I’ve read some of Kate Harper‘s work before; I very much enjoyed the Midnight Masquerade series last year. When I saw this book on Amazon, the title is what drew me in and I was more than willing to give it a go because I know the author and the fact that I like her style.
How To Build The Perfect Rake follows Lucien St James as he discovers that his nice-boy persona won’t be enough to catch his dream woman – the beauty of the season and the woman that every man in London is trying to snag as his bride. He decides that he needs to be a bit more daring in his approach to the lovely Carisse if he’s going to stand out from the crowd and so seeks guidance from the most disreputable rake of them all. His best friend Olympia doesn’t understand why Lucien thinks this would be a good idea; she can see that he’s fine just the way he is and that he and Carisse would be very ill-suited for each other. Nonetheless, she wants to see her friend happy so she goes about promoting his cause while he’s out of town learning to become the perfect rake. When he returns to town, armed with an arsenal of charm and quick-wit, she discovers that there might be more to him that just being her best friend. The question is has she discovered this too late? Will she be able to make him realise what’s right in front of him or has she already lost him forever?
Both of the main characters were well enough written to hold my interest throughout the story. Olympia was a fairly strong-willed woman who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and make it known that she wasn’t interested in finding a husband at any cost. This independence opened up a slightly more creative outlet in terms of the character’s scope. Lucien played his part well and came across as a very charming and likeable, however I would have liked to see more of the nice side of Lucien. It was constantly mentioned that he was a nice guy, too nice to tempt Carisse, but most of the story focused on how he had become the talk to the town and built a reputation as a bit of a cad.
The relationship between the two was well built in general. The friendship that they had shared since before the start of the story meant that the reader was privy to an immediate sense of familiarity that leant itself to wanting the couple to succeed. However, I did find element of their relationship slightly irritating. The reader was led to believe that the couple discovered that they had been in love with each other for years, but those feelings only showed themselves after Lucien changed his personality and became more of a cad. I was left with a sense of disappointment that we weren’t given more of a reason for the feelings that had developed.
The story in itself was entertaining enough and the book was a nice easy read, but the poor editing was at times a huge distraction. There were several spelling errors, grammatical errors and sentences that just didn’t read write; there was even one instance where a characters name was spelt two different ways on the same page. These mistakes were easy enough to spot as the reader so I’m surprised that the author or the editor didn’t pick up on them after a few read-throughs of the story. I was disappointed that they had made it into the final edit, they deterred from the story and left me feeling slightly mixed about the book as a whole.