This is NOT a graded review. I explain why it ended up being a DNF (did not finish).
Publisher: Carina Press
Where did you get this book from: e-ARC from Netgalley
Release date: September 13th
Official blurb taken from author’s official website:
When Henrietta Watson learns that the man she loves plans to marry London’s most beautiful and fashionable debutante, she plots to win him back. She’ll give him some competition by transforming her boring bumpkin neighbor, the Earl of Kesseley, into a rakish gothic hero worthy of this Season’s Diamond.
After years of unrequited love for Henrietta, Kesseley is resigned to go along with her plan and woo himself a willing bride. But once in London, everything changes. Kesseley, long more concerned with his land than his title, discovers that he’s interested in sowing wild oats as well as radishes. And Henrietta realizes that gothic heroes don’t make ideal husbands. Despite an explosive kiss that opens her eyes to the love that’s been in front of her all along, Henrietta must face the possibility that Kesseley is no longer looking to marry at all…
Oye. If I could some up what I read of this book, it would be that first word. I’m going to be brutally honest. I struggled so hard to get through Rakes and Radishes, and by page 189 of 257, I called it quits. The characters had the emotional maturity of a gnat. The heroine, Henrietta, is one of the most immature and selfish heroines I have encountered in a historical romance, and the hero, Kesseley, was a decent sort who had an horrible upbringing with an abusive father. He let Henrietta use and abuse their supposed ‘friendship’ for her own means for so many years until he finally says enough is enough after her numerous heartless and thoughtless words. Also, I honestly don’t know why this is likened to Gothic heroes in the blurb, because the hero doesn’t become one. All that features of a Gothic romance is the book that the heroine loves that features a Gothic romance. And she certainly doesn’t turn the hero into one. In fact, she pretty much insults him at every chance, uses him, and does it repeatedly until he finally tells her basically to take a hike. Seriously, I have never disliked a heroine so much, and in fact, I would go as so far as to call her a bitch *gasp*. And when he tells her what he thinks of her, she sobs, and it’s all poor me.
The premise had so much promise because hello, farmer hero? The hero was really nice, and I felt a lot of sympathy for him when he gets ridiculed at London because of his inelegant ways. But then he turns melodramatic and his character arc was spoilt for me. Though to be truthful, after enduring what he had from the heroine, I would turn melodramatic also. By the time the heroine decides that she loves Kesseley, he is lost to her. This is the only point where I actually cheered.
I did think at first that there was one redeeming character in this story, and that was the Duke’s mother, who disliked the heroine because she saw what she did to her son. But alas, she turns melodramatic also. She makes best friends with the heroine, and then tells her son that he has turned into his dead abusive father. She calls him this because she didn’t like how he was behaving by gambling, drinking, and whoring. Not sure how those three equate to her abuser of a husband who forced himself on her. But there you go.
So for those reasons above, and for no emotional development whatsoever in the book that I had read so far, and to be truthful, no romance whatsoever, it became a DNF for me. I wanted to finish it – especially as I requested it for review – but I wasn’t going to waste any more of my time on this title, because the temptation of chucking my e-reader against the wall in frustration was a strong likelihood.