by Anne Gracie

July 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20395-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Once in a while, a reader stumbles on a book that enchants and delights them. Finishing the book with a smile on their face, the reader looks forward to the promise of future books. I find myself in that same position.

Random selection, or dumb luck, guided my hand when it picked The Perfect Rake from the list of titles to be reviewed. I had never read anything by author Anne Gracie before, and therefore had no expectations.

The book opens on a somber note, depicting the abuse heaped on five sisters by their overbearing grandfather. When opportunity gives them a chance to flee his home, the Merridew sisters - Prudence, Faith, Hope, Charity and Grace - gather their meager belongings together and embark on the adventure of their young lives.

Eldest sister, Prudence, realizes what a treasure she has in her younger sisters. They are staggeringly beautiful, and good matches are nearly assured. She just must convince her Uncle Oswald that her prospects are also settled. To do that she concocts a fantastic tale that bears little resemblance to her true secret betrothal to a young man in India.

As you might imagine, telling such a tale can backfire, and she ends up slightly singed. She also catches the attention of Lord Carradice, one of the tonís most notorious rakes. He cannot understand why she keeps insisting that her sisters are the beautiful ones. Her lively nature and charm literally stop his heart. Obviously he will need to keep an eye on her or who knows what sort of scheme she will hatch next!

The dialogue flies fast and furious, full of humor and sparkling wit. Prudence and Gideon are a terrific couple. Ms. Gracie has written a fine novel, and I have already made plans to read her next book.

Reviewed in September 2005 by Paula.

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