Can he fool his new family?
John Fitzhugh Barrett, surprised to learn he is heir to a marquessate, is determined his new status won’t mean giving up his freedom. But as families from all over England descend upon Somerfield Park for the shooting season, their unmarried daughters are lining up to bag the newest trophy buck – him.
Or is he only fooling himself?
John’s instinct for self-preservation inspires him to divide his attentions between a scandalous young widow, and the safely ineligible Rebecca Kearsey, daughter of a destitute baron.
The charade gives John the illusion of controlling the game but when he loses his heart to the beautiful Rebecca, all bets are off.
Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, June 2015
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Natalie
Since finding out that he is the legitimate heir to the Somerset marquisate and not the bastard he had been raised as, John Fitzhugh Barrett has spent most of the last few months getting himself into trouble around London. He is enraged and frustrated that he was made to believe he was nothing as a child but is now expected to rise to the occasion and forgive the very people who gave him away. He knows his circumstances have already tarnished his reputation in society and so he has found his own group of rag-tag socially unacceptable friends with whom he can run amok.
Rebecca Kearsey is the daughter of a lesser Baron, one who has sold of a substantial portion of his family estate to pay his gambling debts and for expensive health treatments for his wife. Rebecca knows that between her blue-stocking ways and her father’s financial situation she is practically invisible to the members of the ton. So far this has provided a certain amount of relief, meaning she has been able to go to museums and art exhibitions without the cumbersome chaperones that other young women in society have to deal with.
When John gets in over his head at a boxing match he considers backing out, until a bound and gagged Rebecca is brought out as the trophy for the winner. This encounter starts the ball in motion for the relationship between these two outsiders. Rebecca and John end up saving each other in different ways throughout the book. John needs to be set straight and to make an effort with his family as they are reaching out to him while Rebecca has to handle the shady dealings and fall-out over her father’s gambling debts.
The relationship between John and Rebecca is coaxed along by John’s new, extended family who want him to succeed in his new role as well as accept and forgive them. The interactions between John’s new sister-in-law and his grandmother are a great deal of fun to read and you find yourself rooting for John to forgive his family as much as hoping that he and Rebecca will end up together.
There are some situations that are hard to believe, such as Rebecca being allowed into John’s room while he is lying in bed, but when reading a historical romance sometimes you have to suspend your disbelief. John and Rebecca are a well matched couple, bringing out the best in each other and helping each other heal the wounds caused by society’s unwillingness to accept them. Never Resist a Rake is another strong story in the Somerfield Park series by Mia Marlowe. It was fun to revisit several characters as well as to get to know these new ones.