Review: Rakes & Radishes by Susanna Ives

Filed in Review , Susanna Ives , The HEA Lover Posted on August 26, 2010 @ 9:54 am 6 comments

Format Read: E-ARC from Netgalley
Number of Pages: 257 pages
Release Date: September 13th 2010
Publisher: Carina Press
Formats Available: Ebook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Carina Press

Book Blurb:

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…

My Thoughts:
Rakes & Radishes surprised the hell out of me! With a title like this it could have easily turned cheesy, lucky for me it didn’t (ok there IS one allusion to ‘her feminine petals’ or something like that,which made me roll my eyes). I have to admit that when I saw the title I was reluctant but the cover screamed READ ME, I’m so pretty look at me, look at me! (don’t you find it pretty?) So here I was starting a book without really knowing what to expect and BAM…I was hit by its awesomeness. I really loved this book!
From the first page, I knew it would be amazing. The writing is perfect, never did I think ‘hey that’s not something they would have said at that time!’. Nope, I would even go as far as to say I enjoyed it as much as reading a Lisa Kleypas book (You heard right, ladies and Gentlemen!!). I’m not the ultimate Historical romance reader but I’ve read my fair share of those and I can say Rakes & Radishes has something more. Something that set it apart from other Historicals.
I loved that the hero, Kesseley is close to his land and his tenants. He is an Earl but he can tell you more about pig breeding than how to dress properly. Kesseley has been in love with his childhood friend for years but she fancies herself in love with another. Henrietta is the daughter of 2 astronomers. She’s really good at Mathematics and loves reading sensational gothic novels. She is young, a bit immature and is interested in appearances a bit too much. Henrietta believes herself in love with her cousin Edward and she is devastated when she learns he is ‘nearly betrothed’ to the daughter of a duke.
Kesseley has decided to find a wife and will go to London for the Season. Henrietta starts plotting to win Edward back. Her plan is to transform the rural Kesseley into the rakish and mysterious gothic novel hero loved by every woman in the country. She wants Kesseley to seduce the daughter of the Duke to have a chance with Edward again. As I said before Henrietta is a bit immature and doesn’t really understand the consequences of her demands. She lives in her fantasies and the wake up is brutal.
This book is full of drama! This could have turn farcical but it played out well. I’m not saying I couldn’t figure out the plot quite early in the book but it was still a pleasure to see it happen. I loved Kesseley, the real one, he was so awkward in a ball room- I felt for him. I found his transformation a bit easy and radical but it was funny to see Henrietta realize that she’d created a monster (I’m heartless). I will warn you though, not much smexing, no no don’t leave yet I didn’t say there wasn’t any!
I loved that the heroine was good at counting cards and helped her father in his researches. It brought something to the story. She is not the helpless wallflower we’re used to. The same goes with the hero, he is very different from the rest of the aristocracy. When we first meet him I thought he was a peasant. Ah!
All in all this is a very good book I would enjoy to reread. It might not be the most original story but it has a little something that set it apart from other historical romances. Susanna Ives is now on my list of authors to follow closely.

I give Rakes & Radishes 5 Bookies.

***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review. FYI I received this book for review

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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Join the Discussion
  • Cindy Spencer Pape August 26, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Congrats Susanna on such a great review!

  • elysemady August 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Sounds like a fantastic debut! WTG, Susanna. I think it's going to 'turnip' on a lot of TBR piles… 🙂


    (hey, give me a break – it's the closest I could get to radishes, OK? LOL)

  • pattepoilue August 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    @Cindy Spencer Pape It was a real pleasure to read =)

    @elysemady LMAO that pun made me laugh so hard!!

  • Elise Warner August 27, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Congratulations, Susanna. A lovely review.

  • jen7waters August 31, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    Oooh I like when the girl doesn't see the great guy she has in front of her -and who wants her- until she realizes she could lose him…love it because that's usually fun to watch 😀 ; and of course, it's always refreshing to find a historical heroine who isn't, in your words, "a helpless wallflower" -yay for her, and for the reader!

  • pattepoilue September 1, 2010 at 5:59 am

    @Jen oh yes this is a very refreshing story. I recommend it highly *g*

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