Rakes and Radishes
By Susanna Ives
When Henrietta Watson learns that the man she loves plans to marry London’s most beautiful and fashionable debutante, she plots to win him back. She’ll give him some competition by transforming her boring bumpkin neighbor, the Earl of Kesseley, into a rakish gothic hero worthy of this Season’s Diamond.
After years of unrequited love for Henrietta, Kesseley is resigned to go along with her plan and woo himself a willing bride. But once in London, everything changes. Kesseley, long more concerned with his land than his title, discovers that he’s interested in sowing wild oats as well as radishes. And Henrietta realizes that gothic heroes don’t make ideal husbands. Despite an explosive kiss that opens her eyes to the love that’s been in front of her all along, Henrietta must face the possibility that Kesseley is no longer looking to marry at all…
This Blonde’s Review:
First off let me say that I picked Rakes and Radishes out from Netgalley.com as an impulse read. The title made me wonder since I haven’t heard of too many stories with vegetables in the title, but I liked the cover and the description so I figured I’d give it a try. I’m so glad I did! We have Henrietta who is rather a spoiled girl, though she isn’t really represented that way. It’s mostly just Kesseley’s mother who thinks she is. As we go on and see the way she had treated Kesseley and the way she expects everything to work out for her, we see that she is. Or perhaps she’s just sheltered, even though her father is a little absentminded with his love for astrology and calculating the exact location of a then unknown planet, he still loves her and cares for her. She’s also had Kesseley her whole life to also do his best to help her achieve what she desires. In spite of her outlook she means well, believing her plan for Kesseley will benefit him as well. Something I loved about Henrietta was her intelligence. In many stories where we have a heroine who is as smart as Henrietta it manages to bring them down somehow, since that was not the time for women to receive praise for their intelligence. Instead the author works her flair for numbers in such a way that it lifts Henrietta up without it being broadcasted that she was so mathematical. It was just a part of who she was.
In an odd turn in this story Kesseley is the character I cared for first. In many books I read I will care about both characters immediately or the lady involved first. In this story I immediately cared for Kesseley and wondered what it was going to take to get Henrietta to wise up. Kesseley is a Good solid man without being self-righteous. I enjoyed the way we see the way both of their minds work and the feelings they both have as they navigate their confusing new relationship. It was very realistic the way we can say the wrong thing to someone by not saying All of what we’re thinking. We see what happens when we’re selfish and want what we want, or when we try to act noble and make things worse.
I really enjoyed this book and will be looking out for other titles by Susanna Ives. I even passed up on going back to bed this morning in order to finish reading it. That says a lot! While the ending was somewhat predictable based on the type of book this is, there was still something about it… a realism maybe, that made it something special. I really enjoyed this story and if you like a good romance novel you probably will too.