Review – A Rake’s Guide to Seduction by Caroline Linden

Anthony Hamilton cannot help it. The way he looks, the way he lives, his past—it all conspires to make him a man men fear, women desire. His name fills gossip circles in a seemingly endless, lurid drama. But he’s never forgotten the only woman he’s ever truly wanted—yet could never have . . .

Celia Reece knew Anthony well before he forged his scandalous reputation. The young man she remembers spoke kindly to her, made her laugh, and his devilish good looks always quickened her pulse. But Celia’s mother had other designs—designs that didn’t include marriage to Anthony. Now, Celia is widowed, and her mother is intent on finding her a new husband. Refusing to let any obstacle stand in his path this time, Anthony sets out to win Celia’s heart by using the same skills that made him London’s most irresistible rake . . .

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                      A Rake’s Guide to Seduction (Reece Family Trilogy Book 3)

My Review:

Anthony Hamilton is the legal son and heir of an earl, but rumors have circulated about his true parentage because he wasn’t born until ten years after his parents’ marriage, and his looks are decidedly unlike the earl’s.  His relationship with his father was always rocky, and when he was expelled from school, he was thrown out of the house, with his allowance cut off.  From that day forward, Anthony discarded his courtesy title, and insisted on being called plain Mr. Hamilton.  In order to survive, he used his brilliant math skills to let him win at gambling.  He became adept at business transactions, and at seducing investment money from unhappy wives.  While he slowly worked at building himself a future, his reputation suffered, and he stayed on the fringes of society.

Celia Reece, is the beautiful daughter of a duke, and is enjoying her first season.  When one of her suitors  becomes too ardent in his unwanted proposal, Celia is surprisingly rescued by Anthony,  who is a friend of her brother’s.  Anthony was a large part of her childhood, and a dear friend, until her mother banned him from their home due to his scandalous reputation.  Anthony is struck by the woman his little friend has become.  Her sparkle and loveliness cause Anthony to ponder changing his ways and becoming a man suitable to court her.  When Anthony finally finds the courage to approach her brother for permission to call on her, with a heartfelt plan of how he will change his life, he is informed that Celia has just become engaged and will be married in a month.

Celia is young and in love, and her marriage to Bertie begins on a high note.  They have a lovely honeymoon at his family’s country estate, but the contentment doesn’t last long.  Bertie’s father, who controls the money, insists the newlywed couple stay in the country, though they both want to return to town.  Bertie seems to need laughter, companions, drink, and gambling to be happy.  Soon, Celia is left more and more on her own, as Bertie seeks whatever entertainment he can find.  Unfortunately, that entertainment eventually includes another woman, and the marriage continues to steadily deteriorate.  Then Bertie becomes ill and dies, leaving a disillusioned Celia in the country with Bertie’s aging, ill, and grieving father.

A year after Bertie’s death, Celia’s mother, Rosalind, arrives to take Celia back home.  Her beautiful daughter, now only twenty-two years old, is just a shell of her former self.  The sparkle, the laughter, and happiness are all gone, leaving a quiet, sad eyed ghost.  In an effort to cheer her up, Rosalind plans a house party, inviting several of her closest friends from her debut season.  (Much to Rosalind’s chagrin, her son has insisted that Anthony be invited, as well.)  Celia finds herself very uncomfortable around her former friends, who are now married.  They seem hard, overly willing to indulge in malicious gossip, and even eager to have affairs.  The only person who she feels comfortable with is Anthony, who is greatly shocked at the changes in her.  While Anthony no longer has any expectations regarding Celia, he’s determined to bring her back to life, and begins his campaign to do so.

For me, this is where the story begins.  Anthony certainly has not followed a straight and narrow path, but, oh, how I adore him.  As his history unfolds, the treatment of him going back to when he was a child broke my heart.  He endured gossip, snubs, and outright vicious attacks, much of it being undeserved.  I love his care of Celia, how he made her laugh again and brought her back to life.  Celia is so broken by her failed marriage.  She doubts her ability to make wise choices, and is conflicted.  I cheered at how she believed in Anthony and supported him, even when all evidence pointed against him.  Just when it seemed that happy ever after was in their grasp, I realized that there was a whole lot of book left, and there was another twist.

A RAKE’S GUIDE TO SEDUCTION is a truly satisfying and heartwarming read.  I love the theme of a second chance, and Anthony and Celia got their second shot at love, while Anthony develops some self worth, and Celia comes to terms with her earlier marriage.  This appealing couple is made for each other, and I heartily recommend this somewhat steamy and very romantic read.


    • Carol, I was surprised that I had missed one of Caroline Linden’s earlier books, as she’s an auto-read author for me. This was a wonderful story, and I found yet another hero to fall in love with!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s