Never Resist a Rake (Somerfield Park) by Mia Marlowe
Basically an illegitimate son is discovered to be not so 'born on the wrong side' after all. The new Lord Hartley takes to his mantle by galloping though all the lowest of low places, drinking, fornicating, fighting along his merry, dissolute, hell bent way as a response. Why? Are that is the question! See, it's about the lack of love! Sure he was placed with a gentile family, cared for, schooled. Does that count. Never, not for John.
I kept thinking, 'Really, were you sent to the workhouse?' 'Discarded completely?' 'No!' See for John, it's love that will make the difference. And even now there's little acknowledgement of him other than being a bad mistake. I do get it. The being discarded like a bad smell and then taken back as though the past can be in some way expunged by an 'Oh, We were wrong. Sorry! Now get back here and do your 'duty!'
So John Fitzhugh Barrett is the heir to a marquessate. Life is really tough!
Then there's Rebecca Kearsey, daughter of an inveterate gambling baron.
Rebecca and John meet. Rebecca, starry eyes decides to search for her once glimpsed swain who has now become her crush, to her detriment. Really, really foolishly stupid!
As you can gather I am all out of patience with Rebecca. She consistently places herself in harm's way. Sure her father's treatment of her shows us the cad he is but in the end I just wasn't that interested.
The Dowager decrees that John has to join the annual family hunt--to find a bride (heirs being important!) John asks that Rebecca join the house party. He is going to use her as a foil to deter the other avid, husband hungry young things. Around town the event is being called 'The Hartley Hunt.'
I did finish the book.
There were some potentially excellent characters and the blackguards were out in force. I liked the too wicked Lady Chloe who seems to have helped a husband or two to meet their demise.
I was totally out of sympathy with the Dowager, at least for 99% of the time. She expected way too much from John, someone she'd pushed off out of sight, and out of mind.
What was the problem? Well whilst I can maybe see Rebecca engaging in commentary about an exhibition with someone in the museum, I just can't see a young woman of her upbringing and social class wandering into the dark and dangerous side of the less than salubrious parts of London due to an infatuation. That didn't feel real. Yes, I know, it did work for the storyline, but not for me.
A NetGalley ARC