Charlotte Anne’s latest Regency Romance Her Worthy Rake features a classic Regency-era rake as it’s hero. To celebrate its release we asked her to tell us about the qualities that define the character of the ‘Rake’.
The extreme prevalence of rakes within the Regency romance genre is evidence of their popularity with readers and authors alike. But what makes a rake? And why are they so loved?
A rake is a particular type of romance hero—a loveable scoundrel whose goal in life is to enjoy being single. He’s usually wealthy, handsome and full of his own self-importance. He pursues only temporary relationships, often with married women or courtesans, which he knows won’t end in marriage. In fact, a lasting romance is the last thing on his mind.
Historically speaking, fiction hasn’t always treated rakes kindly. Several of Jane Austen’s novels feature rakes, but never were they given their very own storybook happily-ever-after ending. Case in point is Willoughby from Sense and Sensibility. Despite his honest love for Marianne, he’s unable to change his own nature and ends up unhappily married to a wealthy heiress instead of marrying for love.
Thankfully, today’s fictional rakes are much more redeemable, and when a rake finds love, he falls hard and fast and doesn’t look back. Think season 1 of Bridgerton: Simon, the Duke of Hastings, actually declares he has no space in his life for love, a wife and children. He’s quite happy to remain carefree and single. At least until he falls head over heels for Daphne Bridgerton. By the end of the first season they’re married, in love and expecting their first child. The direction of Simon’s life changes so fast he just about gets whiplash.
The idea that rakes are redeemable is their most attractive quality. What person can resist a bad boy turned good just for them? Cat Sebastian’s aptly titled romance The Ruin of a Rake is exactly the story of a redeemable rake who falls in love once and for all.
One of the most famous rakes of all time is Sebastian Ballister from Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels. Readers voted this book No. 1 in All About Romance’s Top 100 Romances poll for five years, further proof (if further proof is needed) that readers love a rake. Described as ‘big, bad and dangerous’, Sebastian wants nothing to do with respectable women, and no respectable woman wants anything to do with him. Until he meets Jessica Trent. He falls deeply and irreversibly in love with her, and after that his life is never the same again—despite his multiple attempts to carry on as though Cupid’s arrow did not strike him straight through the heart. It’s quite adorable how hard he tries (and fails) to ignore his feelings.
The hero of my latest Regency romance novel, Her Worthy Rake, is also a reformed rake. Owen Tattershall was happy living his promiscuous life until he fell into unrequited love for his best friend. The book begins with him heartbroken but resigned to the situation. He’s also shyly contemplating the possibility that perhaps he isn’t entirely opposed to a long-term relationship, somewhere deep into his future. Then, into his life walks Sophy Calder. You can guess what happens next: he falls hard and fast and there’s no going back. Hopefully, he’s brave enough to admit to his feelings… You’ll have to read it to find out 😉
Who is your favourite romance rake? A Bridgerton brother? A character from Jane Austen? The nefarious Sebastian Ballister? Or maybe even love-struck Owen Tattershall?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlotte Anne
With a degree in archaeology, Charlotte Anne now pens steamy historical romances. She’s been writing for as long as she can remember, and in her spare time she’s climbed to Mt Everest Base Camp and has earned her black belt in taekwondo. She’s even a pretty good shot with a bow.
Don’t miss Her Worthy Rake
Sparkling Regency romance full of wit, warmth and mystery from a fabulous new voice. If you like Georgette Heyer or all things Bridgerton, you’ll love this.
Is falling for this rake a mistake?
Owen Tattershall might not have a title or immeasurable wealth like other gentlemen of his ilk, but he does have rather excellent taste in the waistcoat department-and taste counts for a lot amongst the ton. It also doesn’t hurt that his adopted mother is the dowager Marchioness of Faye and his kind-of-cousin is the Duke of Woodhal. Unfortunately, prestige didn’t save his family from the ravages of war, and now what’s left is held together by nothing more than heartbreak, hope and bravado. To keep his memories of the war at bay, Owen immerses himself in his work … until the day Sophy Calder comes colliding into his life.
Sophy has been fending for herself ever since her twin brother was press ganged to fight against Napoleon’s forces. But the war ended almost two years ago, and still he hasn’t returned. Knowing something dreadful has happened, Sophy is determined to find her missing brother, even if it means infiltrating the world that snatched him from her. But when she encounters Owen, she quickly finds her growing attraction for the only man who’s taken her seriously threatening her long-mastered control.
An addictive romp from start to finish, this delightful Regency romance is set in the world of The Unworthy Duke, but is a standalone read.