By Juliet Landon
I read this Regency romance a bit ago, but never got around to reviewing it. When I was looking at the list of books I’d read this year for something to post today, the title caught my eye. A quick skim, and the story has bloomed full again in my mind. That, to me, is the sign of a good book. It means not only did I enjoy it the first time round, but that the story was strong enough to leave hooks for my memory to latch on to.
The Rake’s Unconventional Mistress speaks to the women who did not choose the path of balls and the marriage mart, something as familiar to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as to Regency romances, but there are historical instances as well.
Lettie is a woman of conviction who believes young ladies should have more education than a list of accomplishments that make them attractive to the rakes and money hounds looking for a bride. She takes her inheritance after her father’s unfortunate death by accident and starts a school.
However, her plans are not well received by many, including her mother, and the threat of scandal is a constant one.
Why then does she let Lord Seton Rayne under her skin even as she chastises her girls for watching the soldiers on the parade grounds? Not that Rayne gives her much choice. What starts as an attempt to knock her down a peg or two soon becomes an obsession.
The story is a wonderful trek through developing passion and love while faced with the very real dangers and complications facing an unwed young lady in the Regency, though not always from the expected direction.
If you enjoy historical romance, this is one not to miss. Landon offers a complex story that touches on how people are constrained by the social conventions of the time while also showing ways they worked around them. But social niceties aren’t the only conflicts offered. I’ll say only that more than just hearts come up against risks in this book.