The Ruin of a Rake, by Cat Sebastian
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: July 4, 2017
Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.
Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it’s his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian’s sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay’s image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.
As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn’t deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he’s determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they’re willing to risk for love.
Historical Romance (Regency)
Depression (secondary character)
I read a lot of M/F historical romance as a teenager and this author’s works have reignited my love for the subgenre, this time in M/M. From start to finish, The Ruin of a Rake was a smart and absorbing read with a robust plot and wonderfully developed characters.
The depraved and delectable Lord Courtenay wouldn’t normally give a toss that he was persona non grata in polite society – except for the fact that his wild reputation is keeping him away from his beloved nephew. Cue Julian Medlock, the paragon of propriety who is dispatched by his sister Eleanor to help repair her friend Courtenay’s reputation – much to the displeasure of both men.
While Courtenay was every bit as wicked and entertaining as advertised, surprisingly it was Julian who took me completely by surprise in the first half of the book. His deft social machinations were worthy of any grande dame, and I loved the glimpses of brilliance and yes, mischief his scheming afforded us. I particularly relished the way he went from initially dragging his feet to tackling his latest “project” with gusto, all while being painfully attracted to the cad in question.
Witnessing Julian and Courtenay’s partnership bloom was a pure joy. From Eleanor to ennui, there were multiple factors that brought together this unlikely pairing, but the undercurrent of attraction between them was undeniable, even when (or especially when) the two men were at odds with each other. Our two heroes had all kinds of delicious chemistry and the sex was full of surprises. I mean, even now I’m not quite sure how maths and accounting got so fucking hot, but bravo. But in all honesty, equally as satisfying was seeing the bonds of friendship and respect grow between our heroes, and how naturally they began to imagine the possibility of a life together.
I don’t think I could overstate how well developed the main characters were. Having read her previous books, this is no surprise, but I must say she outdid herself with Julian, Courtenay, and even Eleanor. And as with her previous heroes, I was happy to see the author continue to champion marginalized characters (in this case chronic illness and depression). Not only that but the story itself was rich and absorbing with a delightful side plot and all the overarching parts and pieces coming together in one big, happy ending for everyone involved.
The Ruin of a Rake is a standalone but is heavily tied to A Soldier’s Scoundrel and The Lawrence Browne Affair. I don’t remember the last time I’ve said this if at all, but this series just gets better and better (although I get the distinct impression this is the last we’ll see of this cast for a while). I would recommend it even if historical romance isn’t your thing.
Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird-watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.