Book Review: Liz Carlyle’s Never Romance a Rake

Posted March 8, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Liz Carlyle’s Never Romance a Rake

Never Romance a Rake

on July 22, 2008 and has 436 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Third in the Neville Family post-Regency historical romance. The couple focus is on Camille Marchand and Kieran Neville, Lord Rothewell.

My Take

This was not one of my favorites in this series, and I suspect it’s due to Rothewell’s illness as well as the aimless feel to Carlyle’s writing. I do hate an unhappy ending, and Carlyle is modern enough in her approach that this was a definite possibility. I did enjoy the contradictions Carlyle posed in this with Rothewell not caring about her bastardy and yet wanting to protect her against gossip.

I am a little surprised that Carlyle didn’t bring Lord Ender and the others along in attempting to make trouble. It was simply there, done, and we’re outta here.

It is an interesting contradiction with Rothewell’s family trying to talk Camille out of the marriage. And, no, not for the expected reasons.

I do wish Carlyle hadn’t left Christine Ambrose dangling like a loose thread. I want to know what Rothewell did to ensure her silence, dang it. And just who did Lady Louisa marry?? And why doesn’t she address Rothewell’s sexual preferences? She’s certainly made enough pointed references in the first two books, and now she avoids it?

I’m disappointed that Carlyle didn’t bring William Wilberforce into this when she discusses Kieran and Tony’s plans to push for abolition. After all, he was only the leader of the abolitionist movement in England.

The Story

In a game of vingt-et-un, Rothewell wins a woman in need of rescue. A chance decision that leads to rounds of question after question for both parties. Each determined to hold fast to themselves, to protect their own hearts. Lashing out at the other even as they melt into each other.

But the deadlines loom for Camille and Rothewell. She must marry and bear a child. Rothewell to do what he can to protect her before he dies.

The Characters

Camille Marchand is the bastard daughter of the runaway Lady Halburne and her seducer, le Comte de Valigny. With her mother’s death, all she has is her father. Poor thing. Emily is her maid. Comte de Valigny is almost ruined and an unceasing gamester and rakehell. He intends to barter his daughter for cash. Chin-Chin is a tiny little Asian dog whom Trammel introduces to the household. Lord Halburne is the spurned husband.

Kieran Neville, Baron Rothewell, is wealthy due to his and his siblings’ efforts despite their horrific upbringing. But he carries a tremendous weight on his soul, one he can’t allay. Instead, he dissipates his way to a hopeful oblivion. Trammel is his Negro butler while Miss Obelienne is both Trammel’s wife and the cook.

Lucas is the brother betrayed and betraying. Annemarie the reason for the betrayals. Martinique is Annemarie’s daughter who seems to have been adopted by the Nevilles. Xanthia is their young sister recently married to Lord Nash in Never Lie to a Lady, 1, and now pregnant. Lady Phaedra makes an appearance along with her mother. Tony Hayden-Worth gains an ally in his abolitionist plans. Gareth Lloyd, the Duke of Warneham, plays a small part and his wife is pregnant (see Never Deceive a Duke, 2).

Pamela, Lady Sharpe, has born a son at last, Lord Longvale, for her lord. And their daughter, Lady Louisa, has married the heir to an earl. Christine Ambrose is Lord Sharpe’s half-sister and extremely fast. Pamela’s mother is Olivia, the current Lady Bledsoe, and the Nevilles’ selfish, scheming, uncaring aunt.

George Kemble shows up, just to keep his hand in. I had hoped to watch him decorate Rothewell’s house.

Lord Enders is a pig, Sir Ralph Henries, and Mr. Calvert are the others present at that fateful card game.

Dr. Redding is the first, rather useless doctor; Dr. Hislop is much more down-to-earth.

The Cover and Title

The cover is an exposed Camille in her grayed-lavender empire gown. Sitting near a settee in her boudoir, filmy curtains forming a background for a white satin jacquard pillow edged in lace, Camille is clutching the front of her gown up above her thighs. Is it terror? Or is it a seductive move?

The title is as Camille discovers, Never Romance a Rake as it will break your heart.