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Book Review: A Rake Like You (Linfield Hall #2) (ARC)

Expected publication: August 31st 2021

Author: Becky Michaels

About to turn thirty, Charles Finch finally realizes his luck has run out. He’s twenty thousand pounds in debt, his entire family hates him, and the powerful Duke of Rutley is watching his every move. So Charles sets out to do what any handsome but impoverished earl would: find a young lady with an impressive dowry to marry him and replenish his coffers.

Louisa Strickland much prefers managing the successful estate her father left her to the company of society. But now that her younger sister has come of age, Louisa finds herself in Mayfair, forced to protect her family from desperate fortune hunters like her neighbor, Charles Finch. And when Charles sets his sights on Louisa’s sister, Louisa will do anything to avert his attention elsewhere.

As Charles and Louisa find themselves rekindling an old friendship that once went up in flames, Charles begins to wonder if there could be something more between them. He only needs to prove he’s not the man he once was. But unfortunately for Charles, it will take much more than passionate kisses and giving up brandy to convince independent Louisa to marry a rake like him.

[Lady August (#1) Review]

A Rake Like You is the second novel in the Linfield Hall series. It can technically be read as a standalone without reading the first as there is enough recap to catch the reader up on everything from the first novel. While the first novel focused on August, the newest member relating to Linfield Hall, and the estate’s solicitor, Samuel Brooks, the second novel dives deeper into the family as it focuses on Charles Finch, August’s half-brother, and Linfield Hall’s neighbor, Louisa Strickland of Strickland Manor. Since the other neighbor Rutley and Charles’s sister, Rosamund, have a rocky relationship in both novels, I hope that they will be featured in a third novel!  In this story, the two characters go from childhood friends to fake dating to estranged enemies to acquaintances to friends to lovers. It is an engaging roller coaster as the reader follows the couple who care about the other, but have difficulties making a real relationship work.

The story’s prologue is set in 1810 where the reader meets Louisa, 21 years old, and Charles, 23-years-old, having an argument and their arrangement is discussed. As the prologue jumps right into it without a lot of context, it can be confusing at first. However, it is worth it to keep reading as everything is explained and both the characters become more likable and complex. The main story then begins six years later in 1816 after Charles and Louisa had their falling out and now will come together in the Ton as Louisa’s younger 19 year old sister, Flora, will be out for her first Season. In the six years both Louisa and Charles are in new places in their lives. Louisa has inherited Strickland Manor and is in charge while living with her stepmother and half-sister. As she does not wish to give up the power of running her own estate and having a difficult time trusting another, she is determined to remain a spinster. On the other hand, Charles is 20,000 pounds in debt to his friend, he has inherited Linfield Hall becoming the Earl of Bolton, and trying to navigate his new responsibilities after a lifetime of slacking off.

With the passage of time in the novel, it is interesting to read about each character’s growth while they are apart. When the two come back together for the new Season, their relationship is not easily repaired and there is a lot of work to be done, even though the attraction is still there. Not only do both of these characters go through many obstacles, there are multiple side characters that were interesting. As this is Flora’s first Season, she is determined to be one particular man, which made for an interesting side story. For me, Flora reminded me a little of Lydia from Pride and Prejudice. While Lydia was my least favorite in that novel and Flora followed a similar personality, for me, in this one, she may not have been likable on my end, but she was still interesting as a character. Hayward and Fitzgerald were compelling side characters as they added a nice bit of tension, especially Hayward, to the story. I also greatly enjoyed revisiting August and Brooks as I loved their story in Lady August.

Overall, this was an excellent “sequel” to Lady August and I really hope that there are more novels in the series. There is the core cast of characters that are present in both novels, but there are a lot of background characters giving this series endless potential. As a series, I loved that both novels were unique in their stories while keeping the tones similar. The characters have excellent banter and the writing reads very natural with some historical and modern pieces weaved together. Charles and Louisa were an excellent pairing as they are opposite personalities, but they work to bring out the best in each other. They have fairly open communication with each other. While it is not perfect, they each try to learn from their mistakes, which makes them a couple to root for and a reader would believe a relationship between them would work. This was a very enjoyable and easy read that gives a slight modern relatability to a historical romance.

**I give a special thank you to Book Sirens and the author for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed are completely my own.**

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