Merrick St Magnus is a second son without clear direction, who survives on his charm and what money he wins from bets. He’s notorious for his womanizing and daring activities. Alixe Burke firmly believes herself to be on the shelf, and she’s happy to be there. When her parents throw a country party in the hopes of luring eligible men, Merrick gets an invite based on his association with Alixe’s brother. The two find themselves in a compromising (and totally innocent) situation, but since his reputation is well known, her father offers a deal. He has until the end of the season to make her the toast of the Ton, and secure her a suitable husband, or Merrick has to marry her himself.
How to Disgrace a Lady is the first in a new trilogy by Bronwyn Scott called Rakes Beyond Redemption. Readers are given the typical – an outlandish rake trading on his looks but hiding something from the world and a beautiful bluestocking who doesn’t want a Ton lifestyle. Working within a well-used structure, Scott still keeps it engaging by giving her readers interesting characters and a fast-paced story. Proving that just because it has been done before, doesn’t mean that it can’t be done with style.
I like Merrick. He’s funny, charming, and bold, but of course all the best rakes are. He’s not all that happy with where he’s heading, which opens him up to the influence of the right woman. Alixe is sweet, but she’s also saucy, with a daring side that Merrick brings out. His reputation, most of it deserved, makes him a less than appropriate suitor, but then, in true romance style, reformed rakes make the best husbands.
Merrick’s friends, Ashe and Riordan, also make an appears which sets up the next two books in the trilogy (How to Ruin a Reputation due in October and How to Sin Successfully due in November). Though you don’t get a lot of detail, you learn enough to know these two have problems of their own.
If you are looking for a historical romance, this is a perfect choice. The characters are fun and appealing, and they’ll have you turning pages well after you should be asleep.