Series: The Drake's Rakes #4
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Forever on 29 October 2013
Reading Challenges: 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Colonel Ian Ferguson is in a spot of bother. He saved his beloved Duke of Wellington from an assassination plot but instead of being lauded, the Duke’s comrades shot at him. Despite being injured, stuck in cold water and facing ten knot winds (this bit was confusing as I thought something this strong was like a gentle breeze), he managed to swim ashore to Sarah’s estate of Fairbourne in Dorset where he encountered Willoughby, Sarah’s pig. Obviously he needed to avoid the authorities, warn Wellington and sweep Sarah off her feet. Simple really for a “well over six feet” member of the Black Watch with “hair that shone like fire and…shoulders [which] were as wide as a Yule log”.
Ian saw the military as his chance to escape poverty so he left his mother and two sisters behind while he climbed the ranks. At some point along the way they were ‘discovered’ by their paternal grandfather the Marquess of Leyburn. Ian is supposed to be loyal and devout but I didn’t really buy it as he spent the little time he had back in England trying to secure an advantageous marriage rather than spending time with his sisters. His accent was laid on very thickly which was distracting and I think Dreyer still could have dialled it back a little without negatively impacting on the story.
Sarah is a bit of a martyr and seems to relish her difficulties. Her brother threatened to arrest her if she contacted the family again, her husband that she didn’t love spent all her dowry on a military commission and is now missing, her cook can’t cook, her scheming brother-in-law is trying to get rid of her and her mother-in-law who could sell some of her artwork to support the family would instead rather impoverish them by buying expensive Egyptian Mummy paint. When a treasonous fugitive pops up in one of her outhouses, she decides to conceal him, heal him and make her life even harder. I really loved it when she showed independence, intellect or humour but these instances are far too quickly squashed.
If you are a fan of the usual tropes in historical romances, then this book will probably enchant you as it is packed to the brim with them and plays out in a fairly stereotypical if meandering fashion. I could handle most of them but a Scotsman who is constantly referred to as a berserker was a bit much. My favourite character would have to be the lustful Willoughby as not only were his needs simple, he wasn’t afraid to go after the object of his affection.
Reading the series out of order is not advised as several times I was left scratching my head. The Drake’s Rakes are plotting (fairly ineffectually) against an anarchist group, the British Lions who are plotting against the crown. The Drake’s Rakes have been infiltrated and undermined by those close to them so it gets pretty messy trying to work out people’s allegiances.