Series: The Drake's Rakes #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Forever on 1 October 2011
Reading Challenges: 2014 Antique Reading Roadshow
This court is now in session…
Henry Lidge hears that a foreign agent talked about ‘the whore’ before he died and automatically assumes it must be Lady Kate. Without further ado he kidnaps her and decides he’s going to intimidate her into revealing a poem the baddies want to get their paws on. His technique involves deprivation of liberty, starvation and sexual harassment.
Case for the Prosecution
Henry comes across as a fairly brutish and vindictive thug even though Dreyer threw in nightmares as a way of humanising him. I honestly have no idea why Kate was remotely attracted to him but perhaps it is because she remembered the decent young man he used to be rather than what he became. If he had done the slightest bit of investigation before kidnapping Kate or taken slightly less joy in her suffering, I probably would have liked him better.
I have a bit of a problem with the way Kate was able to overcome her problems with intimacy (stemming from her late husband’s abuse) by submitting to Henry’s attentions. He seemed way too aggressive to help her.
The espionage plot continues to limp along and the snippets we get from our psychotic baddie don’t really add to the story as a whole. I think that you really need to read the books in order to understand how the espionage is progressing as the events in the books dovetail quite neatly.
Case for the Defence
Lade Kate might be a lady but she is as tough as bootstraps. Throughout the novel she is forced to defend herself from a variety of men who are eager to gain control of her. Many women would be completely cowed by this but Kate decides to live her life in spite of them. She dons a fairly frivolous outer persona like a cloak and bit by bit we get to see snatches of the real woman.
All the women in this series are stronger than their male counterparts. I really liked Bea, Kate’s sidekick, who suffered a serious injury some years ago. She tends to make very random statements but always manages to get to the heart of the issue. Bea’s loyalty to Kate and slightly impish ways was just the tonic the book needed.
I struggled a little bit with this one because of dichotomy between the leads. Kate was an interesting and multi-faceted lead but Henry operated at a much lower ‘me no like’, ‘me want’, ‘me take’ and ‘me sorry’ level. I realise that Dreyer needed some way of throwing the two together for a length of time but she made it really hard to like Henry on any level.