My Fake Rake (Union of the Rakes, #1)
In the first book in Eva Leigh's new Union of the Rakes series, a bluestocking hires a faux suitor to help her land an ideal husband only to be blindsided by real desire…Lady Grace Wyatt is content as a wallflower, focusing on scientific pursuits rather than the complications of society matches. But when a handsome, celebrated naturalist returns from abroad, Grace wishes, for once, to be noticed. Her solution: to "build" the perfect man, who will court her publicly and help her catch his eye. Grace's colleague, anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, is just the blank slate she requires.In exchange for funding his passage on an expedition leaving London in a few months, Sebastian allows Grace to transform him from a bespectacled, bookish academic into a dashing—albeit fake—rake. Between secret lessons on how to be a rogue and exaggerated public flirtations, Grace's feelings for Sebastian grow from friendship into undeniable, inconvenient, real attraction. If only she hadn't hired him to help her marry someone else...Sebastian is in love with brilliant, beautiful Grace, but their bargain is complete, and she desires another. Yet when he's faced with losing her forever, Sebastian will do whatever it takes to tell her the truth, even if it means risking his own future—and his heart.

My Fake Rake (Union of the Rakes, #1) Details

TitleMy Fake Rake (Union of the Rakes, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 26th, 2019
PublisherAvon
ISBN-139780062932419
Rating
GenreRomance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction

My Fake Rake (Union of the Rakes, #1) Review

  • Elodie
    January 1, 1970
    Will two persons who have feelings deeper than friendship for another take the risk to damage their relationship and open their heart or will they keep their emotions shut down and risk to let happiness pass them by?This is my first book written by Mrs Eva Leigh and it won’t be the last, this book was unputdownable, why I even chastised myself for choosing to read it on a working day!Mrs Leigh has crafted a vivid tale of finding its with blood and flesh lively characters.I simply adored this Will two persons who have feelings deeper than friendship for another take the risk to damage their relationship and open their heart or will they keep their emotions shut down and risk to let happiness pass them by?This is my first book written by Mrs Eva Leigh and it won’t be the last, this book was unputdownable, why I even chastised myself for choosing to read it on a working day!Mrs Leigh has crafted a vivid tale of finding its with blood and flesh lively characters.I simply adored this rather reversal of my Fair Lady with Sebastian Holloway as Eliza Doolittle.I immediately fell in love with Mrs Leigh hero, I loved Sebastian, I rooted for him, my heart arched and broke for him, I cheered too for him! As all along his relationship moved from caring to deep love for Grace, he also found his voice and his confidence.He is not the usual alpha man so oftenly portrayed in romance novels, he is the one waiting in the shadows, the one who will notice the heroine and give his handkerchief is needed. For her, he accepted to become someone else, to face his own fears and stand by her side to make her felt desired. Even ready to fade away back in the edges of her life if necessary to provide her what she asked for.Don’t ask me why but I portrayed him as Eddie Redmayne as Newton Scamander, his gangly physic, his long frame avoiding other’s glares, his mane of hair ...« he could not consider failure. He’d been a disappointment to his family—he refused to disappoint someone he truly cared about. »For a clever woman, Lady Grace was one very slow on the uptake, she catalogued all the things she liked then loved about him as she wanted to remember them but it took her so very very long to comprehend her own feelings I wondered where her big brain has gone. She is a recognized entity in her field but really guileless reading love. But I loved her, she is just ignorant and by analyzing all her own reactions and feelings, she accepted she made a mistake, a big one. The main problem was she did acknowledge him as her friend but didn’t really saw him for the man who makes her heart beats faster, her belly flutters. She needed closeness and nearly losing him to understand how perfect he was, this man who faced his fears only for her.The period of Sebastian metamorphosis from a bookworm to a rake was quite full of witty banters and quips between the trio of friends, Grace, Seb and Rotherby, at time it was really hilarious. It was really a marvel of twists and bounces from one situation to an other.« “What I wear is serviceable enough. I’ve had this waistcoat for years.” “And it deserves some rest to repay its decade of valiant service,” Rotherby noted. “A rake is never dressed in clothing that’s old enough to marry.” »The Love triangle trope is far from my favorite as it always leaves one party hurt.And in this story, there is no vilain in this story, just a young woman who didn’t understand fully the range of her action when she jumped on the battlefields to win one man’s interest when her heart was already pulsing faster when close by an other. Why I even felt more sorry for FredericKs, as he is the underdog of the book, but stairs do gracious even in his defeat.« “I wanted Mason, but it’s Sebastian I need.” »Until the very last chapter, I was on edge, worried by Grace and Seb inability to see past their own mask, then there was this love declaration scene, one of the most beautiful I have read since long. My heart had stopped to beat for some seconds, as I was keyed up by what I was reading. This was the perfect rendition of Sebastian’s personality, a knight with or without a shining armor, who would follow to the end of the earth the woman he loved.A special mention for Rotherby, for a duke, he is quite an amazing character too, aware of his flaws and playing with them, his friendship with Sebastian was so refreshing, a peer with a commoner and this same lofty peer, a rake of a Duke, playing matchmaker for his friend.Why I was so happy to learn he will be the next rake in this series, what a fabulous hero he will make.A big fat 10 starsI was granted through Edelweiss an advance copy by the publisher Avon. I had previously to it preordered my own copy.Here is my true and unbiased opinion.https://m.facebook.com/story.php?stor...
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  • b.andherbooks
    January 1, 1970
    Sebastian Holloway has secretly adored Lady Grace Wyatt ever since sharing a pencil with her in the library they both frequent. But Sebastian is merely a poor scholar with no prospects, and Lady Grace is on a mission to make a famed naturalist she wants to wed notice her, a plan that includes molding Sebastian into a rake of the first order. But as these two bookish souls spend more and more time together, they realize that that happiness and true love may be right under their bespactacled Sebastian Holloway has secretly adored Lady Grace Wyatt ever since sharing a pencil with her in the library they both frequent. But Sebastian is merely a poor scholar with no prospects, and Lady Grace is on a mission to make a famed naturalist she wants to wed notice her, a plan that includes molding Sebastian into a rake of the first order. But as these two bookish souls spend more and more time together, they realize that that happiness and true love may be right under their bespactacled noses.I had a grand time watching these two nerds blushingly fall in love with each other and I cannot wait to read more in this series! There are a lot of great lines, but I'll wait until I see a finished copy before quoting. I received a free ARC in exchange for a fair review.
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  • Shiloh
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to read this gem early... and, oh, my goodness... adorable! And soooo sexy...
  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI’m always on the lookout for a new author or series and I absolutely loved this premise. I really liked Grace and Sebastian. They’re both smart and good people. I enjoyed their friendship and how they bonded over science and the library. The friends of Grace and Sebastian are fun and even though Jane is already married, I’m excited to see that the next book is Rotherby’s story. Plot wise, it was good. There’s a lot of inner monologue and pining away for the other. I wanted more 3.5 starsI’m always on the lookout for a new author or series and I absolutely loved this premise. I really liked Grace and Sebastian. They’re both smart and good people. I enjoyed their friendship and how they bonded over science and the library. The friends of Grace and Sebastian are fun and even though Jane is already married, I’m excited to see that the next book is Rotherby’s story. Plot wise, it was good. There’s a lot of inner monologue and pining away for the other. I wanted more flirting and banter between them. Even though the romance felt like it was on the back burner, I loved the way these two respected each other. The grand gesture is fantastic, but I definitely could have done with more from the ending and epilogue. Overall, it was the characters who kept me reading and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Julie (Jewlsbookblog)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsSebastian was an anthropologist, basically penniless, even though his dad owned a profitable iron works factory. He was a total nerd, living on mutton and threadbare, yet functional clothes, spending his limited funds on books-I loved him! His stammer and anxiousness in new situations had me feeling for him, but it also presented him as a regular, likable fellow. Seb had a unique collection of steadfast friends from his school days, which served him well when he really needed help 4.5 starsSebastian was an anthropologist, basically penniless, even though his dad owned a profitable iron works factory. He was a total nerd, living on mutton and threadbare, yet functional clothes, spending his limited funds on books-I loved him! His stammer and anxiousness in new situations had me feeling for him, but it also presented him as a regular, likable fellow. Seb had a unique collection of steadfast friends from his school days, which served him well when he really needed help pulling off the transformation of his lifetime-how to become a rake. All in order for his closest friend, Lady Grace, to win the attentions of another man. Oy, the things you do for a friend...Grace was an herpetologist. A unique job for a Lady, I thought, and much respect for her, because slimy reptiles and amphibians make me shudder just thinking about them:) She was sweet, witty with sharp intelligence, and a little odd, but she was happy as is. Confidence can take you pretty far and Grace knew where she wanted to be. When she finds herself in a pickle to get married, she decides to enlist Seb in a quack scheme to make another man interested in her, not realizing the one Grace really needs, not wants, has been in front of her all along. Love is truly blind people...I was excited to read My Fake Rake when I caught a look at the cover and blurb, however, I was doubly excited after hearing Eva Leigh talk about the premise behind the Union of the Rakes series-1980’s classic movies! Maybe I’m dating myself, but these days....well, they don’t make movies like they used to. The Breakfast Club tops my list of all-time must-watch films, so when I learned the Regency would mash with The Breakfast Club.... laughs, shenanigans, and a strong friends to lovers romance kept me entertained from beginning to end! This is a strong start to what looks like a fabulous series and I am looking forward to The Duke of Rotherby’s tale! I received an advanced reader copy and this is my honest review.
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  •  ᴍɪᴄs ✖amante de los spoilers✖
    January 1, 1970
    It's the same old story, friends to lovers. Sebastian is secretly in love with Grace but Grace doesn't see him as a man, she actually has a crush on another man (Mason) and they pretend to court each other because she wants Mason to notice her (among other reasons...) and she ends up falling in love with Sebastian instead. It gets me everytime. Their relationship was so cute, Sebastian was the sweetest man ever, he even remembered what she was wearing the day they met!. He's definitely an ideal It's the same old story, friends to lovers. Sebastian is secretly in love with Grace but Grace doesn't see him as a man, she actually has a crush on another man (Mason) and they pretend to court each other because she wants Mason to notice her (among other reasons...) and she ends up falling in love with Sebastian instead. It gets me everytime. Their relationship was so cute, Sebastian was the sweetest man ever, he even remembered what she was wearing the day they met!. He's definitely an ideal hero, supportive, sweet, caring, shy with others but with her he is his confident self.I really liked the romance but the plot was too unrealistic and ridiculous at times and I couldn't enjoy the book at the 100% because of it. I kept wondering "is this historical accurate?". Most of the time it seemed like I was reading a contemporary romance book but with characters that liked to do cosplay.To sum up: for fans of the trope "friends to lovers" and light historical romances, entertaining but you have to suspend your disbelief for a while.
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  • Lubnaa (Romance Library)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.My Fake Rake (*cringe*) is my first Eva Leigh book...and boy, it was quite the disappointment. Zero originality and pure ridiculousness from start to finish. And not the good kind of ridiculousness. Let's start with the series premise. The Union of Rakes consists of a group of boys who became friends during detention at Eton. I mean, we've all seen The Breakfast Club so I don't need to spell it out for you. Aside from their shared I received an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.My Fake Rake (*cringe*) is my first Eva Leigh book...and boy, it was quite the disappointment. Zero originality and pure ridiculousness from start to finish. And not the good kind of ridiculousness.  Let's start with the series premise. The Union of Rakes consists of a group of boys who became friends during detention at Eton. I mean, we've all seen The Breakfast Club so I don't need to spell it out for you. Aside from their shared time spent in detention, we are told that the boys "shared the kind of bond that only struggle could create." What struggle, pray tell?? You can't just tell me 'oh they struggled with something that link them together as boys and adults' and not tell me what that struggle is? How did 5 completely different boys become friends? How come they are still friends as adults? We know that they were sensitive towards Sebastian and his shyness. But is that it? What about the struggle they all supposedly share? Is this pure laziness from the author? This is the premise of the entire series. At least The Breakfast Club showed us how a group of different people became friends. Moving onto the fake rake training. Grace asks her friend Sebastian to practice being a rake and pretend to court her in public so that the guy she's into will finally notice her as a woman. Sounds fun, right? The nerdy characters even manage to turn this whole experiment into something scientific. But this entire scheme just ends up being so damn nonsensical. First, Grace decides that the best way Sebastian can learn how to become a rake is by simply following the rules of gentlemanly behaviour outlined in an outdated book. Grace doesn't always go out in society, but she's gone to enough parties to know how popular gentlemen behave. Yet, she couldn't distinguish between the ridiculously outdated book's instructions and the way Sebastian is actually supposed to behave. It feels like the heroine was made purposefully oblivious for comedic reasons. Next, wouldn't it have been easier if Grace had asked Sebastian's Duke friend to pay attention to her in public? She was reluctant when Sebastian first mentioned it, but she eventually became friends with the Duke...friendly enough to get him to ask her for one dance so that the guy she likes can look at her. Everything about Sebastian learning to be a fake rake feels so forced and ridiculous. It's a great way to push Sebastian out of his comfort zone so that he grows as a character. But the context itself — the why — is just too damn ridiculous and I couldn't take it seriously.The romance also left a lot to be desired. Grace spends majority of the book being confused about her feelings. She spends a good portion of the story being attracted to both the hero and the guy she supposedly likes. She is constantly confused and can't decide whom she has feelings for. It takes her forever to realize that Sebastian is the one she's in love with. She has feelings for both of them for at least 60% of the book. The romance between Sebastian and Grace was ruined every time she swooned over the other guy and had butterflies in his presence, which happened A LOT. I can't deal with heroines who are so damn indecisive about their feelings. And the thing with Sebastian is that he's too much of a beta hero — he gives up so easily. He doesn't even try to win her heart and he easily lets go of her. No, thanks, that's not what I want in my romance novels.thank u, next
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  • Tanya Sridhar
    January 1, 1970
    I'll defs read it, but *cringe* at that title
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Soooo good! 4.5 stars!
  • Victoria Stone
    January 1, 1970
    Delightful. I loved it.
  • Megan Lavey-Heaton
    January 1, 1970
    TW: This book goes in-depth into social anxiety. I received a digital ARC of this book for reviewing purposes.I had been following the progress of Eva Leigh's new series, The Union of the Rakes, via social media, and I was especially excited to read the first installment, "My Fake Rake." While an homage to '80s movies, the core of it is a gender-reversed tale of "My Fair Lady," but with scientists. Seb Holloway is one of five Eton students on the fringes of society, having forged a bond with his TW: This book goes in-depth into social anxiety. I received a digital ARC of this book for reviewing purposes.I had been following the progress of Eva Leigh's new series, The Union of the Rakes, via social media, and I was especially excited to read the first installment, "My Fake Rake." While an homage to '80s movies, the core of it is a gender-reversed tale of "My Fair Lady," but with scientists. Seb Holloway is one of five Eton students on the fringes of society, having forged a bond with his peers during a lengthy period of bonding in the library, an homage to "The Breakfast Club." He is friends with fellow scientist Lady Grace Wyatt, who has her own sights set on another naturalist. While Seb has twinges of attraction of Grace, it's nothing compared with once he is pulled into her idea - if he becomes a rake and pretends to be courting Grace, then maybe her naturalist will finally notice her.It is a classic friends-to-lovers tale that is bolstered by just how wonderful the leads are. Lady Grace is very assured of herself, especially when it comes to her career. Her family loves and is supportive of her. She has been wounded by society, but when her father falls ill and asks her to marry, she wants to make him happy.Then there is Seb. If he doesn't inspire fierce protectiveness by the end of the prologue, you won't get far in the book without developing those feelings. He is a true cinnamon roll: too good and too pure for this world. Shunned by his father, Seb is crippled by social anxiety that drives the book just as much as the romance between Grace and Seb. The beauty of this book isn't in the titular romance: it is in the sheer amount of love and acceptance shown toward Seb by Grace and that close group of friends from Eton. Seb's closest friend, the Duke of Rotherby, steps into the role of fairy godmother with such aplomb that surely he will put Disney characters out of work. Between Grace and Rotherby's support, Seb finds ways to manage his social anxiety. It is not magically cured, and you know it will never go away. Seb has good moments and bad ones, but he now has coping mechanisms. He also has support and people who accept everything about him unconditionally. It is the purest form of love.Another major theme is the inner struggle between fighting growing feelings for your best friend and ensuring you don't step on their toes. Throughout the book, Seb makes sure that everything is Grace's choice. Consent is utilized beautifully. I just want to live in the Benezra Library, even though I am a history person and not a sciences one. It has the best policy. "The best part about the library was its policy of admitting anyone, male or female, white or black, young or aged, impoverished or wealthy, provided that the person seeking entrance displayed a genuine love of the sciences.”I also love how the book establishes that strong friendship and camaraderie between Grace and Seb before their feelings go off the deep end. I absolutely love the scenes where both of them whip out journals to make observations of the world around them - much to the bafflement of Rotherby. Really, I could just read an entire book series about these three with Grace and Seb dragging Rotherby along on their scientific expeditions. My only minor complaint is that I wish we could have seen Seb confront his father as the book progressed. Mostly because he sounds like an insufferable git, and I wanted to see Seb get his own back. "My Fake Rake" felt like a giant, warm hug, the sort of story you pull out repeatedly on a cold winter's evening while bundled up in warm blankets and a mug of cocoa. It makes me feel happy, and if you are looking for the ultimate comfort read, pick up this book. I'm also greatly looking forward to Rotherby's story, which comes out next year.
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  • Norah Gibbons
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh is the first book in her delightful new The Union of Rakes series. Lady Grace Wyatt is a scholar with an interest in amphibians and reptiles, She is quite happy with her studies and spending time with her friends until her father becomes ill and in order to relieve his worries she agrees to look for a husband. The gentleman she has in mind is celebrated naturalist Mason Fredericks I received an ARC of this book to read through Edelweiss+ in exchange for a fair review. My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh is the first book in her delightful new The Union of Rakes series. Lady Grace Wyatt is a scholar with an interest in amphibians and reptiles, She is quite happy with her studies and spending time with her friends until her father becomes ill and in order to relieve his worries she agrees to look for a husband. The gentleman she has in mind is celebrated naturalist Mason Fredericks whom she’s long had a crush on but he doesn’t see her as a prospective bride only a fellow scholar. Her good friend Sebastian Holloway an anthropologist suggests what she needs is a Rake to take an interest in her so that Mason will see her in a new light. Since she doesn’t know any Rakes she asks Sebastian to pretend to be a Rake and they enlist the help of his good friend the Duke of Rotherby in a Pygmalion type of transformation from poor scholar to handsome rake. When Sebastian is transformed not only does Mason begin to see Grace in a new light but Grace begins to see Sebastian for who he is and Sebastian fears that giving Grace her hearts desire will break his. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it. Medium Steam. Publishing Date November 26, 2019 #Edelweissplus #MyFakeRake #EvaLeigh #HistoricalRomance #Bookstagram #AvonRomance #AvonBooks #HarperCollinsCanada #FriendsToLovers
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  • Z
    January 1, 1970
    I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss Plus.Grace and Sebastian, the heroine and hero of this delightful novel, are passionate intellectuals. They navigate life and love with a bit of social awkwardness. Grace has access to appealing men within a small circle of independent researchers, but may lose an opportunity that will change her life forever. Refreshingly, shy hero Sebastian is more of a beta than an alpha; he’s what could best be described as an anthropologist in this I received a digital ARC of this book from Edelweiss Plus.Grace and Sebastian, the heroine and hero of this delightful novel, are passionate intellectuals. They navigate life and love with a bit of social awkwardness. Grace has access to appealing men within a small circle of independent researchers, but may lose an opportunity that will change her life forever. Refreshingly, shy hero Sebastian is more of a beta than an alpha; he’s what could best be described as an anthropologist in this pre-Franz Boas world. Happily, he’s unpretentious enough to sing bawdy drinking songs loudly enough to entertain a neighbor on a different floor of his lodgings. Sebastian lacks a bit of town bronze, and it falls to his rakish best friend to help him dress, move, and converse as a desirable gentleman, a process that happens in several humorous scenes. As an African American Librarian fond of history and romance, I was charmed by the imaginative, almost fantastical research Benezra Library where our hero and heroine have some of their earliest conversations, and where romantic tension first appears in the form of another man. The Head Librarian, Mr. Okafor, is a man from what is known in our day as Nigeria. Grace is able to enter and use the Benezra Library -- accompanied, of course by her maid, as expected of any genteel lady -- despite its preponderance of male patrons. Amusingly, the maid enjoys scandalous novels written by another character in this series. Pedantic sourpusses may grumble that the library isn’t historically accurate. Neither are happy endings, but I seek out romance fiction -- and recommend it to others -- precisely because sometimes one wants happy endings for intriguing, likeable characters moving through a well crafted genre fiction journey. Leigh’s library touches on true events -- colonization, indirect allusions to the very real life of Sarah Forbes Bonnetta later later British history, the history of people of African descent in women striving to live intellectual lives -- and that’s why it’s fun to read about, especially in the hands of such an engaging storyteller. Leigh’s writing also presents people from the servant and working classes in a sympathizing and humanizing light, and includes moments when upper-class characters -- Sebastian, in this case -- realize how seldom they truly listen and pay attention. This approach gives her stories depth. Narrative and sexual tension builds through plot twists and turns, leading to an ending with strong visual imagery. No spoilers except to say that it’s fun.Eva Leigh’s work is a real pleasure. I buy and recommend her novels with confidence.
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  • Suzanne
    January 1, 1970
    If you like - nerds engaging in nerdy banter that no one else understands- The Breakfast Club- makeovers- mutual pining- idiots who've been in love for years but didn't realize it- really, so much nerderyYou should read this. I adored it.There are a few little Easter eggs for those who've read her previous books, but for the most part I can see this as a great jumping in point if you're new to Eva Leigh.I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher for Shelf Awareness If you like - nerds engaging in nerdy banter that no one else understands- The Breakfast Club- makeovers- mutual pining- idiots who've been in love for years but didn't realize it- really, so much nerderyYou should read this. I adored it.There are a few little Easter eggs for those who've read her previous books, but for the most part I can see this as a great jumping in point if you're new to Eva Leigh.I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher for Shelf Awareness consideration. (And I liked it so a real review will go up there after release.)
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  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t typically love Friends-to-Lovers as a trope (and truly rarely see it in historicals, where brother’s-friend-to-lovers tends to be more typical), but this 100% worked for me from start to finish. They both respected each other and nurtured attraction to each other to start, so when it blossomed to steamy steamy romance, it didn’t have the “I wore them down enough to acquiesce” vibes. There was NONE of that. I loved how they started off as a team and kept being each other’s biggest I don’t typically love Friends-to-Lovers as a trope (and truly rarely see it in historicals, where brother’s-friend-to-lovers tends to be more typical), but this 100% worked for me from start to finish. They both respected each other and nurtured attraction to each other to start, so when it blossomed to steamy steamy romance, it didn’t have the “I wore them down enough to acquiesce” vibes. There was NONE of that. I loved how they started off as a team and kept being each other’s biggest cheerleaders through the whole thing. The HERO gets a Shes All That style makeover that I was all the way there for. This was truly funny and sweet and perfect. The village scene left me laughing, crying, and exhilarated—it was truly beautifully written. Read if you like: libraries, a hero and heroine who have academic interests, frogs, anthropology, festivals, barns, running as a form of stress reduction, supportive parents, banter between siblings, bucking expectations, exploring, torrential downpours, a heroine who uses “I read a lot of books” as her reasoning behind not being nervous for sexual encounters, supportive science minded friends, non-jealous not-real love triangles, and/or yacht chases.
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  • Jacqueline Francis
    January 1, 1970
    This was a really enjoyable read! I am a big fan of Eva Leigh and the cover TOTALLY sold me on it. I loved the hero and the heroine was such a sassy badass! I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
  • Elley Murray
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5 starsI ADORE this book. Grace and Sebastian are just too freaking cute. I love that they're both nerdy bluestocking wallflowers (or whatever the man version of a bluestocking wallflower is...) and they're trying to give Sebastian a rake makeover (or rake-over, if you will...) using a super out of date book. In a society where it's noticeable when women wear last season's dresses, they look at this old-ass book on etiquette and go "Oh, how much could have changed in, like, forty years Rating: 4.5 starsI ADORE this book. Grace and Sebastian are just too freaking cute. I love that they're both nerdy bluestocking wallflowers (or whatever the man version of a bluestocking wallflower is...) and they're trying to give Sebastian a rake makeover (or rake-over, if you will...) using a super out of date book. In a society where it's noticeable when women wear last season's dresses, they look at this old-ass book on etiquette and go "Oh, how much could have changed in, like, forty years after all?" And then Rotherby! When he comes in and sees what they're up to, the amount of sass in him! This book had me laughing until tears were blinding me too much to keep reading. I'm something of a sucker for a fake relationship trope, especially when one party is already secretly in love with the other. I love those moments that are completely real, but both parties are convinced the other person is just really good at pretending. They make me laugh and also stab my heart with a thousand tiny pins. There were definitely several parts where I found myself crying, and any book that can make me cry both from laughing and from my heart feeling like I swallowed an anvil is one that's pretty excellent in my book. This is the first book in the Union of Rakes series and can be read as a stand alone. I can't wait to read more in this series, especially about the Duke of Rotherby because he is a HOOT. I'm hoping in future books we get more about how the Union of Rakes all came to be such close friends that they remain friends into adulthood, despite being very different people when they met in school. An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.Like this review? Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter
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  • Lee Hall
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC of this book to review, and boy, I'm glad I did. I've talked about Eva Leigh books before, and the main reason is that Leigh is a master of balancing steam AND story (her Wicked Quills of London series is amazing). Her stories are incredibly poignant, and this one is no exception. To me, she excels at beta heroes, and this one is probably my favorite. Sebastian is a scholar, and suffers from extreme anxiety. Our heroine (Grace), is also a scholar--and in a twist on My Fair I was given an ARC of this book to review, and boy, I'm glad I did. I've talked about Eva Leigh books before, and the main reason is that Leigh is a master of balancing steam AND story (her Wicked Quills of London series is amazing). Her stories are incredibly poignant, and this one is no exception. To me, she excels at beta heroes, and this one is probably my favorite. Sebastian is a scholar, and suffers from extreme anxiety. Our heroine (Grace), is also a scholar--and in a twist on My Fair Lady--makes over the Hero in an attempt to woo another man to marry her. Sebastian is the perfect beta hero--smart, extremely sensual, funny, and self-deprecating.The entire story is lovely and give you all the feels. My favorite thing about this book, however, is Leigh's treatment of the Hero's anxiety problem. Unlike others in his life, Grace completely understands his crippling disorder, and they both work through his social and mental anxiety through a combination of therapy and patience. It's an absolutely BEAUTIFUL thing to watch, and their HEA is completely gratifying. Also, the declaration of love at the end might be one of my favorite ones of all time. Read this, and then read her other series. You won't regret it
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  • Christen
    January 1, 1970
    Nerdy and hot.
  • Haze Prado
    January 1, 1970
    Love the illustration. As always, Jon Paul do very lovely covers. But...what's with the font they used? When I first saw this on IG, I thought it's fake. I mean, look how blah it turned out (well, at least to me.) It's as if they ran out of time and decided to just use some generic font. It makes my OCness tick incessantly.
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  • Evelyn Goldman
    January 1, 1970
    DNF. Got bored. Really, I couldn’t remember the point of his ruse (I remembered hers). They came off as immature, not just socially naive, and I tapped out.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Edelweiss+.This started out as 4 stars, then a 3...2.5, and finally, 2. I love the concept and I'm a sucker for a blue-eyed Sebastian, but the writing style and inaccuracies did me in. And after the (inevitable and literal) romp in the hay, when Seb didn't even think to offer marriage to Grace, l just wanted it all to be over. This could have been so good, but alas, didn't live up to my expectations.
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  • Liv
    January 1, 1970
    2.5
  • Smitten
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on Smitten by Books Review Blog4.5 Stars ~ Top PickLeigh brings the 80s to historical romance and I can gleefully say, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”From a nice reference to the Safety Dance to plenty of ribald humor, Leigh captures the essence of the 80s movies we loved so much, though provides a more modern lens that removes the sexism prevalent in those films.I love reading a Leigh story because it always offers something new to the historical genre, and teaches Originally posted on Smitten by Books Review Blog4.5 Stars ~ Top PickLeigh brings the 80s to historical romance and I can gleefully say, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life.”From a nice reference to the Safety Dance to plenty of ribald humor, Leigh captures the essence of the 80s movies we loved so much, though provides a more modern lens that removes the sexism prevalent in those films.I love reading a Leigh story because it always offers something new to the historical genre, and teaches me as well. Whether breaking down misogynistic barriers or creating a more diverse world with characters from multiple backgrounds, I always feel transported to a London I would have enjoyed living in. Additionally the story is structured a bit different from the classic romance cadence and it works for both Seb and Grace’s transition from friends to lovers.Grace, our heroine, is a woman who believes herself comfortable in her own skin, but is eager to use a man to gain the attention of another man… maybe she’s not as comfortable as she thinks. The best part about Grace is she’s educated, intelligent, and isn’t afraid of that knowledge—she’s a herpetologist (Cue the bad jokes). Her gift of knowledge, amply supplied throughout the story, enhances Grace’s way of seeing the world. The character is well-written, fully formed and I wanted to be her friend. FYI: She also appreciates the twelve year-old humor in the word Uranus.Seb… oh Seb, he’s our Anthony Michael Hall character from Breakfast Club. The nerd who’s so good at the scholarly pursuits and rubbish with social interactions, that he becomes tongue-tied in the presence of any female. Before the start of the story he’s formed an unlikely friendship with Grace, which makes communicating with her easier, but he can’t help seeing her in an attractive light. Seb definitely isn’t stuck writing papers in this story. No, Seb is transformed into The Rake… the illusory, wanted-by-all man who gets the ladies swooning. With Grace’s help and the help of his friend, the Duke of Rotherby, Seb works to transform himself into a rake to help Grace woo the man she seeks to marry. FYI, the banter between Seb and the Duke in this story is priceless. Take this gem:“Now,” the duke said, “there’s something I’ve been meaning to discuss with you, Holloway. Your wardrobe.”Sebastian glanced down at himself. “What I wear is serviceable enough. I’ve had this waistcoat for years.”“And it deserves some rest to repay its decade of valiant service,” Rotherby noted. “A rake is never dressed in clothing that’s old enough to marry.”“After paying my rent, what’s left goes mostly to books.”Rotherby snorted. “You must have a sizable library, then.”“It’s not the size,” Sebastian replied drily. “It’s what I do with it. Very thick volumes.”I don’t think I need to provide more information about the plot, it’s all set up to go wrong anyway. With dialogue like the above the characters sing. This is like a cross between Sixteen Candles and She’s All That… sort of. I also thought of Can’t Buy Me Love briefly in this, the one with McDreamy as the geeky guy transformed. Regardless, this story had me hook, line, and sinker by the end of the prologue. I fell for the characters, and even accepted their misguided lack of communication skills, aptly set up by their past experiences. They were antagonists to themselves as much as outside parties.Overall, this book checked all my boxes and I can’t wait for the next. I am also eagerly excited that this series from Leigh is going to be five books. Each one ties to 80s romantic comedies, because that’s my bread and butter, though I can admit all of them are problematic. Though, I am eager to see how Leigh re-invents these story-lines and fixes them. Because that’s what she’s doing, bringing my 80s loving heart back to life in a new way.~ Landra
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars rounded to 4This is my first Eva Leigh novel. Can I just say I love her covers? I don't like the font on this one, but I feel like the couple fits the characters so well.This book is the first book in her new series Union of the Rakes. Apparently this is loosely based on the movie The Breakfast Club, which I have never seen and if I have I can't remember. A group of friends is formed in the prologue, and I'm assuming they will each have their own story in the series.Grace is our 3.5 stars rounded to 4This is my first Eva Leigh novel. Can I just say I love her covers? I don't like the font on this one, but I feel like the couple fits the characters so well.This book is the first book in her new series Union of the Rakes. Apparently this is loosely based on the movie The Breakfast Club, which I have never seen and if I have I can't remember. A group of friends is formed in the prologue, and I'm assuming they will each have their own story in the series.Grace is our heroine. She's a scientist, a herpetologist, to be exact. She adores the lives of reptiles and amphibians. She spends much of her time at the library researching, or in the field exploring. She's set her sights on fellow scientist Mason Fredericks as a husband. She ropes her good friend Sebastian Holloway, fellow scientist and researcher of anthropology to assist her in appearing desirable and catching his attention.Sebastian is our hero. And he's not your usual hero. Hes bespectacled and shy, he clams up in social situations and suffers from anxiety. It's almost your usual heroine ugly duckling story, yet the hero is the duckling. Sebastian's friend, the Duke of Rotherby, helps transform him in a fake rake, so that his attention to Grace with show her in a marriageable light.Sebastian is definitely not an alpha hero. I'm not sure if that makes him beta or gamma, or whatever, but he seems content to let Grace take the lead. And she does, putting him through the ringer with becoming her fake rake.I think you would enjoy this book if -You want a change of hero, or aren't into alpha males -You love the friends to lovers trope -You prefer a slow burn story -You want a lighter story with a few laughs and funI can't say I loved this story. I always struggle when there is another 'love interest' in the book and this book just drug on and on with her thinking about Fredericks, yet noticing Sebastian, but the fact that Fredericks still gave her butterflies when he wasn't even the hero, made me want to slap her. I guess it was showing how her feelings shifted from seeing Sebastian as nothing but a friend to more, but the fast that it took her over half the book to realize it annoyed me.Sebastian isn't the typical kind of hero I like. And while he didn't drive me crazy, I guess I was left wanting more from him in some parts. I was disappointed in the way he acted and his lack of drive in pursuing Grace. He really does amazing in some scenes. I'll admit the first sex scene blew me out of the water, because I was expecting not much after how I felt the first 70% of the book. And I loved him at the end when he finally came to his senses and realized he needed to tell Grace how he felt.This book isn't particularly steamy. There's 1 kiss and 2 sex scenes (I think). The first sex scene was AMAZING. I loved it. The 2nd was at the very end of the book and for some reason I don't love them there, just a personal preference. But it was still great. I think she has a lot of feels in those scenes and they gripped me even though I was less than in love with a lot of the rest of the book.There is a lot to love about this book. I can tell Eva is a fabulous writer. The flow was great, she's funny, witty, the sex was hot. She does use the f word infrequently if you're sensitive to that. It doesn't cross into vulgar or anything. I would 100% try her again and plan to. I think this was just a character disconnect for me and I'm still not sure friends to lovers is my favorite trope. But I do recommend this book, I think it will be enjoyed by many. The Duke of Rotherby will have the next story in the series and I will definitely be trying that book. I think he was my favorite character in here.
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  • Marissa
    January 1, 1970
    Is there anything cuter than nerds in love? Nope, there’s not and that’s why I love Eva Leigh’s new 80’s infused Regency romance, My Fake Rake. Playing off 80’s film tropes from Breakfast Club to Weird Science, My Fake Rake is a friends to lovers that manages to be both tubular and all the crack at once. The first book in her new series The Union of Rakes revolves around a motley crew of young men who met at detention at Eton a la The Breakfast Club. Our heroine, Lady Grace Wyatt, has a very Is there anything cuter than nerds in love? Nope, there’s not and that’s why I love Eva Leigh’s new 80’s infused Regency romance, My Fake Rake. Playing off 80’s film tropes from Breakfast Club to Weird Science, My Fake Rake is a friends to lovers that manages to be both tubular and all the crack at once. The first book in her new series The Union of Rakes revolves around a motley crew of young men who met at detention at Eton a la The Breakfast Club. Our heroine, Lady Grace Wyatt, has a very niche, very un-ladylike interest: herpetology, the study of reptiles. While her work garners respect from scholars, her love of lizards makes the eligible men of the ton’s skin crawl. This includes the very handsome naturalist Mason Fredericks who bemoans not being able to find a wife who would take interest in his scholarly pursuits all the while ignoring our reptile-loving scholar right under his nose. There is one person who has taken a “scholarly interest” in our lizard queen, and that’s her library buddy Sebastian Holloway. But, alas, he’s just a poor gentleman, cut off from his father’s fortune because of his sociological pursuits. Even with cash in hand, his status as merchant’s son would prevent him from gaining the hand of an earl’s daughter, so he’s doomed to watch her from the far aisles of the reading room. When circumstances contrive to force Grace to make a move on her sweetheart naturalist, she and Seb conduct the ultimate sociological experiment: turn socially anxious Seb into a dashing fake rake to lavish attention on Grace and show Mason what he’s missing. When their experiment works (and of course, it works! These nerds know what they’re doing), everyone is left feeling confused, conflicted, and unsatisfied with the results. Never has being proven right felt more wrong. The references to 80’s pop culture are fun and (and somehow appropriate for the Regency era), never seeming forced; my favorite call-out being the simple line at a ball: “We can dance if we want to.” You can hear the distance sounds of a synthesizer as you turn the pages. My one trite complaint is that there were shockingly few sex scenes for an Eva Leigh book. Don’t get me wrong; It makes sense for the characters who are so smart yet misunderstand each other at every turn, but I was surprised that they didn’t “experiment” on one another more often in the book. It’s a slow burn, with a good portion of the romance happening in longing glances, but the pay-off is explosive. My Fake Rake was a fun romance steeped in both Regency and 80’s nostalgia and lays a great groundwork for all the radical times we can expect from The Union of Rakes in the future.
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  • Chloe
    January 1, 1970
    I’m not a person who cares if guilty-pleasure reads like historical romances are anachronistic where all the characters say ‘um’ and seem way too modern, but this time maybe it was a bit over-the-top. Actually, it was just one aspect that really stuck out and that was the woke statements just sort of randomly shoe-horned in. The main characters are a Herpetologist and an Anthropologist. Whilst they are discussing what they think he will need to pull off convincing the ton that he is a rake, she I’m not a person who cares if guilty-pleasure reads like historical romances are anachronistic where all the characters say ‘um’ and seem way too modern, but this time maybe it was a bit over-the-top. Actually, it was just one aspect that really stuck out and that was the woke statements just sort of randomly shoe-horned in. The main characters are a Herpetologist and an Anthropologist. Whilst they are discussing what they think he will need to pull off convincing the ton that he is a rake, she tells him snuff. His response is that he would never use snuff because he’s observed Native Americans using snuff in important religious ceremonies and it would be wrong to steal their culture. There are also random converations about how it dims one’s enjoyment of the British Museum to know that the Elgin Marbles have been stolen from the Greeks who own the history and how awful it is that the preserved animals in the natural history wing were just murdered for someone to have a trophy of having found it. I mean these sentiments might be true, but they are definitely odd for people in the early 1800s and they just kind of come out of left field. I found it particulaly amusing when combined with the very tropey plot of titled woman needs to marry because Dad wants her to, so woman talks her best male friend into pretending to be super into her in public to convince her other male friend who hasn’t noticed she has a crush on him to notice she would make him a good wife. Also this one has the added bonus of the suddenly beautiful when a nerd takes their glasses off makeover, or in this case I guess you’d call it a rakeover. If that’s the sort of thing that will totally kill a book for you, then avoid this one. I found I rolled my eyes a lot and wanted to shake characters for some of their boneheaded thought processes, but it was still a fun and enjoyable one-night read. Loved Seb and the duke, looking forward to the other books. I only liked her though, her continued cluelessness felt almost forced. I understood why he kept making dumb decisions that could have tanked their hea, but hers made it seem as though she really didn’t deserve him. I guess that’s kind of refreshing in a way because she is definitely filling the male in a romcom role.
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  • Jani Brooks
    January 1, 1970
    London - 1817Lady Grace Wyatt has managed to avoid the marriage temptation for years, preferring, instead, to pursue her studies of reptiles and amphibians. She's not entirely opposed to being wed, but finding the right man who fits her needs is another thing. Most eligible men looking at an earl's daughter to marry are not interested in science or would approve of Grace's pursuit of such. However, the recent return of a well-known naturalist, and bachelor, to England may open the door for London - 1817Lady Grace Wyatt has managed to avoid the marriage temptation for years, preferring, instead, to pursue her studies of reptiles and amphibians. She's not entirely opposed to being wed, but finding the right man who fits her needs is another thing. Most eligible men looking at an earl's daughter to marry are not interested in science or would approve of Grace's pursuit of such. However, the recent return of a well-known naturalist, and bachelor, to England may open the door for Grace. With her father's sudden illness and her parents' hopes to see her settled, Mason Fredericks could fit the bill. The only problem is, Fredericks thinks of Grace as a fellow scientist, and not an eligible mate! What to do? Perhaps if Grace were seen around London in the company of a known rogue, Fredericks would realize that she is a woman worth pursuing. But, in order to do that, Grace must find a suitable, and safe, rake. Anthropologist Sebastian Holloway, bookish, quiet, and unassuming is a dear friend of Grace's. He has always loved his brilliant, lovely friend, but has never dreamed of marriage due to his limited resources. Seb would also like to go on a research expedition, so when Grace offers to fund this if he would transform himself into a wild and rakish dandy so that she can attract Mason Fredericks, Seb reluctantly agrees. What could go wrong?So, the charade begins. All along, Grace makes it seem as if Mason is her goal, but she knows deep inside that Seb is really the sort of man she actually wants. But a deal is a deal, and the two must complete the bargain. With the aid of a close friend of Seb's, Grace begins to work on making her friend into someone he truly isn't. Will Mason Fredericks fall for this? Who knows? And what if he does? Is this really what Grace is prepared for, or is she going to regret the outcome?MY FAKE RAKE is a delightful story with two beautifully written characters who understand each other more than they understand the world around them. Secondary characters add to the tale, usually in a humorous manner. Readers will love the entertaining ending.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    "He wanted to stand beside her as she conquered the world. Because she wouldconquer the world–of that he had no doubt."My Fake Rake is the first in Eva Leigh's new series: Union of the Rakes. Inspired by The Breakfast Club, the series follows the love stories of a group of boys who met in detention while at Eton. First up is Sebastian Holloway, a bookish anthropologist with social anxiety.Seb's had feelings for his friend Lady Grace Wyatt (a herpetologist) since the moment they met. But without "He wanted to stand beside her as she conquered the world. Because she wouldconquer the world–of that he had no doubt."My Fake Rake is the first in Eva Leigh's new series: Union of the Rakes. Inspired by The Breakfast Club, the series follows the love stories of a group of boys who met in detention while at Eton. First up is Sebastian Holloway, a bookish anthropologist with social anxiety. Seb's had feelings for his friend Lady Grace Wyatt (a herpetologist) since the moment they met. But without social standing or money, he doesn't believe he has anything to offer her. When Grace asks for his help in attracting the attention of a man she hopes to marry, Sebastian agrees.I really enjoyed the passion Seb and Grace have for science, and the way they bond over it was really wonderful. I liked Grace as a heroine, particularly her dedication to her work and her desire to find a husband who respects the fact that she's a lady who wants to work. It would've been so easy for Mason, the man she's trying to woo, to be a jerk, but I love that Eva made him into someone that even Seb respected. I kind of want a book about him in the future! It does take Grace a long time to realize she's attracted to Sebastian, and it started to drag on a bit too much near the end of the book.Sebastian was a charming hero. I do love soft heroes, and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help Grace was lovely. That said, his reasons for keeping up the rake ruse seemed to solely be to help her and I wish he had a second motivation to help support his actions. The beginning of the book references his relationship with his father, who works in the iron industry and is ashamed of Seb, and I was surprised that the conflict between them was never brought up again. This was a fun and sweet friends-to-lovers romance. While it never quite hit the next level for me (hence the three stars), I enjoyed Eva Leigh's writing and characters, and definitely plan on reading the second in this series. 
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  • Amy Alvis
    January 1, 1970
    Grace is ready to get married and she has just the man in mind. The only problem is that he doesn't see her as a marriage prospect. Grace decides that if someone else pretends to pursue her, then Mason will finally notice her as someone that he could spend the rest of his life with. She has known Sebastian for years. They often meet at the library and have wonderful academic discussion. If she can transform him into a rake, then Mason will surely start to notice her. Grace doesn't go out into Grace is ready to get married and she has just the man in mind. The only problem is that he doesn't see her as a marriage prospect. Grace decides that if someone else pretends to pursue her, then Mason will finally notice her as someone that he could spend the rest of his life with. She has known Sebastian for years. They often meet at the library and have wonderful academic discussion. If she can transform him into a rake, then Mason will surely start to notice her. Grace doesn't go out into society much, so she gets a book of her father's to begin the transformation...which doesn't go very well.Sebastian is up for the challenge that Grace asks of him. He has been hiding his feeling for her for years and will do anything for her. The day comes for Sebastian to try all that he and Grace have learned and practiced from the book. But all Sebastian ends up doing is looking like a crazy person. Sebastian's friend, the Duke of Rotherby, sees this horrible spectacle and steps in to help. Things definitely make a turn for the better at this point.The three work together and work through Sebastian's nervousness when talking to other as well as updating his wardrobe. Sebastian is a hit amongst the ton. But will Mason turn his eye to Grace, when he sees Sebastian paying attention to her? Or maybe Sebastian will overcome his misgivings and tell Grace how he really feels for her?OMG, I absolutely adored this story!! The bantering between Sebastian, Grace and Rotherby had me laughing out loud throughout the story! I didn't want it to end!! You will definitely want to pick up this story as it is a must read!! The next book is about Rotherby and I can't wait for it to come out!!!
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