My Fake Rake: The Union of the Rakes
Lady Grace Wyatt is a bluestocking, a naturalist more interested in reptiles and amphibians than people. Though she is content with spinsterhood, her parents want her to marry, and after her father’s heart attack she agrees to make more effort. A fellow naturalist would seem ideal, but the handsome and eligibly aristocratic Mason Fredericks views her solely as a colleague. When her anthropologist friend Sebastian Holloway suggests that marked attention from a widely admired figure would spark the interest from prospective suitors, Fredericks included, she is intrigued, but who can she find?
The answer, of course, is Sebastian himself, but the next challenge is to transform him from an impoverished, insecure, and tongue-tied scholar into a suave man about town. Since he is secretly in love with her already, he reluctantly agrees, and as she gets to know him better, Grace falls in love with him too. But will they confess their feelings for each other and risk their friendship?
This Regency has the makings of comic farce, but Leigh skilfully avoids such pitfalls, developing instead the rich potential for wit and irony; for insightful commentary upon the courtship rituals of the aristocracy; and for the importance of honesty. Highly recommended.