Tag: Jenn LeBlanc

Guest Review: The Rake and the Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc

Posted March 24, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of The Rake and the Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc

The Lady in Question

Francine Larrabee woke up on the wrong side of the century. She was fairly certain she went to sleep in her own comfy bed, but she doesn’t quite seem to be there now. Only adding to her problems is that she has no voice, is constantly being glowered at by a large, stunning man who is obsessed with propriety, and she is apparently betrothed to a horrid little man, determined to ruin her, and any other girls that get in his way.

The Rake

The Lord Peregrine Trumbull, Viscount Roxleigh, is a rake of the worst order. As the spare to the heir he went off to the Royal Navy then returned to conquer the young ladies of London. With never a care in the world save his brothers survival (which allows his freedom) Perry has quite a name for himself in the ton: Viscount Impermissible.

The Recluse

Gideon Alrick Trumbull, 10th Duke of Roxleigh, came to his responsibilities much sooner than expected. Groomed from birth to oversee one of the oldest and most respected titles in England, the weight of his duty to the crown is heavy. One of his obligations requires that he entice a suitable lady to marriage, unfortunately his demeanor does much to quash the advances of any admirers of: the Duke of Impossible.

Francine Larrabee is in a cab on her way to work one day when the cab stops suddenly, she hits her head on the partition and she wakes up in another century. She is now in the late 19th century and she’s being taken care of by the Duke of Roxleigh and his staff. Not only is she in a different time and country she doesn’t even look like herself. Her hair had changed color from blond to brown – from short to long. She has one great tantrum at the Duke about being kept against her will and then she loses her voice. The doctor wants to take her to Bedlam as he doesn’t think she’s quite right in the head but the Duke refuses to let him. For quite a length of time she is unable to do anything but whisper but that doesn’t stop Francine from finding an intense connection to the Duke.

The Duke is confounded by his guest. She is beautiful but when she yelled at him he was astounded by the fire of her personality. He takes care of her and slowly starts to come out of the self-induced shell that he had created. He starts to get to know Francine and he very much enjoys her company. But she is betrothed to a wretched little man who is determined to get Francine back. The Duke and his brother, Perry, decide to take matters into their own hands and Perry becomes not only Francine’s guardian but the guardian of her two younger sisters as well (not that Francine – who in this century is French and is known as Madeleine – knows her sisters or her supposed parents but she plays along). The Duke and Francine fall in love and want nothing more than to be together but Lord Hepplewort, her previously betrothed, won’t give her up quite that easily.

Now for my problems with the book…unfortunately there were more than a few. First there was SO much going on that the love story was almost lost in the shuffle. We also had Perry and his guardianship; we had the sister of one of the Duke’s servants who is attacked and almost killed; we had the tragedy of the Duke’s mother that comes to light; we had the architect and his discovery of a secret room; we had the love of said architect for an Earl’s daughter…um, I think that’s it, but that’s a lot! Even for a long book, which this was, there were too many side stories for me. I know the book was entitled The Rake and the Recluse, and yes, both of those were included in this story but really, the story was about the recluse and his love story. While Perry, the rake, was a lovely secondary character I felt that his part was really just a set up for the next book.

I also felt that Francine’s personality was too mercurial. She seemed like a regular 21st century girl when she arrived and threw her tantrum. I realize that she didn’t want to be sent to the loony bin so she tried to keep her temper under control and act like a regular 19th century woman, but then when her normal personality showed up again it was so unexpected and I just couldn’t see everyone accepting it as they did as she was acting a bit crazy. I also kept waiting for the revelation to the Duke by Francine about the whole time jump thing but that was skimmed over in the story and accepted by him unquestioningly – really? No questions about her story at all? I find that impossible to believe.

This was an illustrated version and personally I didn’t feel that the pictures enhanced my reading experience in any way but some people might like them.

The end of the book was another portion of it that I was greatly confused by. The book was written in sections so when there was yet another section at the end of the book I thought it was part of the book but after reading it and being left in what felt like the middle of the story I think I was reading an extremely large excerpt of the next book which is Perry’s. But I really have no idea. There was no part that said it was an excerpt…there was no part that said “The End” after the previous section so I’m not sure what to think. If it wasn’t an excerpt and just the end – I didn’t like it at all. But if it was, then why was it not stated? I can honestly say I don’t like being this confused at the end of a book! lol

Now that I’ve told you what I didn’t like about the book let me tell you what I did like. It’s really quite a lovely love story when you get down to the nitty gritty. Francine and Gideon, the Duke, had a wonderful romance and I loved seeing Gideon becoming the man I think he was meant to be. He truly blossomed with Francine and I loved seeing that.

I also really liked Perry and Gideon’s characters together. They had lost both of their parents and had formed a bond between them that was quite unshakable. I love reading about family ties that survive tragedy as I believe that the tragedy makes them stronger. The two men very much loved each other in their own way and it showed in their actions.

While there were chunks of this book that I didn’t care for I liked it for the most part. While I would have tightened up the story and shortened it a great deal (I probably would have ended the book at page 440 instead of 575 …or was it 533? – IDK as I’m still confused about the end) in quite a few places I wasn’t the author so there ya go.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

This book is available from The Illustrated Romance. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Edited to add: You can buy this book for 55% off here by using the code BookBinge.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted March 21, 2011 by Tracy in Features | 18 Comments

Good morning!
So it’s going to be a busy day at work today. Yesterday we had quite a storm and got mucho rain. My office at work was flooded as well as the preschool that’s attached to it and part of the rest of the facility. Lots of work to do.
This past weekend I got the pleasure of spending quite a few hours with Lori, Holly and Nikki which was just a ton of fun. We had lunch, went to the local Borders (which is closing down so all the romance was on sale for 50% off) and then to B & N. We talked and laughed and just had a great time.
A funny thing that happened last Friday…I was assaulted by the Oatmeal Police. You didn’t know that they existed, did you? Well frankly, I didn’t either until I was in Starbucks. This is what happened…I got my coffee and oatmeal from Starbucks and was “fixing” my oatmeal at the counter when a man walked up to me and started spewing about how much milk I put in my oatmeal. Now, if you’ve ever had oatmeal from there you’d know that the cups are rather small so really I had probably put about 2 tablespoons in but apparently that was way too much in this man’s opinion. I asked him why he thought it was his business and he was just disgusted that I would put milk in and not let the oatmeal “cook” with just the water. I told him that it would “cook” by the time that I got to work, it would just do it with the milk in it. He just shook his head and walked off. This man was seriously disturbed about my oatmeal. I had to laugh but then I started thinking about the fact that this guy thought that it was really OK to tell me how to do something – someone he doesn’t even know. I have a sense of propriety and even if I think someone is doing something completely ridiculous I would never say it to them (unless they were harming someone else). Is this something that would just happen in America or would this happen in say England where (I think) they are very proper? Or any other place? I just don’t get why people think everyone else’s business is theirs as well. Huh. Something to think about.
So on to what I read last week:
My first read for the week was a YA fantasy book called Chime by Franny Billingsley. I don’t normally read YA or fantasy all that much, for that matter, but it was a decent read. You can read my review here if you’re interested. 3.75 out of 5
Next up was The Rake and the Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc – a book I read for The Book Binge. This was a time travel historical where a woman is sent back in time. The theory that her father had come up with is that there is that one person that we are destined to be with and that we could travel time in order for that match to happen. She thought he was nutty but obviously something happened. She falls in love with the recluse, a Duke, who finds her by almost running over her with his carriage. This was a decent read as well. There were parts of it that I didn’t care for but since it was so long (580 pages) there could be parts that I didn’t like and still like the book as a whole. 3.75 out of 5
After that was Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley. This was an m/m about an FBI agent, Miller, who is determined to bring down a drug lord. He gets an ex-con who works in the drug lord’s organization, Danny, to help him out and ends up babysitting and protecting him when said drug lord comes after the informant. But there’s so much more going on here besides Miller trying to save Danny’s life. It’s Miller admitting to himself that yes, he is gay, and that yes, he has been living a lie his entire life and what will he do about it if he wants to be with Danny. This was such a great read. I loved the tension both sexual and suspense-wise. Danny and Miller’s relationship really had me on the edge of my seat and I loved not being able to figure out how the hell they would ever be able to be together. Just a damn good read. 5 out of 5
My Tracy’s TBR Challenge read for the week was Born to Be Wild by Christine Warren. Josie is a vet and Eli is the town sheriff and also an Other – a lion shifter. Eli brings in a wolf – who’s actually a shifted human – to her clinic and she tries to help the person. They discover that there’s something funky going on with the wolf as well as in the town and they’re determined to figure it out. The suspense part of this book was really the only thing I cared for in the story. It was pretty interesting and kept me guessing. The romance did nothing for me. I didn’t like Eli because he treated Josie like she was an idiot though she was really quite smart. However, she did have her TSTL moments and I ended up thinking they were perfect for each other. 2.5 out of 5
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips was my next read. This was another good read about Meg who heads to Texas for her best friend’s wedding and realizes that these two people should not be getting married. She manages to get Lucy to realize that Ted is not who she will be happy with the rest of her life. The wedding gets cancelled but Meg is stuck in town because she has no money. Though they hate each other, eventually Ted and Meg start a sex only relationship but as does happen, Meg ends up falling in love with Ted. I wasn’t sure what to think about Ted at first but as the book went on I got to like him more and more. Meg and Ted were great together and I really ended up liking the book. 4 out of 5
Last on the list was Called Home: Two Hearts Answer by Gloria Schumann. This was the story of Emma and David who head back to their home towns for different reasons and meet up. I’ll be reviewing this on Wednesday so you can read more about it then.
My Book Binge reviews that posted this past week:

Happy Reading!

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