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The RakeKnown as “the despair of the Davenports” Reginald Davenport lived a reckless rakish life while waiting for his hated uncle to die and leave Reggie an earldom Then the rightful heir claims the title and property and offers Reggie one last chance Strickland the estate where he was born and the site of his greatest joys and sorrows Reggie returns to Strickland resolving to build a healthier honorable life—if he can The ReformerYoung Alys Weston fled her home in despair vowing never to trust another man Over the years she’s built a good life with a foster family and a position as steward of Strickland She uses her skills to help her people and her initials to convince the elderly earl who owned the state that she’s maleThen the new owner appears in all his dangerous masculinity and threatens everything Alys holds dear Good resolutions crumble when two passionate complicated people are drawn together despite their best judgment Can love lead to redemption and trust? Or is it too late?


10 thoughts on “The Rake and the Reformer

  1. says:

    Another example of how romantic fiction is not fluff This book was deep as the ocean I loved how this book brought together two people who had been hurt or damaged by life and helped them to find peace and love The Rake is an excellent portrayal of a person suffering from alcoholism And coming from a family where both side has members who were alcoholics I can testify to this Reggie reminded me of a few of my uncles They could have been better men had they not been under the influence of the drug that started as something they indulged in for fun but became their lives and helped to destroy their livesThe great thing about this book is that it was so well written that I couldn't turn away because I had seen too much of that behavior Instead I wanted to read about Reggie's journey to sobrietyAlyx also has issues She is odd eyed meaning her eyes are different colors She is also tall and buxom In her mind she is unattractive And she heard a man that she adored dismiss her so she ran off and gave herself to the first man who asked Of course he didn't want her for than one night Lesson learned she retires to the country and gets a job as the steward to an absentee landlord This turns out to be the recently inherited property of Reginald who is running away from London to try to get his life under control This is how these two souls meet and find a love that helps them both to heal and gives them a hopeful futureIt's been a while since I read this one but it is destined to always have a space on my keeper shelf For the beauty of the storytelling the compelling and realistic hero and heroine and for the excellent handling of the tough subject of alcoholism


  2. says:

    Alys Weston is running from her past and Reggie Davenport is fleeing his future Fate brings them together on Reggie's Dorset estate StricklandIt's uncommon to say the least for a woman to be an estate steward yet Alys has been able to pull off that job for four years communicating with the absentee owner in writing When Reggie's cousin the new owner gives the estate over to Reggie Alys sees her idyll coming to an end Yet when Reggie arrives at Strickland he proves to be surprisingly open minded and impressed by Alys's success; he keeps her on as stewardReggie is a rake of the first order but than that he's a drunkard who at age thirty seven has begun to suffer blackouts Even he has become convinced that his life is on a dangerous trajectory; a voice in his head keeps telling him This way of life is killing you He believes that Strickland may be his salvationAlys and Reggie gradually become friends and though they are attracted to one another nothing than a few kisses are exchanged When fire destroys the steward's house Alys and her three young wards move into the estate house and Reggie begins to know the joys of a family for the first time in his life But Reggie's real problem is his drinking and a great deal of this story revolves around his efforts to first get it under control and later to stop altogether It's heartbreaking to watch him try and fail and try again Mary Jo Putney does an excellent job portraying the inner demons that plague Reggie At the same time she doesn't succumb to the temptation that some writers might feel to make Reggie's recovery all about his love for Alys Reggie is getting sober for himself not for someone else And while Putney does lapse into a bit of AA one day at a time speak occasionally she is able to keep the story from sounding too modernThere's an engaging cast of secondary characters and a couple of other romances And I particularly enjoyed how Putney handled the epilogue after Reggie and Alys marry the other characters are shown reacting to the news wrapping the whole story up uite nicelyI picked out this book because of its high GR ratings its having won the RITA in 1990 and its ranking in AAR's Top 100 romances of all time All these accolades are well and truly deservedI don't know what else to say other than this is a really good book and I highly recommend it


  3. says:

    I have some rather mixed feelings about this book It is not exactly what I expected I generally enjoyed it but stillLet’s start with the good things I really like the characters Alys is a strong and smart heroine without being annoying And I really like Reggie – he is not your typical alpha man from the historical romance Even disregarding his addiction to alcohol he is a very interesting hero – intelligent with witty humour and tragic past And it should be stated that despite the fact that he is definitely a tortured hero his past is not overwhelming He makes a very nice couple with Alys Another thing that I want to mention and this one I’m not so positive about is the plot The whole book doesn’t focus on the romance as you may expect but on Reggie’s struggle with his addiction The other events are somewhat secondary I would really prefer to see romance or in fact a relationship development Instead Alys and Reggie feel a strong connection between them from the very beginning and fight with the blooming passion Don’t get me wrong I like this aspect of the story and the fact that they don’t just go to bed on the first few pages But I get the impression that the book does not pay too much attention to their relationship I feel unsatisfied I enjoyed the whole experience even though it is not what I was looking for I can recommend this book to the readers who are in search of something different in their historical romance something than simple romance


  4. says:

    Opening Line “When two gentlemen are related by blood they do not usually address each other with formality”Based on all the glowing reviews and accolades THE RAKE has received I was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this regency romance And I guess because I’d heard so many good things I was a little surprised at well frankly how dull this was Even with Putney’s great writing attention to detail and a reprobate bad boy as our hero this was a bit of a grind to get throughMy main issue was the tedious and repetitive descriptions of the day to day activities taking place at the estate Sure I appreciate the research that must have gone into the time period and it was interesting to a degree but it was also too much I kept waiting for something anything to happen but it was just endless talk and dinners and details of farm life The steam factor was also very low and even at the end I still felt like Reggie and Alys were friends than lovers and don’t even get me started on the “letting you go because you’re too good for me” tropeThis really should have been titled “The Alcoholic” because Reggie is a very successful one as a rake however he fails We are told continuously about his rakish behaviour but he doesn’t often exhibit any He’s basically just a drunk who makes uestionable decisions while drunk All his other choices are ethical and kinda heroic He just allows people to think the worst of him adding to his disgraced reputation which for whatever reason he seems to covetI will say though that it was refreshing to have an alcoholic as the leading man and I found the sections where he’s craving a drink and bargaining with himself just one I can stop any time very well done It does get a little preachy but Bill W would be proudAyls Weston is running from her past masuerading as a man in order to maintain her position as the successful estate manager of Strickland manor All that’s about to change however when Reginald Davenport comes home taking his place as the rightful master of his family estate After extensive see tedious exploration of the grounds Reggie decides to keep Alys on as steward and over time the pair realize they have much in common Reggie is also on the run trying to escape several decades’ worth of drink and debauchery in London which as of late has been causing him to experience blackouts He just needs a rest and Strickland will be perfect When a fire destroys the steward house Alys and her wards move into the big house and a romance that could save them both takes holdFirst published in 1989 THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER stands up well by todays romance standards and I would consider it a must read for the genre especially since I seem to be in the minority with my feelings Cheers360jb35


  5. says:

    I have no idea how to rate this bookI loved the heroine and her bossy strong clever mindI loved the rake hell hero He was a far better man than expectedI loved the secondary characters and storiesThe villain was a bit wacked in the headbut that was acceptable And I love a good murder plotI didn't like the secret identitymissing heiress duchess plot The reason behind it was weakI didn't like the battle with alcoholismdrove me bonkers This may have been a 325 35 star read


  6. says:

    While part of a series and with characters you're clearly expected to know I didn't feel that left out without having read the firstI liked the idea of this story well enough but have a hard time rating it very high now I've finished it It was fun getting to know Alys and I enjoyed her confidence and strength I didn't enjoy so much her insecurity about being unattractive—mostly because she let it define her so much despite having respect and acknowledgement for her skill and competence in pretty much every other way Oh and it's only made worse when we realize that she only thinks she's unattractive but really lots of men turn out to be panting after her even before they learn who she really is Also view spoilerthe truth about her past when we find it turns out to be so much pride temper and stupidity that has only persisted a dozen years because the author said so Seriously it's almost worse that her father is so lovingly forgiving in the end because it puts the lie to all of Alys's justifications for staying away so long making her a jerk as well as a spoiled brat hide spoiler


  7. says:

    The Rake huh?More like ‘The Alcoholic’ but that probably wouldn’t make a good title for a bodice ripper and supermarkets wouldn’t stock it This must be the first historical romance written along the lines of 12 steps of AA clubs You can see it in its structure but I am not admonishing Putney for using it It provided a good frame for an exciting novel which would get stars from me if the heroine’s secret and at the same time her reason for hiding from the world for a decade weren’t so utterly silly in the end Talking about blowing things out of proportionsRead this one if you like your romances a little darker full of self destruction tendencies and some violence and rest assured that this is not one of those sorry stories of a man being changed by the love of woman Those stories are toxic I AM looking at you Fifty Shades of FuckeryIn ‘The Alcoholic’ er I mean ‘The Rake’ the hero finds it in himself to change and embarks on that long journey before he meets the heroine She might make it a tad rewarding to be sober but it he is not changing for her or because of her which is a healthy thing to read in a romance novel The alcoholism and all the mess associated with it are not glorified but they are of course romanticised But hey when hasn’t alcoholism been romanticised?


  8. says:

    Fabulous If you like this book I highly recommend this audio version by Mark Meadows If you haven't yet read this book ditto It's one of the classic historical romances of all timeAlys Weston is running from her past and Reggie Davenport is fleeing his future Fate brings them together on Reggie’s Dorset estate StricklandIt’s uncommon to say the least for a woman to be an estate steward yet Alys has been able to pull off that job for four years communicating with the absentee owner in writing When Reggie’s cousin the new owner gives the estate over to Reggie Alys sees her idyll coming to an end Yet when the so called despair of the Davenports arrives at Strickland he proves to be surprisingly open minded and impressed by Alys’s success; he keeps her on as the stewardReggie is a rake of the first order but than that he’s a drunkard who at the age of thirty seven has begun to suffer blackouts Even he has become convinced that his life is on a dangerous trajectory; a voice in his head keeps telling him “This way of life is killing you” He believes that Strickland may be his salvationAlys and Reggie gradually become friends and though they are attracted to one another nothing than a few kisses are exchanged When a fire destroys the steward’s house Alys and her three young wards move into the main house and Reggie begins to know the joys of a family for the first time in his lifePlease visit Romantic Historical Reviews to read the rest of this review


  9. says:

    I've given this an A for narration and an A for content at AudioGals Dear Dreamscape Media THANK YOU So often have I seen a favourite andor long awaited book come out in audio only to have my heart sink when I see the name of the narrator or for me to start listening with high hopes – only to have them dashed within minutes because the narration is poor I cannot tell you how happy I am that this didn’t happen when I started listening to your new recording of Mary Jo Putney’s The Rake one of the most popular most beloved historical romances ever written Mark Meadows was a splendid choice of narrator and I will be eternally grateful to you for putting this much loved story into such capable handsMuch love and please get Mr Meadows to record some historical romancesCazYou can read the rest of this review at AudioGals


  10. says:

    I read that THE RAKE is regarded as one of the most popular most beloved historical romances ever written and I can now understand why because I loved this book and it will definitely find a place among my all time favouritesAt the age of thirty seven Reggie is the archetypal rake – his life having been spent in a continual round of womanising gambling and hard drinking But as details of past events in his life are revealed I appreciated how much these have shaped his current lifestyle I like the fact that he does not blame his present circumstances on anyone but himself; he chose the path he took and admits to making unwise decisions I could not help thinking how different Reggie’s life might have been had he inherited Strickland all those years ago and not been denied his birth right by his unfeeling uncleUnlike so many other hard drinking rakes who regularly grace the pages of Historical Romances Reggie is an alcoholic although he has yet to recognise the fact It is only when he starts to suffer memory losses which are becoming freuent and longer in duration does he accept that his current way of life is slowly killing him Blaming his excessive drinking Reggie believes that he can control the habit but somehow his resolution always dissolved once he swallowed his first drinkMs Putney handles Reggie’s alcoholism with compassion and sensitivity but does not gloss over the harsh reality of his struggles to stop drinking There is one particular scene where a horrified Alys finds Reggie drinking in the library and he runs out into the night as though the demons of hell are at his heels It is one of the most heart rending scenes I have ever read and the moment when Alys finds him is so moving He stretched out his hand She took it her fingers far warmer than his her clasp light and sure Linking his fingers with hers he brought their joined hands to his chest against the beat of his heart The tide of hope was running stronger nowI like how Ms Putney does not fall into the trap of having Reggie redeemed by the love of a good woman He wants to overcome his alcoholism for himself alone He hadn’t gotten sober for Allie’s sake or to live up to his parents’ hopes or for anyone else He had done it for himselfHaving a soft spot for unconventional heroines how could I not love a heroine who is a magnificent Reggie’s description with mismatched eyes and has managed to hide the fact that A E Weston who has been the highly successful steward at Strickland for four years is not a man but a woman? The reforms she has undertaken at Strickland have made the estate prosperous and earned her the respect of all those around her She has also created a loving family home for her three wardsAlys may be strong and independent but deep down she is beset by insecurities Something in her past made her flee her former life and has left her believing she is unattractive and no man would ever want herI enjoyed the steady development of the relationship between Reggie and Alys and it is Ms Putney’s ability to convey the emotional connection between them that makes this unlikely pairing work so beautifully There is an initial attraction but importantly a genuine friendship is forged based on their mutual liking respect and trust The love scenes are not overly explicit but rather tender sensual and romantic “I am beginning to believe that you are not at all the wicked care for nobody that your reputation claims”Just like Alys I discovered that beneath the sarcastic rakish exterior Reggie is intelligent charming fair minded honest and witty He also shows a remarkable knowledge of farming and is willing to ‘muck in’ with the sheep dipping earning him the respect and acceptance of the estate workers It made me see that this is the real Reggie and I was rooting for him to overcome his addictionReggie admires Alys’ ability honesty and generosity of heart and her wit is as sharp as his own He treats her as an eual and is always willing to listen to her ideas Not having been a member of a loving family for so many years it was heart warming to see him enjoying the family dynamics between Alys and her wards and even starts wondering what it would be like to have children of his ownI love how Alys is a true friend to Reggie and is always there to support him whenever he needs it If she could not even try to help she was unworthy to be anyone’s friendWhen Alys reveals her secrets to Reggie I thought his actions revealed how noble and unselfish he is I also like the scene where Alys convinces a reluctant Reggie that they are meant to be togetherThere is an interesting cast of secondary characters including Richard Earl of Wargrave – genuinely wants to help his cousin Reggie and I was was so happy to see the friendship that developed between them Meredith Merry Spencer – Alys’ eldest ward who is delightful and wise beyond her years Junius Harper the priggish self righteous vicar The Honourable Julian Markham – Reggie’s young friend who falls for Meredith Mac Cooper – Reggie’s valet groom butler and footmanAmid the darker elements of the story there is also humour such as the confrontation between Reggie and Junius Harper which almost ends in a brawl; the hilarious scene where Reggie cleverly manipulates Lord Markham into allowing his son to marry Merry and agree to Julian’s plan for the management of his estate; the various antics of Attila Alys’ cat and the long suffering Nemesis Reggie’s dogI loved the charming Epilogue where the various characters react to the news of Reggie and Alys’ marriage and I will let Reggie have the final word “And my beloved you have performed the miracle of your reforming career in changing me from a care for nobody rakehell into a faithful adoring husband”MY VERDICT What can I say other than this is a must read