Harlequin, Jul 2004, 5.50
His sister and his aunt rage at Marcus Langley, insisting that the thirty-five year old rake marry and have a son so that the line can continue. The angry Duke knows he needs a spouse, but detests the pushy interference of his relatives. He scares them by showing interest in a loose widow.
Marcus travels to his newest estate that he inherited from a penny-pinching great uncle. He is shocked to see the horrendous condition of Fenby and even worse how ill resident Marguerite Fellowes is. He brings in the doctor and nurses the sick woman back to health. He also spends money to help the impoverished tenants. Marcus knows that he has compromised Marguerite, but concludes that he had no choice. When she recovers, they argue about her future. Ultimately, he offers her a marriage of convenience in which after the heir is born they go their own separate ways. However, they fall in love and Marcus wants to renegotiate the deal, but has to convince his spouse even while his enemy sniffs after his beloved wife like a prize.
Although at first brush, THE DUTIFUL RAKE seems typical of the Regency sub-genre with an innocent woman and a rake falling in love. However, the superb historical romance insures that the initial look at the lead couple is peeled away so that the true inner essence of kindhearted caring love buddies emerge with the twist that Marguerite has the scandalous background. The story line focuses on the lead duo with the support cast (friends, family, and foes) enhancing what the reader knows about this delightful pair. Readers will demand to know the tale of Marcus' pal Jack.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner