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And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake
by Elizabeth Boyle
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) 978-0-06-208908-3
**
And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake is a cute play on the nursery rhyme with a plot that starts out sweet and playful, but carries on a little too long. This is Elizabeth Boyleís second book in the Rhymes with Love series.

The Seldons and Dales have a long history together Ė one that is full of hatred and animosity. It stems from the rakish behavior of the Preston men, but the newer generations are not quite sure of the full details though both parties hold up to the family conflicts.

Lord Henry Dale has not followed in his ancestorís footsteps and has always been a respectable gentleman. His cousin, who was once a rake and is now the Duke of Preston and set to get married, thinks itís time for Henry to find a wife. So, he put an ad out for a new bride and the story starts with Henry receiving baskets full of responses and not being too happy about it. Ready to throw them all in the fire, Henry reads one letter that has fallen out and decides to reply to the writer, Miss Spooner.

Fast-forward six weeks and Henry is expecting to finally meet Miss Spooner at his cousinís engagement ball. Heís been writing to her under the name Mr. Dishforth and has become quite close to her. Heís distracted though because he learns that Daphne Dale is at the ball and heís appalled that she would set foot on Preston property. And to make matters worse, as the best man he has to dance with her, as she is the brideís maid of honor. Little does he know, that Daphne Dale is Miss Spooner.

The story continues with the trip to the country estate where the marriage will take place and both Mr. Dishforth and Miss Spooner hope to meet the other. They are both skirting around each other and eager to meet. Henry always being around distracts Daphne. Daphne and her Dale-ness distract Henry. Itís a conundrum that both canít get a way from.

And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake has an interesting premise. The reader knows the truth from the beginning, but the journey is in Henry and Daphne learning the truth. For the first half of the book, itís engaging and Henry and Daphneís interactions are witty and fun. It is entertaining to see them both oblivious to reality, but the author keeps the ruse up until the end of the book. It would have been nice to see them realize the truth earlier and then take the reader through the issues it causes for the families in more detail.

Iím on the fence with the rating for this book. Itís well written and enjoyable for the most part, but is quite frustrating in parts. Due to this frustration, I am rating And the Miss Ran Away With the Rake two hearts.

--Nichole Howell


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