Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: The Rake and The Recluse by Jenn LeBlanc

Francine Larrabee woke up on the wrong side of the century. She was fairly certain she went to sleep in her own comfy bed, but she doesn’t quite seem to be there now. Only adding to her problems is that she has no voice, is constantly being glowered at by a large, stunning man who is obsessed with propriety, and she is apparently betrothed to another horrid little man, determined to ruin her, and any other girls that get in his way.
How does she find herself in the past, when she couldn’t even find herself in her present? How does a self sufficient businesswoman survive in a time when women were still considered property for the whole of their lives and what is she going to do with this man who draws her to him so fiercely.

Note: I received a copy from the author for review.

Buy links:
Available as Nookbook from Barnes and Noble
The Rake and the Recluse
The Rake and the Recluse

Author's Website
Author's twitter

The Rake and the Recluse was a bit of a different experience for me because I've never read an illustrated romance before. I found that because of Ms. LeBlanc's skill at photography that I actually really enjoyed it.

The story itself is a time travel: modern woman lands in the 1800s plot. So, it's a contemporary woman stuck in a historical romance. I do have to give the author credit for coming up with a more unique way to explain how the heroine, Francine, ends up in the past, but it also led to other inevitable questions and concerns that were better off shoved to the back of my mind, otherwise I wasn't going to enjoy the story.

I will say that I was a bit surprised by the length of the book. It's a good solid story with lovely pictures, but I admit that it felt as if it could have still been a good story and been a bit shorter. For me, a romance really needs a reason to be that long.

As far as the characters go, I really vacillated in my feelings for Francine. I get that she had damage from being an orphan and obviously waking up in an entirely different time would freak anyone out, but she's supposed to be this modern woman and she seemed to only have two gears, meek and mild and clingy for fear of being tossed on her rump or a shrieking and inappropriately unreasonable hoyden in the name of being an independent female. It grated a bit. And quite honestly, the only reason she won any measure of independence was because her doting husband and his equally doting brother allowed her to be eccentric. This is not feminism, it's lucking out with not having complete assholes as family. However, I did enjoy her interaction with the characters around her and when she wasn't being ridiculous, she was actually quite enjoyable.

Now our hero, Gideon, was delightful. He started off so starched and stuffy and damaged and reserved, but once he gave over to love, he held nothing back. He seemed to love as fearlessly as any warrior fights a battle. His interactions with his little brother were just fabulous to read. I loved them both. They may bicker and not see eye to eye but they are always a united front against the world and they always have each other's best interests at heart. It was so much fun to watch Gideon be felled as well as healed and strengthened by love. He really came alive right before my eyes. His brother's story is supposed to be next and it looks very intriguing. It would be so much fun to watch that silver tongued devil succumb to the power of love and fidelity. Nothing like a reformed rake...

Overall this was an entertaining read filled with vibrant characters and a sweet romance. The photos are lovely and suit the story very well. I could tell that a lot of thought and work went into the making of this finished product.

This book is available as an e-book or as a physical book. Buy links for both are provided at the beginning of the post.

Final Grade: C+


Sophia (FV) said...

Nice review. :)

That's a bosomy cover. I like it. :)

The Queen B said...

LOL, it is indeed. There are some nice bosomy pics inside, too ;)

Jenn LeBlanc said...

Ah Queen B, thank you so much for taking the time to read THE RAKE AND THE RECLUSE. I am SO happy that you liked my two heroes. I do love my Gideon. :)

The Queen B said...

My pleasure. I really appreciated all the work that went into this lovely finished product. Thank you!

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