Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Drake’s Rakes, #2
Hero: Richard William Price Manners Hilliard
Heroine: Grace Georgianna Fairchild
Date of Publication: April 1, 2011
Started On: December 2, 2013
Finished On: December 3, 2013
Everyone who knows my reading tastes know that I am someone who loves an angst ridden romance. Never a Gentleman, book 2 in the Drake’s Rakes series landed in my TBR pile because I kept getting recommendations of the fact that this is a book that offers a healthy dose of just that. Since I was already on a historical romance reading binge the last couple of reads, I decided to finally take the plunge and see what the fuss was all about.
Having never read an Eileen Dreyer before I didn’t know what to expect when I first delved into the story. Eileen tends to set an adequate pace for the story though I found the flow a bit tedious at times, perhaps because I have been spoilt rotten by the likes of authors such as Sherry Thomas and Courtney Milan whose beautiful prose alone makes me want to sink myself into the story and never come up for air.
My first disadvantage I believe was the fact that I didn’t read the first book in the series. I think I did miss out on the beginning of the “relationship” that blossoms between Diccan and Grace, a pair that is as different from each other as night and day. While Diccan is heralded for his uber good looks, his suave charm and the beautiful women he beds with, Diccan is a man whose diplomatic career looks to be promising as long as he carries out his duties perfectly in order to save the country and the Queen. Meanwhile, Grace is the spinster daughter of an army general, who dies a while back, leaving her alone to pursue her dreams for the first time in her life. Grace is plain looking, doesn’t seem to have anything striking about her features that would make people notice her except for the fact that she limps when she walks, which Grace would rather people never notice.
When Grace and Diccan are “forced” into entering a marriage of convenience, Diccan in the “noble” reason of saving Grace’s virtue while Grace does so to save Diccan’s reputation which is a necessity for his career; only Grace enters the marriage with hope unfurling in her heart that if she tries hard enough, she would able to win the affections of her husband.
Diccan who never thought he would feel anything for his plain and mousy looking wife is first appalled and then taken aback when he finds himself enamored by the woman he has married, the spell that she weaves on him one that is seemingly hard for him to turn away from. But then alas, duty calls, for which philandering seems to be a requirement, infidelity that would in return save England, his duty being to the country which would always come first.
I tried so hard to find any redemptive qualities to Diccan and came up short except for the time that Diccan refused to leave Grace’s side when she falls violently ill towards the latter part of the story. Even then, I couldn’t find it in me to like him much and neither did I like Grace for putting up with a lot of things that went on in her marriage. True to Grace’s character, her patience is the noblest of its kind, the lengths to which Grace goes in order to fit into the life that Diccan leads, even accepting his dalliances by demanding that he give her the same kind of pleasure that she actually witnesses being bestowed upon Diccan’s mistress.
Believe me, I am someone who loves dark heroes and by dark I mean the type that most readers tend to shy away from because they don’t fit into the feminist agenda that most readers of romance have these days. If I am being blunt, I found Grace to be a doormat heroine throughout most of the story, hiding her true passion and the fire inside of her for a man who pretty much neglects her as soon as she starts to mean something to him; all of course in the name of saving the country.
I found Diccan to be a tiresome hero at best. I just didn’t find him to be an alpha hero; I tend to call a hero alpha when he is decisive and able to take things in stride and do what is needed without petty excuses to make himself feel better. And while I can take cheating in a romance as long as there is even a dim light at the end of the tunnel which paves the way for redemption on the hero’s part, I am all for it. But the excuses that seemed to focus around Diccan being the savior of the country making him the kind of neglectful hero he was made him a complete turn off for me in most of the ways.
While certain readers seem to have fallen in love with the story, I would say that this could have definitely done much, much better! Dark heroes I am all for it, alpha asshole heroes; I can definitely live with them, but the kind of excuse of a hero Diccan turned out to be? I just don’t think I would ever be able to love someone like him.
If you are planning on reading Never a Gentleman, I would caution you to read book 1 first. Perhaps then Grace and Diccan’s character might make the impression that the author was going for on you.
Recommended for fans of the author.
Not a kind word. Not a caress. His eyes were closed and his hands were fisted in her hair. She swore he was growling, and the sound reverberated in her chest. She felt impaled, split, the pressure of him inside her unbearable. Yet her body tightened, seeking him, reveling in his loss of control. She lifted up, arching to fit him inside of her. She closed her eyes, all her focus on the unbearable fullness, the sliding, searing pleasure of him as he pumped into her, the abrasion of cloth and buttons and stays as he took her on the hard wood floor.
He never asked. She never begged. He simply shifted and she spread her legs to welcome him home. He kissed her again, long and deep and wicked, and then he drove into her, and she forgot everything else. She forgot needing or belonging or having. She forgot pride and self-respect and a lonely woman’s despair. For these moments he was hers, and she let him be.