Reviewed by Sheena
Mellie has a plan…
Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. She’s looking for any excuse to go to London to meet more eligible men.
Trevor has a problem…
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until such time as he gets engaged. Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor, Mr. Smithson, but actually to duck his creditors—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter, Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but the lady has ideas of her own, and Trevor’s going to have to measure up…
I had major trouble rooting for this couple. I am totally a fan of the “opposites attract” or the “love-hate-tug-of-war-frenemies-to-lovers” trope but this unromantic romance novel did absolutely nothing for me. At all. The hero, Trevor, is a creep. He proposes to Mellie as a part of a scheme to re-inherit his family’s fortune and escape his creditors. Trevor hatched his plan and set out to use Mellie to his own ends and frankly I never bought into his “developing” genuine affection, which killed the romance factor for me. Yes he kissed her, and yes his jealousies ignited and his feathers ruffled- however, the damage was done. Conversely, Mellie was a great heroine! She has very real and visceral reactions to each situation and obstacle she encountered. She is intelligent, and aspiring entrepreneur and has such a good heart. I quite liked her and wish she could have had a hero to compliment her.
Trevor was most certainly a rake. He was assuredly NOT redeemed in my eyes and I loathe to even give him the time of day. So I will dedicate my review to Mellie. She was a woman grown, trapped in a situation from which she saw little hope. As were the times, women’s power filtered through their husbands and her lone prospect was a distant half-cousin, a big oaf of a man, Ronnie. Ronnie was indeed a half -wit and a hilarious unfortunate suitor. I can appreciate how well the author characterized him so that I immediately sympathized with Mellie and fretted on her behalf. I could not imagine live shackled to Ronnie as a husband, he was the worst of horrible worlds. An absolute simpleton with brute strength, he is also a purring pussy cat in Mellie’s hands. There are never any fears that he would ever dare mistreat her- but Ronnie, was well, Ronnie and Mellie dreaded his predictable and dramatic proposals and found herself running out of time to cast him off once and for all.
Following Trevor’s indecent proposal of a faux betrothal and plot to land her a husband of her choosing while cementing his cushy inheritance, Ronnie and Trevor engage in the most comical and ridiculous fisticuffs that leaves Trevor swollen of jaw and sore of limbs (ha!)
Ronnie had drawn back his ham-like fists and had begun a slow but obvious blow. Even she could see it coming, and Trevor adroitly put his chin in itsdirect path. She gasped, too horrified to speak. And then it happened. Ronnie’s fist connected, Trevor’s head snapped back and spittle went flying, and then Mr. Anaedsley, grandson to the Duke of Timbly, went flying backward to land in a rather large and obvious pile of cow dung…
Ronnie grabbed him by the collar and lifted him into a better striking position.
“What” Trevor asked, but there was no time as Ronnie’s fist landed again with a sickening thud.
Yep, Ronnie kicks Trevor’s ass and though he lost Mellie’s hand in marriage, the poor brute earned a tiny place in my heart for doing the honors of Trevor’s comeuppance! Hurt and insulted deep inside, Mellie decides to join Trevor in London as his fiance, in hopes that she is successful in finding love. Unfortunately, her road is rocky as she is looked down upon and judged ever so harshly by the London society during The Season. Things take a turn for the worse when she finds herself falling in love with Trevor. He lusts after her sure, but there are no tender moments from his perspective. He speaks nothing of his own passions and manly desires to have her while we are forced to watch Mellie fall for him, only to be devastated when true to his character he takes from her and offers nothing! By this time, the story is about 75% over. I know he will have a change of heart. I know there will be a HEA, but I don’t want it. Well I do want it but not with Trevor and Mellie. I frankly do not believe he deserved her. He played the part of insufferable rake a bit too well and when a hero shows you who he is, you better believe him! By the time he came around to accept his love for Mellie, I was beyond caring and wished for an outcome that had not put Mellie through such an emotional ringer.
While I believe their romance mishandled, the author is exceptional at writing action sequences and the sensual scenes were sparse but nothing short of absolute hotness…bastard that he is- but boy did Trevor Anaedsley have skills in the boudoir.
Then he adjusted her even wider, helping her slide her legs such that her knees lay in the crook of his elbows. She’d never felt more decadent in her life. Or more open. This truly was why they called it plowing a woman. His penis would be the blade that cut her open, and she couldn’t be more thrilled. He used his thumb to stroke her…she arched beneath him, she squeezed her legs against his arms, but there was no escape from the steady press and circle of his thumb. She pulsed beneath him, her hips lifted and lowered into his stroke, and her breasts ached with need.
“Touch your breasts,” he said…
Poor Mellie, a newling to the passions found in a skilled lovers bed, falls even deeper in love with Trevor and when she later feels spurned by him, runs to the arms of a suitor who means to marry her in truth, but does not want to be bothered with falling in love with her nor does he have an interest in giving her the family she covets. Mellie seriously could not catch a fucking break in this book, until “finally” Trevor gets the lead out, removes his head from his ass and discovers he does in fact want a love match with Mellie. I was disturbed and turned completely off that Mellie went from bad situation to bad situation, and her breakthrough did not occur until 97% through the story and only when Trevor wanted her back! Fooey! Trevor had it way too easy, Mellie should have had the attention of a real man who really fell for her to at least give that cad Trevor some worthwhile competition, so that his eleventh hour love declarations were not in the shadow of the most callous proposal Mellie was forced to endure, the first line of which was “I do not love you, Melinda, and I never will. But we can still travel the world together.”
Grinds teeth to mere enameled lumps upon my bloody gums. Seriously, Mellie is the recipient of the shit end of the stick far too often for my liking.
Jade Lee is a new author to me. There is a comical edge that I found hilarious in certain scenes and she writes an action scene like none that I’ve seen in historical romances that intrigues me. However, these spots of genius are muddled when I have to take into account the heroine abuse that grated against my sensibilities. I need to love my heroes and I did not even like Trevor.
Mellie was written fantastically, but she was tossed into no-win circumstances too often and I never like when a heroine- historical times or not- is so blatantly at the mercy of a man’s love. There was no balance. Nothing, absolutely nothing went Mellie’s way until the man she loved, loved her back and he spent barely a page “working” to get her back. Such a missed opportunity to show the power of a woman and how she can turn the tables on her own misfortune. The title is also very misleading. It suggests that there was substantial taming of a rake, just the opposite occurred. The resolution and ending was also strangely bizzare. Absolutely peculiar and weird. There is no explanation for how left field the last chapters and epilogue went. I am not in the habit of recommending books with truly bizzare endings unless there is a great story to support it. Though packed with promise, 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake unfortunately disappointed more than it entertained.