|This is the third in a series and features a lady known as a wallflower and a Lord known as a rakehell. Of course, appearances can be deceiving and it is on this that the story rests. I enjoyed the story on one hand, but when all was said and done, there were too many misgivings to fully endorse it.
Amy Hardwick is determined that her third season is going to be successful. She has had two previous ones that she spent on wallflower row with all the girls who were not popular and with the dowagers. This year, she has two friends who have both found successful love matches and her parents, who are not haute ton, but merely gentry, have let her know that this is the last season she will get. In fact, there is a parson in their village who is willing to marry her, but Amy can sense that he will try to control her and she does not love him.
Amy also has a talent as a fashion designer and is determined to use her fashion sense to overcome her shyness. But her first night, despite a dramatic gown that garners attention, she reverts to withdrawing rather than engaging the gentlemen who come around. In doing so, she finds herself in a dark library with none other than Will"the Devil" Darcett. Lord Darcett is the brother-in-law of one of her friends. They have a love-hate relationship and she knows two things: he is too much of a rake for her and he enjoys her discomfort.
Circumstances keep throwing them together and at times, it seems like they might be friends. But when they are accidentally locked into a wine cellar overnight, they are forced into a marriage. Part of what I enjoyed about this book is the part of the story as they try to discover each other and figure out if they can have a good marriage, something more than a bedding and separate lives. They actually talk and try to see things from the other's point of view. They actually do become friends who also have feelings. But they were also not always likeable people. Both have "secrets" and neither is willing to trust the other; both assuming the other will view the secret in the darkest of views. Neither secret was devastating and it felt pushed that the whole plot was based around this mistrust. It was this part of their character that I found uninspiring.
A fan of this series might see things differently and the other two couples do make appearances. How to Ravish a Rake has enough fun moments that I can rate is as acceptable, but not enough to fully recommend it.