by Jade Lee
Series: Rakes and Rogues #1
Published on May 5, 2015 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Mellie Smithson 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. Unwilling to settle, Mellie will do anything to escape to London...
Trevor Anaedsley has a problem...
Trevor Anaedsley's grandfather has cut off his funds until he gets engaged. Beset by creditors, Trevor escapes to the country-ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson-where he meets Smithson's lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him-but will this fake engagement go as Trevor and Mellie plan? Or will they find that even the best laid plans often go awry?
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I’m just. . . not really sure what to think about 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake. There were elements that I liked, namely the fake relationship trope which is a favorite of mine, but a lot of the content was questionable.
This book and my review contain potential triggers for suicide and insanity cast in a bad light.
So we have Mellie, who’s been stuck in the country with her father and no future prospects. She’s intelligent and sharp-tongued at times, and a bit of a bluestocking for the time period. Trevor is a family friend of sorts that comes to visit for his own selfish reasons. None of their (friendship) history is explained, and I found that their relationship seemed hinged on this prior knowledge of each other that the reader doesn’t have. Strike one for the romance.
About 7% into the book, there were jokes about killing oneself if the outcome of a duel is unfavorable. While it’s clearly meant as a joke in the text, it shouldn’t be made light of and seemed really harsh in relation to the rest of the book. And then it came up again around the 21% mark with a mention of a character committing suicide and another inheriting the “madness” the family believes led to that. While this isn’t a personal trigger for me, the whole set of interactions was really off-putting and contributed nothing to the story so I didn’t understand why the author chose to include it.
At this point, the book shifts to Mellie and Trevor traveling to London to pretend to be betrothed. I really didn’t like the way Trevor treated Mellie once they reached the city. He’s an absolute jerk then tries to be sweet, but the only time they ever seem to be on equal footing is in the bedroom.
Despite Trevor falling for Mellie and doing whatever it takes to get her, his comments toward her were always tinged with just wanting to have sex with her. Same with the other eligible men in her life and the book really pushed “you, the woman, know nothing about sex so I, the male, will teach you and you will love it.” Like what? I get that in this era there was a power imbalance between men and women but I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance that pushed that so strongly and made it out to be okay like this one did.
I wanted the fake relationship trope in full but it felt wasted after they traveled to London, and I just couldn’t get behind this romance or the sub-par story that came with it.
And I haven’t even mentioned Ronnie, Mellie’s cousin who believes he’s in love with her and is pushing for marriage on top of all this nonsense. Every scene he was in got significantly worse. Then the fact that he got the epilogue page time for a sickeningly sweet ending? Yeah nope. Not a fan. I’d rather have had a scene with Mellie and Trevor set sometime in the future.
This book was a definite no-go on the romance, the story, everything. It’s the first I’ve read by this author but I’m now hesitant to pick up any of her other works.