National bestselling author Anne Gracie returns this summer with another smart and witty Regency romance, perfect for fans of Mary Balogh and Julia Quinn. THE RAKE’S DAUGHTER (Berkley Mass Market; on sale July 26, 2022) follows an Earl who is forced to play matchmaker for the daughters of a rake.
Recently returned to England, Leo, the new Earl of Salcott, discovers he's been thrust into the role of guardian to an heiress, the daughter of a notorious rake. Even worse, his wealthy ward has brought her half-sister, the beautiful but penniless Isobel, with her. Leo must find Clarissa a suitable husband, but her illegitimate half-sister, Izzy, is quite another matter. Her lowly birth makes her quite unacceptable in London’s aristocratic circles.
However, the girls are devoted to each other and despite the risk of scandal if Izzy’s parentage is discovered, they refuse to be separated. To Leo’s frustration, nothing will convince them otherwise. Even worse, sparks fly every time Leo and Izzy interact.
Called away to his country estate, Leo instructs the young ladies to stay quietly at home. But when he returns, he's infuriated to discover that Izzy and Clarissa have launched themselves into society — with tremendous success! There's no going back. Now Leo must enter society to protect Clarissa from fortune hunters, and try not to be driven mad by the sharp-witted, rebellious, and intoxicating Izzy.
Well-loved in the historical romance sphere for her signature wit, sensuality, and strong female heroines, Gracie absolutely shines in this second series installment of the Brides of Bellaire Gardens series. According to Library Journal, “Gracie paints a thoughtful (and somewhat chilling) picture of the sisters’ childhood with the lurking menace of the wrong kind of rake as a father…This book is generally a light read that will draw in readers looking for a strong-willed heroine who knows her own worth.”
If you like dynamics where the hero is frequently stodgy & judgmental & the heroine sets him straight by blistering his ears you might really enjoy Anne Gracie’s The Rake’s Daughter.
Said heroine—Isobel “Izzy” Burton—is the standout of this romance for me. Not one to fade into the background & definitely not one possessing a shy, retiring nature, Izzy is a lot of fun to watch, particularly as she corrects the opinions of the aforementioned hero, Leo, Lord Salcott.
Izzy is the illegitimate child of a rake & she comes into contact with Leo after her horrible rake father dies, leaving her & her legitimate half sister Clarissa to be charges of Leo. Clarissa is his ward; Izzy is the potential walking-scandal, frustrating woman who won’t listen to him.
The book started off strong for me. I’m often a big fan of a dumb dumb lead who espouses silly/maddening opinions at the beginning of the book & who comes to their senses by the end. But Leo keeps espousing those opinions too late for me, not to mention jumping to unflattering conclusions about Izzy too late, & then when he stops their relationship moves too quickly. The love declaration seems not totally believable to me, just because of those pacing quibbles.
The bravery & the sheer entertainment of Izzy—all things that are appreciated & noted by Leo—are great, as is the relationship between the sisters. But while the book does try to explain how Leo’s past affects his offensive & simplistic views toward women, in general I often found him unsympathetic & not terribly likable (even close to the conclusion). With that being said, in the final pages Leo comes to his senses, double-checking with Izzy how things work out between them, and I appreciate his conscientiousness in that moment.
This was my first book by Anne Gracie and I really enjoyed parts, but I wish that the middle & end matched the potential of the beginning. But a big hurrah! for Izzy. Hopefully she’ll continue to keep Leo on his toes ; ).
3.5 ⭐️. Out 07/26.
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Q: What's a book you want to finish before the end of July?
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