Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: A Rake By Midnight By Gail Ranstrom

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
A Rake By Midnight By Gail Ranstrom

His Desire Is To Keep Her As His Mistress!

James Hunter cannot forget the night he rescued Eugenia O’Rourke from a terrifying ordeal - how she felt in his arms, warm and vulnerable. Now working in the Home Office by day, he doesn’t find it difficult to assume the role of her rake protector by night...

Gina is painfully aware that James witnessed her deepest humiliation. Her biggest fear was her captor’s return, but as midnight strikes she’s more afraid of being the object of James’s pity.


I do enjoy Regency Noir, there is something inherently fascinating about proper British society's well hidden slimy underbelly.
And the author plunges us right into the muck and mire as our heroine Gina O'Rourke is rescued from some sick, debauched blood ritual, by mysterious hooded males of the ton. A sick society called the Wyvern Brotherhood. She was literally, the virgin sacrifice.

The hero who rescues her is James Hunter, to her everlasting moritifcation, he seen her naked!
And she cannot escape his company, his brother is married to her sister. Awkward indeed.
And add to that, the way the handsome James Hunter makes her feel warm all over when he is near.
The awkwardness is addressed right out of the gate, James is flummoxed why Gina is so stanoffish, in his mind, he acted the perfect gentleman, trying to shield her modesty and such.

James to Gina: I thought you and Isabella were so brave that night, to hunt down your sister killers. I felt nothing but admiration for you. And for that, you shun me?

Gina realizes he is right, no more cowering in the dark, she was going to claim her life back.

And for Jamie? Well, he cannot forget the feelings that went through him that night when he rescued her. Lust and obsession were gripping him, kindling a deep burn in his soul.

This is certainly a great start to this Regency Noir, but somewhere along the way, it softened for me, lost its edge. Perhaps it was the heroine's obsession with trying to find out if she was still a virgin or not, was she raped while she was under the influence of a drug? While her bold determination to track down those hooded figures of the ton does her credit, it got tedious. As each man she tracks down is summarily killed.
Also, we know who the villain is right at the beginning, took some of the mystery out of it. And seducing Jamie to see if she was still a virgin, was a head scratcher. Apparently, she is obsessed as well. But, after the deed, Jamie will not tell her, to his mind, it shouldn't matter.

The action all culminates with a showdown with the villain Henley, and revelations of who assisted him in his nasty deeds and blackmail schemes.

While I found this a satisfactory read, it did not hold to the promised beginning to me, it seemed to run out of steam. The Noir was rather...lite. And while James Hunter was a good hero, Gina left me cold.

Solid characterizations, a thoroughly good read, but it could have been so much better.

2 and 3/4 stars out of 4 for the book

KOVER KUDOS: Pleasant enough cover, but somewhat uninspiring.

2 out of 4 stars for the cover

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