The Rake's Enticing Proposal by Lara Temple
The proposal of the rake in this story isn't quite what you might expect; if a rake asked me to be his sister's companion on a trip to Egypt, I don't think I'd think twice about accepting. Eleanor, the heroine of the story, does, but only because she has other responsibilities, with younger siblings and a crumbling estate to manage.
The first half of the story deals with a rather intriguing setup; Eleanor is fake-engaged to her best friend Henry, Chase Sinclair’s cousin, who has just inherited a crumbling estate of his own. In an attempt to avoid being married off by his determined aunt, Henry promises Eleanor help if she’ll pose as his fake fiancee. Unfortunately, Henry has inherited more debts than assets and it doesn’t take long for Chase to rumble the pair of them. He won’t expose their ruse, but there’s nothing to stop him falling for Ellie himself, which he promptly does as they work together to sort out a mess of papers and artefacts his uncle left to Chase, along with a mystery which doesn’t get resolved until they get to Egypt in the second half of the book.
The Egypt part is where this story really shines; though the character development in the first half is beautifully done and we really get to not only fall in love with the characters, but see why they’re in love with each other, the evocative, descriptive prose about Egypt made me feel as though I was really there, in a palace beside the Nile listening to the jackals howling in the City of the Dead.
Chase and Ellie are really perfectly suited to each other, but like any good romance, there are some trials and tribulations along the way as they come to understand that. There’s no manufactured drama; all of the doubts that beset them both are realistic and related to their own backgrounds, making them both feel very real and relatable.
Though this is the second in the Sinful Sinclairs series, it stands very well alone. I love Lara Temple’s writing and this one definitely deserves five stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review from the author.