Those Fascinating Gentlemen in Literature—the Rakes!

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Maggi Andersen

Hi everyone,

Rakes are the bad boys of literature. And as the Georgian era is featured on Embracing Romance, I thought I’d talk about my novel, The Reluctant Marquess, which is set during this era. The Marquess of St. Malin is a rake in need of taming.

A rake, (short for rakehell) is a historic term for a man of immoral conduct. His wealth allowed him to live as he pleased and he shirked duty and marriage for pleasure. In 18th Century England, a rake was seen to be someone who wasted his inherited fortune on gambling, wine and women incurring vast debts.


In Restoration English comedy (1660-1688) the rake was a carefree, witty, sexually irresistible aristocrat. The merry gang of courtiers, of which the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of Dorset were a part, combined riotous living with intellectual pursuits and patronage of the arts.

In later centuries, rakes were turned into a brooding heroes by authors such as the Bronte sisters, and later, Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland. And he continues to be redeemed by a feisty heroine in contemporary romances.

The Reluctant Marquess 400

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Charity Barlow wished to marry for love. The rakish Lord Robert wishes only to tuck her away in the country once an heir is produced.

A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow suddenly finds herself married to a marquess, an aloof stranger determined to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. She and Lord Robert have been forced by circumstances to marry, and she feels sure she is not the woman he would have selected given a choice.

The Marquess of St. Malin makes it plain to her that their marriage is merely for the procreation of an heir, and once that is achieved, he intends to continue living the life he enjoyed before he met her.

While he takes up his life in London once more, Charity is left to wander the echoing corridors of St. Malin House, when she isn’t thrown into the midst of the mocking Haute Ton.

Charity is not at all sure she likes her new social equals, as they live by their own rules, which seem rather shocking. She’s not at all sure she likes her new husband either, except for his striking appearance and the dark desire in his eyes when he looks at her, which sends her pulses racing.

Lord Robert is a rake and does not deserve her love, but neither does she wish to live alone.

Might he be suffering from a sad past? Seeking to uncover it, Charity attempts to heal the wound to his heart, only to make things worse between them.

Will he ever love her?


Readers will love the delightful tale of love in an arranged marriage. As troubles buffet the new couple and their love is tested, readers will be rooting for them to make it through. RT Book Reviews.


Robert dropped his hand and went to sit on the sofa. He watched her walk around the room, her skirts swaying gracefully around her. ‘Come here.’

She remained where she was.


‘If you wish.’ She crossed the room to stand by his side.

He took her hand, turning it over in his large one, marveling at her delicate, pointed fingers. He thought of the carvings he’d seen on her mantel. ‘I’m sorry I snapped at you.’

‘Are you?’ She pulled her hand away, her voice doubtful.

He patted the sofa beside him. ‘We need to learn more about one another, don’t you agree?’

When she hesitated, he seized her by the waist and tumbled her onto his lap.

‘The servants might come in.’ Charity struggled to rise, but he held her fast within his arms.

‘No, they won’t.’

‘How can you be sure?’

‘They wouldn’t dare. I told them we wished to be alone.’

Her green eyes widened. ‘Why do such a thing? There will be gossip in the servants’ quarters.’

‘Servants love to talk. Why must we deny them something to talk about?’ His hands roamed from her tiny waist to her bodice and her full breasts, enjoying the feel of her soft curves. She was unlike the willowy women he was used to. Her derriere felt plump and delightful against his hardening body. Should he stop? He struggled with his conscience and his conscience lost. He slid his hands up her smooth thigh, wishing to bare her body and study every bit of her he wanted to kiss and lick.

‘Robert, should you…’

‘Yes. I intend to make love to you.’

She squirmed and gasped. Her full lips open and inviting. ‘Now? Here?’

‘Why not now and here?’ he asked, forced to remove his hand as she jumped up. He drew her down again. ‘Don’t you want me to touch you?’

‘But this is scandalous.’ Charity’s eyes widened, her small pink tongue licked her bottom lip, sending a bolt of fire straight to his groin. She gave a shy smile. ‘A kiss perhaps.’

He found himself trembling as if it was the first time for him too, when he took her chin in his hands and pressed his lips to hers. Charity gave a soft moan. Her hands moved through his hair to the nape of his neck, pulling him closer. God, he’d started something now. How he wanted this luscious and delicate woman.

She drew away with a deep shuddering breath. ‘The bedchamber at night would surely be the ….’

Robert began to undo the buttons on her gown. ‘I find myself unable to wait.’

‘Unable? But you said …’

He undid the last button and pulled her gown away. Leaning forward, he kissed the tender nape of her neck. ‘Can’t a man change his mind?’

Do you enjoy seeing rakes tamed?


#HistoricalRomance, HistoricalResearch, #GeorgianEra, #Marquess, #ArrangedMarriage,  #Rake

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Maggi Andersen is an Australian author of historical romance, mysteries, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels. She lives in a pretty historical town with her husband, a retired lawyer. Maggi is a bird lover, she supports the RSPCA, IFAW and Youth off The Streets. Maggi's latest Regency series is The Baxendale Sisters. Book #1 Lady Honor's Debt is available on Amazon, and relevant sites.

  1. Barbara Monajem

    In real life, I don’t think I’d like a rake at all, but in books, they’re awesome and irresistible, both to read and to write. They may be tamed, sort of, but there’s still something about them that keeps the heroine on her toes. 🙂