I may have mentioned that I wanted to take a short break from paranormal romance and delve back into historical just to change things up a bit. I cast about for recommendations then realized that I had a book by Eileen Dreyer which she recommended after I talked to her at the Giant Book Fair during the Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention. If you have not had the chance to meet her, Eileen Dreyer is hilarious and very well spoken. Her website is easy to navigate, and I recommend checking out her video discussing this very book if you get a chance.
The cover of Once a Rake is definitely historical in nature. A gentleman on the left side of the cover with shorter, dark hair and a clean shaven face is wearing a gray coat with dark maroon lapels, a white undershirt unbuttoned at the neck, and a plaid vest with khaki breeches. The lady facing him and gently stroking his cheek has auburn colored hair in an updo with a few ringlets trailing by her ear, pearl drop earrings and a pearl necklace highlighting her cleavage, and a red wine colored off the shoulder dress with a dip in front that accentuates what God gave her while maintaining her status. Male and female cover models are gazing deeply into one another’s eyes, his hand is nearly upon her hip, and they look like they do not give a damn about anything else going on in the world. The background of the cover is a dark red with the author’s name capitalized in a buttercup/daffodil colored font, a label identifying the book as fourth in the Drake’s Rakes series, and the title in a smaller font below. At the very bottom of the cover sits a recommendation for the book from Teresa Medeiros, another hit-dropping romance author. My only regret for the cover is the male cover model’s lack of conformation to Ian’s imagery, particularly the red hair; otherwise it is a great fit and reflects the content quite well.
I stepped into this series at book four, meaning that I had no idea what was going on prior to book four and I had no emotional investment in any of the characters. Despite the lack of connection with the series, Once a Rake stands alone very well, and I am definitely interested in the rest of the series following this read. Ian’s struggle to survive and overcome the many obstacles that are thrust upon him is admirable, and the heroine is (delightfully) no dishrag, having taken it upon herself to keep the farm running and fend off all threats to the livelihood of those she considers under her protection. The back story for both the hero and heroine only endear you to them more, and the history provided is on point, but the style of writing is what makes you want to root for the home team as the story progresses. Smuggling, fighting, death threats, military men, Scottish barbarian hunks, gentry and royalty, and of course espionage – what more could the reader ask for in this delightful read? There is never a dull moment in this exciting tale of “Historic Romantic Adventure” as the author labels the books in this series. I highly recommend it as a stand alone novel, but I will be checking out the series myself because I like to read them in order.