Love Suzanne Enoch's books! The characters are well-developed, both primary & secondary, and the dialogue and her use of humor are delightful!
This has to be my favorite Suzanne Enoch book. Felicity and her sister lose their home in one poker match, thanks to their gambling brother. They don't realize it until Rafe drops by, insisting that it is now *his* home. A really great book!
~ Great Bancroft Brothers sequel - wandering rake meets responsible down-on-her-luck country girl and falls in love (4 stars) ~
TAMING RAFE is the second of Suzanne Enoch's Bancroft Brothers books, the sequel to BY LOVE UNDONE. I really enjoyed it, but I would also highly recommend reading the prequel - it's the better of the two and one of Enoch's best IMO.
Rafael Bancroft (28), the younger brother of Quin Bancroft (hero in BY LOVE UNDONE) and the son of the Duke of Highbarrow is the "bad boy" of his family. They despair of him ever settling down or taking on any responsibilities (though this isn't really accurate, since he spent 7 years in the military). Rafe, wanting to cut his dependency on his family and find his own funding for his latest adventure - which he'll start in either China or India - is ecstatic when he unexpectedly wins an estate in a card game, figuring he'll quickly sell it and use the money to finance his travels. Unfortunately, upon his arrival he doesn't find what he expected, but instead ... a rundown estate with a house that is falling apart (and a west wing that has literally caved in), along with the two sisters of the man who gambled away Forton Hall who are completely unaware that their home is no longer theirs.
To his great surprise, Rafe is inexplicably drawn to Forton Hall - and it's lovely residents, Felicity (22-23) and May (8) Harrington. Before he knows what he's about, he's making plans to tear down the stable and then building a new one, designing a new west wing and trying very hard to get rid of Felicity's far-too-friendly neighbor and would-be-suitor. A delightful hero and heroine with pretty good chemistry (isn't Enoch's best), interesting relationship development with obstacles to overcome that are realistic and well portrayed, *utterly charming* younger sister, and a bad-guy subplot involving a secret loan combine to make TAMING RAFE an enjoyable read.
Felicity is strong and independent; she's only 22 but has a great deal of responsibility, in charge of Forton Hall and raising her younger sister, Meg (one of the *best* characters of the book!). Her twin brother, Nigel, is basically good-for-nothing and only does harm to the family's finances and situation. When the book starts, part of the house has collapsed, they're buying everything on credit in the local village, and Felicity and Meg take care of all of the cooking, cleaning, etc. because they've had to let go of all of the servants.
Rafe is a great "soon-to-be-reformed rake" hero (scar and all); he's intelligent, charming, friendly, and can be deliciously possessive and jealous. As Felicity points out at one point in the book, his problem isn't so much that he's not interested in anything or never has goals, but rather he is never allowed by his family to get fully involved with anything, because they're always dragging him back home, making him feel that everything he does is insignificant (his father didn't want him in the military). His relationship with Meg is absolutely adorable and one of the highlights of the book; she's so entertaining - especially when she's using slang and later starts imitating Rafe and using curse words.
The living arrangement of the hero and heroine throughout the book is *completely* unrealistic - it's bad enough when Rafe, a complete stranger, sleeps in the stable (while the unmarried and unchaperoned Felicity and her younger sister are living alone right next door in the house), but when he then moves into the house with them ... Yes, there is some (very little!) gossip/eyebrows raised, but not really, which doesn't fit at all with the times. It's not even like Felicity is "firmly on the shelf" - she's only 22! However, I think slightly unbelievable plot aspects can be overlooked if the book is good enough and TAMING RAFE is on the whole a great read.