. As said in the blurb, they really are different, at least outwardly. There would have been little chance for them to begin a relation if it weren’t for that particular sex scene. And because it happened then it rings true that Edmond could try to persuade Mary, even harass her a little, just because he wants their affair to continue – they were after all, very compatible in bed.

These were the goodies… sadly there are also some parts that, even if I did not dislike totally, they were a little boring. Like the theme of the rake who is not actually a rake, or the hero’s conflict with his family that gets solved in the end. They were not badly written, but by the time I read the book, I had already read some other great books by this author with these particular themes.

Grade: 4/5

5 comments:

Ana T. May 5, 2009 at 7:36 AM  

Now you've done it Ioana, despite its flaws now I really want to read that book. I must make it a personal challenge to find and read the Balogh's I'm missing from her earlier work.

Ioana May 5, 2009 at 10:22 AM  

I can't believe that you have not read this book yet, Ana. It is after all, one of her famous ones...
as for all her earlier books, I don't think I will ever read them all... and not only because they are very hard to find, but also because some are quite all-fashioned (to put it nicely :))

Ana T. May 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

After reading your review I can't believe I haven't either LOL

So which ones are you deliberately avoiding? Just to see if I read any...

Ioana May 6, 2009 at 11:22 AM  

Mostly, the very early ones, like Red Rose, The double wager, The trysting place (which by the way is a prequel to Notorious Rake!!!), The wood nimph.
Now, to be really honest, if they drop from the sky someday, directly in my arms, I will probably read them, but since chances are very low :), I suppose I will never read them :)

Ana T. May 6, 2009 at 11:32 AM  

I've read The Wood Nymph and I really enjoyed it. I can see its faults but it was so poignant...ah so much agony... I loved it! It would probably make through to the wall but oh well. ;-)

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