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How to Romance a Rake Mass Market Paperback – 15 Aug 2012

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Paperbacks (15 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312549253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312549251
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2.3 x 17.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,300,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description



"Collins' second installment of the Ugly Duckling trilogy is both a lovely, sensitive romance and a taut thriller. Collins brings a dashing hero and a wounded wallflower together in the type of love story readers take to heart. With compassion and perception, she delves into the issues faced by those who survive physical and emotional trauma. Brava to Collins!""--Romantic Times" Praise for Manda Collins's delightful debut...HOW TO DANCE WITH A DUKE

"Warmth, wit, and delicious chemistry shine through every page...With a heroine to root for and a hero to die for, "How to Dance with a Duke" is a romance to remember."--Bestselling author""Julie Anne Long


"Sexy, thrilling, and romantic--whether she's writing of the mysteries of the heart or of the shady underworld of Egyptian relic smuggling, Manda Collins makes her Regency world a place any reader would want to dwell." "--USA Today "bestselling author Kieran Kramer


"Manda Collins writes sexy and smart historical romance, with a big dash of fun. Romance readers will adore "How to Dance with a Duke"!""--" Vanessa Kelly, named one of" Booklist"'s"""New Stars of Historical Romance"

"Regency lovers have a new author to add to their dance cards! Manda Collins heats up the ballroom and writes romance to melt even the frostiest duke's heart. With sparkling Regency wit, a dash of mystery, and just the right amount of steam, "How to Dance with a Duke" is an enchanting debut, sure to sweep readers off their feet!" --Tessa Dare, named one of" Booklist"'s"""New Stars of Historical Romance"

From the Back Cover

"You can lead a wallflower to the ball, but you can't make her bloom unless one daring young bachelor turns up the heat "


What's a nice girl like Miss Juliet Shelby doing at a place like Lord Deveril's ballroom? With her shy demeanor, she's a total stranger to the dance floor and a source of mockery for the "ton." So imagine her surprise when Deveril gallantly comes to her defense and offers to teach her to dance! Juliet can hardly believe the most handsome bachelor in London would notice her, until he takes her in his arms and sets her heart ablaze


Lord Alec Deveril has never felt such a spark of attraction for an unmarried lady before. Unlike the "fashionable" ladies he's accustomed to, Juliet possesses a generous spirit, a fiery intelligence and an explosive secret. Deep in the London underworld, a dear friend has vanished, and Juliet fears the worst. Deveril insists on helping, escorting her through the darkest alleys in town. But he too is hiding a shocking secret and the only way he can defeat the devil in his past is to seduce the angel in his arms


sure to sweep readers off their feet!" Tessa Dare"

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Promising Premise that Doesn't Quite Live Up to its Potential 16 Aug. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off, major accolades to anyone who has actually gone through the harrowing processes of writing, editing, and publishing a complete work. It's a major accomplishment in itself, and one which I fully admit I haven't ever engaged in myself. Like all reviews, take this with a grain of salt and a dash of personal bias. That being said, I felt How to Romance a Rake was a mildly entertaining historical romance that carries a clearly defined plot, but pulls no real emotional heartstrings. I guess I'm a girl who loves a few more tears before I can believe any angst is truly slain by the HEA.

The main characters are all interesting, but (in the best-worst way possible) they fit together just a little too easily. Collins provides a back-story for each character that contains enough trauma that would make any reader automatically root for the final success of the hero and heroine. But rather than show any emotional growth--from tragedy to trust to love--Collins lets her protagonists fall into synch just a little to easily, and her villains just happen to be conveniently crazy enough to provide a few macabre hints that move the plot along. And once all the characters (hero, heroine, and a not-uninteresting backup crew of characters from the previous book) reach the inevitable resolution, it feels a bit like the Scooby Gang has just pulled the mask off another old kook. The characters all accept the identity of the villain, and then proceed to have tea and chit-chat as if nothing has changed in their scone-filled world. Throughout the book I was being told how the characters have grown closer, without really being shown how the characters and their relationships are developing.

A couple of major pros for the book:
-The heroine is physically disabled and manages (fairly realistically) to overcome challenges in her life.
-The hero is caring and kind without seeming a total wimp.
-Supporting characters from previous and future books in the series make appearances that actually contribute to the story without overshadowing (or swallowing) the main H and h.
-Good balance in the historical descriptions, specifically with regard to aspects of the h's injuries (realistic but not too dry).

All in all, Collins is clearly a good writer who has a passion for the era, but I think she can do better. Major props to Collins for creating characters you care about and for diving into unique plot scenarios and situations. I'm looking forward to reading the final book in this series, but it would be a library pick-up, rather than a purchase for me. The only major pet-peeve I have with the book is that there seems to be confusion as to which foot the heroine's injury was inflicted on. The injury is such a critical element of the character's story, that I find the confusion in such an important detail frustrating--it's more an editorial mistake than a writing error, but I still have to issue a slight "grrrr" and "grumble."

I'm giving this three stars (based on my totally subjective and somewhat silly grading system) because I don't regret picking it up, but I probably won't bother reading this book again. If you're like me and tend to look for titles based on a theme(s), you might enjoy this if you're looking for books that touch on the topics of:

Major themes:

-Disfigured hero or heroine (heroine in this case)
-Secondary plot (i.e. not the romance between H and h) with a mystery [specially missing person(s)]
-Books in a series (3 female cousins who don't "fit in" with the ton)
-Outsiders/Geeks/Freaks/Those who don't quite fit in, finally getting their HEA (see above)
-Heroes with a troubled past [the book opens with the hero having successfully overcome the reputation of his dastardly father (dead) and jerk uncle (alive)]

Minor themes:
-Supportive families
-At least one female snob/b*tch you just love to hate
-18th Century medicine/war trauma
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hits all the Right Notes 13 Aug. 2012
By PJ Ausdenmore - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Miss Juliet Shelby lives on the fringes of the ballroom, a wallflower who does her best to go unnoticed. She wasn't always that way. As a young girl, she was the most animated of the three cousins who have been dubbed the Ugly Ducklings by a spiteful young woman of the ton. But, as a young teen, while living in Vienna with her parents, Juliet was critically injured in an accident, resulting in amputation of her left foot - an injury that left her self-absorbed mother horrified and embarrassed by her now "crippled" daughter. Juliet returned to London two years later a changed person; quieter, more subdued, telling no one of the severity of her injury, not even Maddie and Cecily, her cousins and two best friends.

Juliet isn't the only one who has grown up with a less than perfect parent. Lord Alec Deveril has spent the past several years trying to undo the damage done to his family name by his reprobate of a father in order to insure a good future for his younger sisters. A gorgeous man, he is a leader of the ton's young fashionable set but, as of late, as grown weary of it and knows it's time to find a wife and settle down. His criteria is simple: find someone likable but for whom he feels not one iota of passion. His late parents offered him a front row seat to the devastating consequences of a passion filled marriage. He briefly considers Maddie as a potential candidate but it's the quiet, self-possessed Juliet who continues to draw his eye.

When Mrs. Turner, Juliet's beloved music teacher, a woman who, over the years, has been more a mother to her than her own mother goes missing, it's Alec who offers his help in the search. As Juliet and Alec spend more time together, they forge a friendship and gradually a fondness for one another that then blooms into desire and, finally, love. But there are many obstacles to a happy ending for these two. Juliet's mother is determined to marry her off to a slimy older man Juliet has good reason to fear, her mother has done her best to convince Juliet that no man will ever find her desirable once he knows of her amputation and Alec fears the reprehensible actions of both his father and his uncle will make it impossible for him to love a woman passionately and bring her happiness. Then there's the mystery of Mrs. Turner's disappearance with twists and turns aplenty and a lurking danger that could put both Juliet and Alec in harm's way.

I loved this story so much. I've read it three times and have no doubt I will read it many more times in the future. I applaud Manda Collins for creating Juliet, a physically imperfect heroine who is absolutely perfect in the eyes of her hero. Collins knows the subject well and brings to her character the realistic physical and emotional challenges as well as the quiet strength and determination that make Juliet one of my favorite heroines ever. Watching her grow throughout her journey and finally come into her own was wonderful. I cheered for her, hurt for her, feared for her and wanted to do unspeakable things to her witch of a mother for her but not once did I ever pity her.

I usually prefer my heroes dark but Alec just may have won me over to the blond side. He's a wonderful man with a kind heart who champions Juliet, protects her, desires her and, ultimately, loves her with every breath of his being. The scene when they first make love is so exquisitely beautiful it brought tears to my eyes and the declaration he makes about Juliet after the villain is vanquished shows how much he respects and understands her and made me want to stand and cheer.

The passion sizzles in this book and while Collins delves into deeply emotional issues she also infuses her stories with plenty of humor along with a terrific secondary cast. One of my favorite scenes is between Alec and Maddie while they wait for Juliet to be fitted for new gowns at the dressmaker's. I won't give away any spoilers other than to say it gives the reader a peek into the inner workings of Maddie's mind, something that has Alec pondering how useful she would have been to Wellington during the war, and has me anticipating her book even more. I have the feeling she's going to lead Monteith a very merry chase!

If you haven't read Manda Collins yet, now's the perfect time to start. How to Romance a Rake is going straight to my keeper shelf. I highly recommend it!

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Top Pick - Can't wait for next book 10 Aug. 2012
By Smitten by Books - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The second book in the Ugly Duckling series is sexy and romantic.

Juliet Shelby is used to hiding in the corners and not letting anyone know her secret. Even her closest friends and cousins, Cecily and Maddie, don't know the truth about the injury she sustained as child. Juliet is an unusual heroine - she has a prosthetic leg. Due to an accident she lost her foot and has hidden the injury from everyone in her life. Although they see her limp and she uses a walking aide, no one knows the extent of the injury. She comes into her own with the help of an unlikely friend.

Lord Alec Deveril has spent his adulthood working to overcome his father and uncle's reputations. To that end he plans to marry someone that doesn't elicit great passion and that will allow him to maintain his fashionable status. His plan is interrupted by an unwanted attraction to a certain debutant and her need for someone to help her find a friend that has gone missing.

Alec and Juliet's romance is wonderful. I love the way that their relationship develops from friends with an attraction to each other to full blown love. The feelings between them progress slowly and sweetly. I loved the progression and how they take time to get to know each other before acting on their feelings for each other.

The two characters have one thing in common that bonds them together - their parents. Juliet's mother has hidden her daughter away since her accident, not allowing her to build a life of her own. She treats her terribly and tries to force her into a marriage that would be a disaster in many ways. Alec's father was physically abusive to his mother and Alec fears that he will become just like him. Together they learn that they aren't like their parents and that they are so much more than they were raised to believe they were.

The mystery of what has happened to Juliet's former music teacher and friend adds the right amount of intrigue and action to help move the story along. Her whereabouts and what happened to her serves as a catalyst to Alec and Juliet spending time together. There were a few times in the book that it seemed as if Juliet had forgotten about Mrs. Turner. Instead of feeling like a loose plot line, these lapses felt organic to the story. With all of the drama and changes happening in Juliet's life it made sense that she would have trouble focusing.

The writing is superb. The characters have a rapport with each other that is entertaining and helps the reader learn so much about the characters and their actions. The descriptions are realistic and add so much to the story.

Ms. Collins is an author that will be on my auto-buy list from her on out. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.

If you are a fan of Tessa Dare, then you love Manda Collins.

Reviewed by Carrie

Originally published on The Season website (theseasonforromance dot com)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem of a Book 8 Aug. 2012
By Flora the Red Menace - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"How to Romance a Rake" is the second book in Manda Collins' "Ugly Duckling's Trilogy" I had the honor and pleasure to get an early peak at reading it as an e-Galley. It is a rare gem of a book that tackles some very difficult topics. The fact that it does it so well, takes it into a much higher category than many genre historical romances. I will not give a summary of the book here because others have already done so. I'll just stick with my opinions on the book.
The protagonist of the novel, Juliet, is forced to hide the true nature and severity of an injury she incurred during the Napoleonic wars. This is not is a subject that is usually addressed in romantic fiction. We see plenty of male protagonists suffering from war injuries, but this is the first time I have come across a heroine with one. Collins takes a huge chance by putting herself out there with a subject that is rarely addressed in novels and romance novels in particular.
Let me say: It has paid off big time! I know that this book will be a big hit with readers because we all struggle with some type of personal disability. It may not even be a physical one or even a visible one. What about shyness, poor self esteem, dysfunctional family dynamics, body dysmorphia, etc, etc.? You get the idea, and readers will relate in their own personal way.
I would like to add that the subject of limb deformity and/or amputation is very current and important to today's reading community. It is an unfortunate fact that many of our brave military personnel, both male and female, are returning home with severe, life changing injuries. Juliet has a war related impairment; that is sure to resonate with this heroic group as well as with their families and friends.
Brava, Manda!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed 1 Aug. 2012
By Romancing the Book - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Posted on Romancing the Book's blog
Reviewed by Laci
Review Copy Provided by Netgalley

How To Romance A Rake really surprised me. It had plot points and characterizations that I have never experienced before or come across, and I was pleasantly surprised. I was really shocked, but the way the various scenarios turned out really made me happy. Manda Collins' second book in her series didn't disappoint in any way. She integrated new characters in with ones from the first book flawlessly and used them to really build upon the story.

There was plenty of laughter but wasn't light on the overall story. The characters were enjoyably brought to life and I felt the camaraderie and interest between them. None felt awkward or out of place. How To Romance A Rake isn't a typical, every day historical romance. I loved the twists and turns and the unexpected mysteries that sprang up.

I felt sorry for Juliet but admired her for her determination and how she never let the harpies that are the other young society maidens and her own mother get her down. I loved Juliet's cousins, the other 2 "ugly ducklings" because they truly loved Juliet and wanted to see her happy. The way they went about that had me laughing and I know it confused Deveril.

I loved Deveril. He didn't start out meaning to be a hero trying to save the day. He kinda just fell into it, much to his chagrin. To give him credit, he didn't complain once and once he admitted Juliet was the one he had always wanted, he never once wavered in his decision to help her in her search for her friend and to protect her from anything that came along. He handled Juliet's secret with aplomb and that made him one of my favorite heroes.
How to Romance A Rake doesn't disappoint. There is so much more to the book than the synopsis tells. Juliet is truly an inspirational character and a true original. I can't wait for Manda Collins' next ugly duckling book. It's sure to be as great as the first two.
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