The Perfect Rake by Anne Gracie
Series: The Merridew Sisters #1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: July 5, 2005
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler » No « Hide Spoiler
Content Warning: View Spoiler » Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Kidnapping, « Hide Spoiler
Genres: Historical Romance
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Historical Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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She ran from a brute...
Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters' chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke...But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.
...into the arms of a rake
Aristocratic Gideon, handsome, rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence's game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry...
The Perfect Rake is the first book in Anne Gracie’s Merridew Sisters trilogy. Tracy recommended this to me after I finished Marry in Scarlet. As it happens, it has a very similar theme to My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid, which I read shortly before this one. I really enjoyed it.
Prue and her younger sisters are being abused at the hands of their grandfather, their guardian since their parents’ death. When he falls down the stairs after a particularly brutal attack against her youngest sister, she sees it as a chance to finally be free of him. If she can get just one of her sister’s married, she can claim their inheritance and take them away from him forever. She forges a letter from their Guardian to their uncle, enlisting his help to give the older girls a season. The problem? Their uncle refuses to launch her sisters until she herself is wed. What she hasn’t told him is that she’s already engaged…to a man he’ll find completely unacceptable. So she does something daring…she claims to be engaged to a reclusive duke, one who hasn’t been out in society in years. She just needs enough time to get one of her sisters wed, and then she can give up the deception. Of course things are never that easy. It just so happens the Duke has come to town to find a bride himself. Prue knows they can’t go back to their grandfather, so she rushes to the Duke’s home to ask him to please keep her secret.
Gideon is reluctantly charmed by the headstrong girl who bursts into his friend’s home to demand he keep up her charade. When she assumes he’s the Duke, he doesn’t correct her at first, mostly because he’s convinced she was a gold-digger at first. It isn’t long before he realizes there’s a quiet desperation to the spitfire. He’s intrigued and wants to know more about her, but she wants nothing to do with him. As they traverse the season together, he realizes she’s more than he could ever have dreamed..now he just has to convince her she wants him just as much.
Prue, her sisters and both Carridan and the Duke were wonderful. I also loved the secondary characters. I loved how into Prue Gideon was. Every time someone mentioned the plain Merridew sister and he was confused I wanted to hug him. I liked how Prue was steadfast and loyal, and took care of her sisters.
This was a really light read, which worked against it in some areas. The early part of the book deals with some pretty heavy themes, but I never felt like they were explored. That was a missed opportunity.
Still, I can’t deny I enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5