Series: The Turner Series

Review – The Ruin of a Rake

Posted May 30, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Ruin of a Rake

The Ruin of a Rake

by Cat Sebastian

Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Pages: 336
Series: The Turner Series #3
Rating: four-stars

Rogue. Libertine. Rake. Lord Courtenay has been called many things and has never much cared. But after the publication of a salacious novel supposedly based on his exploits, he finds himself shunned from society. Unable to see his nephew, he is willing to do anything to improve his reputation, even if that means spending time with the most proper man in London.

Julian Medlock has spent years becoming the epitome of correct behavior. As far as he cares, if Courtenay finds himself in hot water, it's his own fault for behaving so badly—and being so blasted irresistible. But when Julian's sister asks him to rehabilitate Courtenay's image, Julian is forced to spend time with the man he loathes—and lusts after—most.

As Courtenay begins to yearn for a love he fears he doesn't deserve, Julian starts to understand how desire can drive a man to abandon all sense of propriety. But he has secrets he's determined to keep, because if the truth came out, it would ruin everyone he loves. Together, they must decide what they're willing to risk for love.

Cat Sebastian’s The Ruin of a Rake completes her usual trick of taking a character who seemed unlikeable (or at least very deeply flawed) and making him the hero. Here she takes Courtenay (last seen in The Lawrence Browne Affair) and reveals the things that make him who he is, and the ways in which he’s trying to do better.

It also introduces us to Julian Medlock, who has his own problems — not least his desire to be respectable above almost all else, and thus the way he stays away from anything that looks like feelings. Asked by his sister to help rehabilitate Courtenay’s reputation (to allow him to see his nephew), Julian gives in, and quickly finds himself attracted to Courtenay, and tempted to do things that aren’t at all respectable.

It works because there’s genuine chemistry between the characters, and there are things which go a lot better than I feared when I first read them (like Julian taking over Courtenay’s finances). There are also some obvious points of contention that I realised were going to happen waaay before they did, which could’ve maybe been a little more subtle. I appreciated the hints at Courtenay’s reformation, like the fact that he isn’t drinking (but we don’t get told that right away).

There is a stupid nitpicky thing that I’ve definitely been informed is stupid and nitpicky, but it’s one of those things where it’s something you know well or which is a special interest, and you just can’t ignore it being wrong. Julian’s malaria is fairly well portrayed in general, actually: it’s correct that there are forms of malaria that can recur lifelong (caused by Plasmodium vivax or P. ovale: they can exist in a form called hypnozoites, in an infected person’s liver, and recur from there without a new mosquito bite, sometimes years later).

…Unfortunately, neither of them have the 24-hour recurrence of fever which Julian so clearly describes (which would indicate P. chabaudi or P. knowlesi, neither of which have hypnozoites nor would be plausible for Julian to contract). The regularity of the recurrent fevers is pretty diagnostic of which kind of malaria parasite you’ve contracted, and the description of Julian’s infection doesn’t match anything real. I know nobody else cares, but I do, and it was extremely distracting. It’s not something that would bother most people!

Overall, I had a good time, regardless. Julian blossoms from where he starts, and Courtenay is more of a dear than he appeared in The Lawrence Browne Affair.

Rating: 4/5

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