From B+ to C: how to ruin a perfectly good story

The Perfect Rake - Anne Gracie

tw: abuse

Well... this sucked!


I loved the first part of this book! In fact I loved most all of it, with the exception of the last chapters when drama was carelessly thrown in, characters started behaving out of character, making a hash of a perfectly good book.

The beginning shows the Merridew sisters being verbally and physically abused by their tutor: their grandfather.
Basically these girls have been living a real nightmare with an abusing despot who is determined to break them.
After the evil grandfather takes a well earned fall, Prudence decides to risk it all:
Armed with nothing more than courage, and some big white lies, the girls enter their uncle's household despaired for a new chance in life.
After awhile things start looking better.
Now Prudence, the eldest, only needs to wait a couple more weeks until she reaches 21, therefore becoming responsible for her younger sisters.
The only problem being that the girls need to get married in order to get their hands on their inheritance. And if her younger sisters are "diamonds of the first water" (as the uncle says), Prue is as plain as one can be... and unfortunately their uncle is determined that Prue will be the first one to get married. Only then will the other Merridew sisters be able to make their presentation...
His intentions are good, but the results just end up messing with the girls' plan's.
And, this is where the fun begins. Due to the Big White Lies, Prudence gets stuck in a big, BIG Mess.
Trying to correct said mess, she enters into a bigger one... and she meets Gideon ;)
Prudence and Gideon are basically perfect together.
Their dialogue is perfectly witty. The farse they see themselves into is masterfully created, pulling constant laughs out of me. Farces can be tricky to read: from the moment that something starts falling into the ridiculous department, said story is dead to me.
Surprisingly, _at least when it came to the humour category _, that never happened...
The same can't be said for the Drama bit of it.
For this part alone, for the relationship between Gideon and Prudence, I would re-read, and re-read this over and over...
The way Gideon falls for Prudence was incredibly sweet, and awe inducing.
Truth is, I am tired of perfect gods and goddesses descriptions: It was refreshing to see Gideon so hopelessly besotted by Prudence _independently of the fact of her not being a beauty _ and making such strong claims in defence of the girl's looks.
So what went wrong...
The story ends up being too long for what actually happens: Gideon's background could have been more developed, which would have filled some pages with something more interesting than all the drama, drama, drama, that we are given in the end.
One thing that really annoys me, is when characters start behaving out of character...
An author can't expect me to believe that a character as strong as Prudence, who has been taking care of her sisters for almost nine years now, would display such an amount level of gullibility as she does in the end towards a determined character... yes, there's the story of ancient ties between them, but the way Prudence reacts to them just ends up diminishing her character.
Then the drama was so overpowering that after awhile it basically buried all the good things that I had been ranting and raving about on twitter! o_O
After all this I'm not quite sure if I'll read the following ones so soon.
Who would have guessed that a book written in 2005 would feel so dated in the drama department, as this one was?
Oh, and regarding the expression "hanky-panky" that was so carelessly thrown in here?
I'm afraid the author skipped a whole century in order to use it, with that meaning.
See the correct meaning Here .