Review: THE RAKEHELL OF ROTH by Amalie Howard

THE RAKEHELL OF ROTH is the second in a fun, sexy, must read series from one of our favorite people, author Amalie Howard. We were chomping at the bit to get this book, and Amber was the lucky reviewer to nab it. Here’s what she thought…

Author: Amalie Howard
The Regency Rogues (#2)
Release Date:
February 9, 2021
Pages: 400
Review Copy:
NetGalley ARC*


Sleeping Beauty meets Much Ado About Nothing

She’ll awaken with his kiss…

Lord Winter Vance, a notorious scoundrel and the Marquess of Roth, must marry to save his inheritance, but a wife is the last thing he needs. Determined to carry on his rakish ways provoking his straitlaced duke of a father and scandalizing the ton, the minute Winter ties the knot, he dumps his starry-eyed debutante of a bride at his country estate and hies back to London.

But three years later, forgotten in slumbering Chelmsford while her husband gallivants in town, Lady Isobel Vance decides that enough is enough and she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. When a case of mistaken identity leads to a devilish dance of seduction and an indelicate wager is made, this marchioness will show her marauding marquess just who he married.

Initial Thoughts/Expectations:
I devoured this book’s predecessor in one sitting and was left needing more of Amalie Howards scintillating take on historical romance novels!  I was excited and apprehensive to start Isobel’s story because she wasn’t necessarily my favorite character from THE BEAST OF BESWICK. Her sister Astrid was willing to sacrifice her own happiness to try to save Isobel from a bad suitor and Isobel couldn’t have been more ungrateful, in my opinion.  However, after discussing Isobel with my book club, good points were made that Isobel deserved her own independence and she never asked her sister to go through such great lengths to save her.  Keeping that in mind, I endeavored to give the younger Everleigh sister a chance to tell her own story.

What I Loved:
Amalie Howard’s take on historical romance feels modern and exciting while keeping to its traditional roots.  The Ladies are elegant, and the Lords are debonair, but the wit and way they converse with each other feels freer and less formal. Isobel and Clarissa, her best friend, write a scandalous advice column under the pen name Lady Darcy, in which they dispense feminist ideas to the masses. Their writings were cheeky and filled with what I would imagine to be taboo topics back in the day.  I cackled at the thought of uptight nobles reading the equivalent to a modern-day Cosmo magazine!

I adored the female friendships in The Rakehell of Roth. Isobel, Clarissa, Violet and Molly formed a motley crew, and I enjoyed the supportive cast. Clarissa was the BFF we all deserve in life and the MVP of this story; brazen, outspoken, and never letting Isobel doubt her self-worth.  She made me laugh out loud during many parts and knew just how to break the dramatic tension that steadily increased throughout the book. Let’s be honest, it’s not a romance novel without, well, the “romance”, and The Rakehell of Roth didn’t let me down in that regard.  Winter and Isobel have a contentious relationship, to say the least; as the man married her, bed her, and then left her with his dad on his country estate not to be seen again for over three years! When next they meet, his docile sweet kitten has grown up into a lion with claws sharper than he remembers.  From there the sparks fly and we begin a game of cat and mouse.  Isobel originally wants to exact revenge for being cast aside, and Winter’s end game is to scare his wife back off to the country with his rakish ways.  It becomes clear rather quickly that both are in over their heads and in danger of losing their hearts, but that doesn’t stop them from their initial plans.  The push and pull between Isobel and Winter was, in one word, HOT!

What I didn’t Love:
Unfortunately, I had a hard time understanding Winter’s motivations for not wanting a relationship with Isobel, even though it was apparent he had deeper feelings for her than he would ever admit to.  Winter has family drama that caused him to become very emotionally cut off, which I think made it hard to get a feel for the man he really was.  Because we didn’t have all the information on his family skeletons until the second half of the book, Winter’s actions came off cold and perverse.  He was deliberately cruel to Isobel at every turn.  He’s the one that decided to get married, no one forced his hand, so I found his actions after the wedding to be repugnant.  Once we are finally allowed beyond Winter’s bad-boy façade, I could see the broken man underneath that deserved to find his happily ever after.  Thankfully, Isobel also gave as good as she got and was up to the task of handling his churlish ways!

Final Thoughts:
Overall THE RAKEHELL OF ROTH was a steamy historical romance novel that pushed the boundaries for what I would typically read in this genre.  For those of you, like me, who binged the Netflix series The Bridgertons and were left wanting more, Amalie Howard’s series will definitely fit the bill! 

Amalie Howard Info
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