Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan

22037784The Basics:
The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan
Book Four in the Legendary Lovers series
Ballantine Books
Historical Romance
Published January 26, 2016
Source: Received Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Amazon Kobo Goodreads

Why I picked up this book:

I really like the concept of the series, and I enjoyed book three, Secrets of Seductionwhen I read it a year and a half ago.

Sparks abound in this sizzling new Legendary Lovers tale fromNew York Times bestselling author Nicole Jordan, in which a seductive rakehell must woo his spirited but love-shy bride while unmasking a mysterious assailant.

Despite his notorious reputation, Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne, has mostly honorable intentions. So when beautiful Venetia Stratham boldly enters a gentlemen’s club, demanding that Quinn stop courting her sister, he does what any bachelor would do: He kisses her. With her sharp wit, intoxicating passion, and surprising vulnerability, Venetia is irresistible—except for all this nonsense about threatening to shoot Quinn. But when clandestine enemies make an actual attempt on the earl’s life, Venetia is implicated. To save her good name, Quinn does what any true gentleman must do: He proposes.

Thus Venetia finds herself wed to arrogant, wickedly sensual Quinn, whose devilish ways are as legendary as his rumored skills as a lover. Yet vexingly, her body rebels against her vow to remain immune to his many charms. If only she could reform the infuriating nobleman—without diminishing his undeniable allure. As Venetia discovers that a true rake is hard to tame, Quinn faces an even greater challenge: winning his wife’s fragile trust . . . while defending both their lives.
My Thoughts:

The Art of Taming a Rake is a historical romance with the threat of murder looming large. Quinn and Venetia have a sort-of history together, one of those backstories in which they were both kind of incidental to the other, but made enough of an impression to impact present day choices?  They're both endearing characters. Quinn's charming and bold, Venetia's brave and loyal. Brought together by a series of unfortunate events, will these two try to make a go of their marriage or part ways as planned? 

While I liked the plot necessitating the defense of Quinn and Venetia from an outside threat, I did find the middle of this book rather dull. There are some sexy scenes, to be sure, and they did liven things up, but these weren't enough to help the pacing, in my opinion. 

The plot sags when it's focused only on Quinn and Venetia's relationship. Partially because this is romance, so we know they will end up together, but mostly because of the way that their relationship simmers, there was never a lot of true tension in the relationship. When there isn't a direct, outside threat, there was nothing to make me fret over the fate of this couple. It was really a matter of the two of them being honest with themselves and each other about their emotions. 

I also felt that there's a real mixture of source material here. Where Secrets of Seduction played on the Beauty and the Beast fairytale, there was an early suggestion that Quinn's romance might be Pygmalion-based, and certain, Venetia was a sculptor. Ultimately, there are more connections to the Shakepeare play, The Taming of the Shrew, which is, I think, a rather unromantic tale. I love the banter, both in the play, and in The Art of Taming a Rake, but the idea that either Quinn or Venetia needs to be tamed did not sit well with me.

It also didn't really seem to jive with the story line. There's no overt taming of either character. There's really more of a re-alignment of priorities in light of falling in love. So... yeah. I don't know. I just wasn't satisfied.

Bottom line:

If you've loved Nicole Jordan's series, you'll undoubtedly want to get your hand's on Quinn Wilde's tale. The Art of Taming a Rake was just okay for me--I suggest starting with an earlier book in the series, if you're coming to it new.

3 stars
For fans of historical romance, Nicole Jordan

Don't just take my word for it though! I've gathered up a couple of other blog reviews, so check them out for some other opinions!

The Rambling Book Junkie 

Reviews by Ruckie

Il Profumo Delle Pergamene

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