The Perfect Rake came out in 2005 and I heard good things about it, but hadn't got round to picking up a copy until this year. It was a marvellous antidote to Private Arrangements, because although people did behave in a doo-lally way, it was consistent with the world of the novel and with their characters. Not a spock moment in sight, and as a bonus, some lovely secondary characters, notably the sweet Great-Uncle Oswald who conceals considerable shrewdness behind a dapper, frivolous front, and the slimy Phillip who is a terrifically unpleasant fiancé for the heroine to dispense with before she can enjoy True Leurv.
The dialogue was sparky and funny, the story rocketed along at a fair old pace and the motivations of characters were effectively drawn without being a seminar in Psych 101. On All About Romance, the reviewer was a little discomforted by the contrast between sunny romance and the darker situation of the heroine and her sisters who were initially at the mercy of their extremely brutal grandfather, but that didn't bother me as it gave rock solid reasons for the heroine's initial behaviour. And Gideon, our hero, is a terrific hero, and we are shown exactly how and why he loves Prudence. It was a pleasure to race through this one. But now, duty calls. Breakfast, tidying of boys' pits, dispensing with the remnants of the out of control forsythia that was triffiding up the garden, etc etc. Sigh. In the meantime, many thanks, Anne Gracie, for riding to the rescue of historical romance's reputation and coming up with a delightful frothy confection. I'm delighted to discover that I've got three sequels and the start of a new series by Gracie to catch up with. Huzzah.