The Good Girls Guide to Rakes by Eva Leigh
Last Chance Scoundrels #1
February 22, 2022, by Avon
Reviewed by Kate H.
This book felt like it took a lot of time to get going. It starts with a bride being jilted at the altar and the groom, Dom, being aided in his departure by the two groomsmen, Kieran and Finn Ransome. As a result, all three men, or rather rakes, are saddled with getting married or being cut off by the Ransome patriarch. Dom’s sister, the eminently respectable Celeste Kilburn, is also stuck in a marriage trap: wed the stifling Lord Montford and bring respectability to her nouveau-riche father and brother or turn him down and bring the whole family down. Naturally then, Kieran Ransome trades giving Celeste some freedom to experience life before her betrothal for her assistance in making him respectable and eligible for society marriage.
Guess what happens? She experiences the more risqué side of adult London, and he experiences an uptick in his gentlemanly value. But also, no surprise, they fall in love.
My biggest beef with this book is not that it begins so slowly, but that there is so little tension overall. Sure, there are the tensions of circumstance – the bad fathers exerting pressure all around, Lord Montford with his creepy controlling ways, and the usual regency society frowning upon anything errant. But Kieran and Celeste are completely compatible from almost the get-go. Kieran, I might add, has an awfully sincere second wave feminist sensibility for a man apparently raised by 18th-century parents. His attention to Celeste’s agency and choice was endearing but seemed a little over-stressed in the novel. I liked both characters, but I feel like I would have gotten more into their relationship if they hadn’t been quite so idealized.
Kieran and Celeste’s arrangement puts them in a near impossible situation by the end of the novel. The solution to their problem is clever and maybe a bit conveniently buried earlier in the novel. I did want to know how they’d get out of it, but I wasn’t completely satisfied by the ending.