To Tempt a Rake
by Cara Elliott
(Grand Central, $7.99, PG-13) 978-0-446-54130-5
To Tempt a Rake is a historical romance about two people who have hidden their true selves behind an outer shell of toughness, but after given a chance to let down their guard, find what they really need to survive…love.

Kate Woodbridge is not your typical London society lady. She is the granddaughter of the Duke of Cluyne, but only met him a year ago. Kate’s mother was shunned by her family and society when she married an American sailor, so all Kate knows is the life of a vagabond and pirate. Her parents died of illness and their last wish was for Kate to get to know her grandfather. This is proving to be a difficult task as Cluyne is not tolerant of Kate’s fierce independence.

The Conte of Como, Giovanni Marco Musto della Ghiradelli, is simply known as Marco and has a rather dangerous reputation. He is a womanizing, relentless, rakehell rouge. He loves women and loves their company even more. What most people don’t know though is that he does have talents outside of women. He works with the head of a secret government intelligence force as a undercover agent and has just received his next assignment. There is a house party about to start at the Duke of Cluyne’s country estates that is a pre-party to the upcoming peace conference in Vienna. Marco’s assignment during the house party is to observe the attending diplomats and their nuances of behavior that may prove to be helpful during the Vienna conference.

Kate is a very intelligent woman and has a vast interest in the study of botany among other things. Cluyne invites Kate to his house party to help him entertain the gathering diplomats. Kate looks forward to the get away and hopes to get a break from the typical society events were women are expected to be obedient. What she didn’t expect is Marco to be in attendance. Her previous encounter with him was greatly unbecoming and inappropriate, but she can’t seem to get him out of her thoughts.

To Tempt a Rake is a story filled with mystery, adventure and love with parts of the story reminiscent of a cross between Clue and True Lies. There is enough dialogue to show the characters’ personalities and keep the reader entertained. Kate’s wit and Marco’s indiscretion make for a heated and intense relationship, but the relationship is very slow to develop.

Even though the love story is what every one really wants, the mystery of the story is unpredictable and has a twist to the plot which adds to the overall enjoyment. The explanation is well hidden and adds to the adventure of the book. Like Kate and Marco’s relationship though, the adventure of the story doesn’t appear until the last half of the book leaving the first half unexciting all around.

To Tempt a Rake takes a while to get going. In the end it all comes together so if you can get through the first half of the book, the wait is worth it. Nichole Howell

--Nichole Howell

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