Series: Union of Rakes #3
Publication Date: 2/23/21
Number of Pages: 368
** 2.5 Stars Rounded Up **
I loved our male lead, thirty-four-year-old Major Duncan McCameron. He is one of those strong, fearless, stoic men who are really marshmallows inside. After being raised by an uptight family and then spending twenty years in the military, Duncan is a rule follower. That is one of the reasons he did so well in the military. Yet, since he’s home from the wars, he feels restless and unsettled. What he had wanted – and still wanted really – was a wife and family, yet it seems beyond him to make that happen.
Beatrice Sloane, forty-six-year-old dowager countess of Farris, is finally free from her oppressive marriage and she fully intends to revel in absolutely every aspect of life from this point forward – and – she will absolutely never, under any circumstances, marry again. Frankly, I didn’t care for Beatrice – I really tried to like her, but I just couldn’t get there. Evidently, she didn’t care how much pain she caused Duncan – nor did she give the stigma her activities would cause her family any consideration at all. She didn’t seem to care – if she wanted to do it, she did it.
Beatrice intends to travel to Nottinghamshire to attend a week-long orgy at the home of Lord Gibbs. After having an inattentive husband, she was looking forward to a week of pleasure. Neither she nor Duncan was pleased when their mutual friend, the Duke of Rotherby, asked Duncan to escort Beatrice to assure she arrived safely. Rotherby convinces them and their adventure begins.
Along the way they have a lot of adventures – they stop to help deliver lambs, they have a coach accident, they encounter thieves – and they have lots and lots and lots and lots of intimate times together. I actually felt the ‘story’ part was just a way to stitch all of the intimate scenes together.
In all of the years I have been reading books and writing reviews, I have only given a 2.5-star rating a handful of times. I’m sad to say this is one of those times. I didn’t even get what I consider – for the period – to be a Happily Ever After. What we got would fit in today’s world perhaps, but would have caused so very many problems for other people in that time period. While the story was a well-written nod to – I believe – Ferris Bueler’s Day Off – I just couldn’t get myself to love it. For me, it wasn’t just a contemporary story in period dress, it was a story written in a completely alternate universe. It was filled with twenty-first-century “woke” characters who were totally accepting and approving of anything and everything.
An alternate universe where in the early 1800s …
• Gay men could live together openly and affectionately with no threat of the death penalty or social ostracizing. Where they could continue with public careers as barristers, etc. without any censure or loss of standing or income.
• A man and woman could live together without matrimony and the woman still be totally accepted within society. Where their families and friends would totally accept the relationship and not give them the cut direct. Where that relationship wouldn’t directly affect the social standing and social acceptance of her children – even the titled children.
This was a new-to-me author and I was looking forward to reading my first book written by her. However, I can’t say that I would read another. I know there are many readers out there who will read and love the book because they don’t mind that nothing about it represents any sort of historical reality. For me personally, I don’t understand why the author wouldn’t just write a contemporary story rather than trying to dress it in period clothing.
One more thought. If the roles were reversed and Duncan was the one who wouldn’t marry and he asked Beatrice to become his mistress instead, we’d all be incensed. How dare he, in that time period, do that to a respectable woman. Yet, we’re supposed to cheer them on when the reverse happens.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.