From the time she was no more than a child, Anne Curzon- Howe has been infatuated with James Hamilton. The moment the older Hamilton called the pretty young girl a Wild Irish Rose, her esteem for him multiplies exponentially. Anne and her brother Montagu were of Irish blood and undesirable to their father's purely English children by his first wife, especially the petulant half sister Emily, whose disdain for her half-siblings is epic.
Years later, the handsome rake,and heir apparent to the Dukedom of Abercorn, James Hamilton is now appointed attendant to the Prince of Wales and attending this young prince is no easy job. James finds watching over randy young prince his cross to bear.
Lady Anne Curzon-Howe, now seventeen, but passing herself off as eighteen to have her coming out, still has James Hamilton on the brain and she is determined to curb his rakish ways if the last thing she can do. Even with James' younger brother John Claud following her around like a puppy dog, Anne still has her one objective. When her half sister Emily, who still has a chip on her shoulder, tries to foil Anne at every turn, she attempts to rise above consistently.
When James mistakes Anne for mistress of his acquaintance Henry Fane, who she is in fact sister-in-law to, Anne decides to keep up the charade to teach the rake a lesson. James attempts to woo Anne into an illicit affair, only to find that she is in fact an honorable lady, which totally boggles James' mind. Now he wants this young woman and he will do what he must to have her, even if it means dispensing with his rakish ways. The powers that be consistently quarrel to keep them apart and John Claud's constant presence doesn't help in creating any harmony. James tries with all his might to overcome his reputation so that Anne and her family will find him a decent suitor for her, but those outside forces chip at the unstable relationship that Anne and James attempt to build.
Lord Rakehell by Virginia Henley is an enjoyable and frustrating read. Just when the reader wants all to go smoothly a wrench is thrown in to create mayhem. Isn't that the appeal in a romance though? I mean it would be a total bore if all were predictable, and Lord Rakehell is anything but that. Once in a while I wanted to smack Anne, but then again, I had to remember that she was only seventeen and her episodes of immaturity though annoying, were understandable. James Hamilton is a dream. Handsome, intelligent and loyal, this man goes above and beyond the call of duty to protect those he cares about. I really enjoyed Lord Rakehell and I hope you will as well.