I gave this book four stars. It was a good book. The story was engaging and I liked the characters enough to walk through it. I love the cover too. Barbara Hazard is an excellent writer. I wanted badly to start to like Anthony Hawkins.
Anthony Hawkins is a douche. The douche level is large here. I give him 3 douches/out of 5. His Friend Hartley gets 5/5 douches and his friend Will gets 4. Will gets four because he does nothing to help Anne when he decides he loves her, except tell Hawk how wrong he is. At the end, he tries to redeem himself, but it is too late. He is a douche. The drunk guy that is Harley’s friend may get 6/5 douches, because he is the biggest douche of all.
Barbara Hazard writes these characters with vivid color, and I was caught up in the story. I enjoyed making Anthony suffer and I thought he would eventually be redeemed. I suppose he was, I suppose. The jury is still out on that one. I did not see it.
Yes, Anthony (Hawk) Hawkins is an Asshole. He belongs to a club called Satan’s Rakes. This is no club that Julia Quinn or Mary Balogh has thought up. Stephanie Laurens or even Elizabeth Hoyt, oh no.. Satan’s Rakes are not nice.
They are the most (GOD I hate using this reference) White Privileged bunch of douchey douche bags that London has ever seen. They are rude to everyone. They do not believe servants are people, or that women are people for that matter. Everyone can suck their little pasty dicks as far as they are concerned, and they will wager on it too. Lowest Scum ever.
Hawk is the basic leader of the pack. He tips his nose at everyone, and blames his whole outlook on his upbringing and being bullied as a child by women. I find it hard to feel badly for him. But then again, you are supposed to hate him, so Barbara Hazard did a great job.
The first chapter and sample paragraph almost made me put the book down. Not because it was despicable.. Okay, it was because it was despicable and I was afraid that all Anne would feel through out the book was sadness, and I did not think I wanted to screw with my psyche like that.
I was wrong. Anne Ainsworth turned out to be a strong character whom I liked very much. She had a smart mouth and quick whit. She saw joy in everything. Now, of course she also bowed to the wills and whims of her protector, she wanted to please the man who had saved her from a life of toil. I get that, and she did not know he was a douche.
When she did find out he was a true douche, she fled from his estate. She befriended everyone and they helped her escape with her maid and her escort Miss Goodly. She was a very sweet girl, but she had her opinions and she threw barbs, sometimes without anyone noticing.
The women were able to secure a place to live when they found Anne’s father. He was also a douche. But he did give her a place to live while she hid from the Earl and his evil ways.
The part I had trouble with is the rescue. She had been kidnapped by one of the Satan’s Rakes, and Hawk came to the rescue and saved her. All was forgiven and Anne even told him she would be happy to be his mistress. To me, he never really redeemed himself. He never started to be nice to his servants, he never changed his outlook or his ways. He did the right thing and told her that she deserved better than him, and released her from any obligations. But you never saw his change.
There were times when he knew he cared for her, and I guess we were supposed to see through his cruelty. But I thought he was taken off the hook too easily. Why did Anne run into his arms when he saved her from his own friend? Why, suddenly was she okay with everything he had done? Was he truly sorry, or was it because he found out she was a real lady and not a wasteoid servants girl, that he decided to leave her be? Never did he say he was sorry. Never did he express the the townspeople or his servants that he had seen the light and he was willing to be a better person. He even found a mistress, one he had deposited into a house in town. One that looked like Anne. Did it mean that Hawk would continue to see her? I think he would. I didn’t see him evolve as a good person at all. He used a girl in a bet, and then when she became a lady, he saves the day and gets the girl.
At the end, she begs him to marry her. The end.