I have a confession to make: as much as I enjoy Eva Leigh on Twitter, this is my first experience with one of her books.
But now I’m hooked.
There are a few standard tropes in (historical) romance: friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, fake courtship, only one bed, brother’s best friend, and a few others. This book is an example of that first trope- friends to lovers. In order to fully appreciate this book, you have to remember the spate of 90s teen romcoms, wherein a geeky girl received a makeover and then the hottest guy in the school finally notices her.
But wait- in My Fake Rake, it is the HERO who receives the makeover, not the heroine.
Let me back up a bit: Lady Grace finds herself in need of a husband. She has the perfect candidate: a famous naturalist who has recently returned from abroad. He’s leaving on his next expedition in a couple of months, and he’s absolutely clueless that Grace has any interest.
So, she enlists her library friend Sebastian to help her by pretending to be interested in her so that the other guy will finally notice her. It’s all just pretend…
Until it isn’t.
First of all, this book is hilarious. I can’t tell you how many times this book made me laugh. I especially enjoyed the scenes with Sebastian’s friend the Duke of Rotherby. Oh, and also the scene where they remove Sebastian’s spectacles to discover that he is extremely attractive. This is, of course, a defining moment in those aforementioned teen romcoms.
But in addition to the levity, there was also a sense of urgency: Grace and Sebastian have separately concluded that their feelings toward the other are more than mere friendship, but they are both thoroughly convinced that they are the only one who feels that way. Leigh manages to achieve this dynamic without it feeling manufactured.
I would absolutely recommend My Fake Rake. This is the beginning of a new series- The Union of the Rakes- and I should mention that this union is a throwback to a popular teen comedy from the 1980s, but you’ll have to read for yourself to find out which one. As for me, I am looking forward to book two, in which the delightful Lord Rotherby will receive a HEA of his very own.