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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review - - The Casanova Code


The Casanova Code
The Rake Patrol – Book 1
By Donna MacMeans
Publisher:  Berkley Sensation
Release Date: 






There are three things I’m certain of when I pick up a Donna MacMeans novel: (1) I’ll be entertained (2) I’ll be reading way past my regular bedtime and (3) I’ll be surprised. 

Edwina Hargrove is intrigued but not usually concerned by the ads she reads in the personals column of the Mayfair Messenger.  A talented (secret) code breaker, Edwina hones her skills on letters from her traveling brother and coded messages that appear in the paper but a seemingly innocent message has her raising the red flags when she discovers the author is a well known rake.

A refined gentleman, age 25, of wealth and education, seeks the acquaintance, with a view to matrimony, of a high-minded, kindhearted lady who prefers an evening of quiet conversation and a good book to the lively demands of society. 

Certain that Ashton Carswell Trewelyn the Third, otherwise known as “Casanova,” is using the ad to lure innocent women into seduction, Edwina and her friends decide someone should stop him and the other men who seduce and discard unsuspecting young woman.  Thus, the Rake Patrol is formed.   Tired of her dull, boring life, Edwina – a modern woman who rides a bicycle and fantasizes about the adventures she’s not allowed to pursue - volunteers to follow Trewelyn around London and warn off the women who answer the ad before they are ruined.   What could go wrong?  Turns out, quite a bit!

In his younger years, Ashton Trewelyn more than lived up to his reputation as a rake but he’s not the same man he was back then.  Time in the King’s Royal Rifles made a man of him.  Too bad nobody believes it, including his own father, a man he’s never been able to satisfy.  After being wounded in service, he's returned to London, living in the same house with his father, young half-brother and step-mother, the woman he had planned to marry before she threw him over for his richer and more powerful father.   Could his life get more complicated?  When he encounters Edwina at a coffee shop where he had hoped to interview potential brides for a soldier friend and later discovers her sneaking into his father’s study (to thwart what she thinks is a secret meeting to lure innocent young women to the house) he learns that the complications are just beginning.  There's a secret meeting but not one to which he was invited.  Something is going on and it appears he will need Edwina, and her code breaking skills, to unravel the mystery.

Gradually, Ashton and Edwina begin to fall under each other’s spell but a happy ending for this couple is a long way off.  There are many roadblocks on their journey, including a secret society that may implicate Ashton’s father in a plot against the Crown,  an uptight beau handpicked by Edwina’s father who has never made her heart race and is firmly under the thumb of his controlling mother, Ashton’s need to prove himself worthy before he formally declares his feelings for Edwina and, not to be forgotten, the other members of the Rake Patrol who are having difficulty with the concept of Edwina and Casanova…together!    It’s a wild ride to the finish line but oh so worth it when they finally arrive!

I’ve enjoyed the writing of Donna MacMeans since her debut but this book and her last, Redeeming the Rogue have had an added depth and richness that have been especially satisfying.    While her writing flows smoothly and the story moves along quickly, she takes time to develop her characters, gradually peeling away layers, allowing us to come to know them slowly as we would a new friend.   The chemistry between the hero and heroine sparks from the start but the fire builds slowly in intensity along with the friendship between the two.  MacMeans’ use of the Japanese erotic art (one of those delightful surprises I alluded to earlier) kept in a secret room by the hero’s father is a uniquely sensual and highly satisfying tool used in Ashton and Edwina’s mutual seduction and also holds the key to family secrets that answer many questions about the man Ashton’s father has become; answers that keep Ashton from repeating his father's mistakes.


If you haven’t read a Donna MacMeans book yet, I suggest you begin with the highly entertaining The Casanova Code.   A word of warning though: you may want to order out for dinner before you start reading.   I ended up having pretzels and ranch dip for dinner the day I read it because I wasn't able to put the book down long enough to cook!

~PJ

28 comments:

  1. I love finding books I can't put down. Thank you - on my list.

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Marybelle! I'm already looking forward to the next story in the series!

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  2. Casanova! What else do you need to know! Great review, PJ!

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  3. Great review PJ! I enjoyed this one too, it was my first Donna MacMeans book but it won't be the last.

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    1. Beebs, If you liked this one I think you'll like REDEEMING THE ROGUE too. It has an Irish hero! :)

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    2. I'll check that out then, thanks.

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  4. It was wonderful as usual, I started early so I wouldn't be tempted to stay up late.

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    1. That was my downfall, Dianna. "Oh, I'll just read a few chapters after work." ::Snork!::

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  5. This one is in my TBR stash. Reading your review makes me more eager to find time for it, PJ.

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    1. It's a great start to what looks to be a fun series, Janga!

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  6. Sounds great, PJ! Laughing at the pretzels and ranch dressing for dinner. ;-D Sounds familiar.

    I love the cover, too. Gorgeous!

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    1. Laughing at the pretzels and ranch dressing for dinner. ;-D Sounds familiar.

      I'm not one bit surprised that you could relate to that, Gannon!

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  7. This is the only one of Donna's books that I haven't read (as yet) and I have to say I've enjoyed every one of them and looking forward to this one!

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  8. Delicious. I have not read any of her books yet. I will!

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    1. Laurie, you have some fun reading ahead!

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  9. Hmm - I've never read any of her books. Clearly, I have to fix that - I love finding a book that's so engrossing you skip meals for it. :) Are the books set in the Regency or Victorian eras?

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    1. Sarah, the book is set in the Victorian era. Donna will be blogging with us tomorrow and giving away two copies so be sure to drop by for a chance to win!

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  10. Great review, PJ! I love Donna's books and am so looking forward to settling in with The Casanova Code this weekend *g*

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  11. For those of you who may have missed it on our June calendar, Donna will be blogging with us tomorrow and giving away two copies of THE CASANOVA CODE so drop by Wednesday for a chance to win!

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  12. Ranch dip?? I always have taquitos in my freezer... This is a great book! thanks for giving it some 'face time'!

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    1. I always have taquitos in my freezer

      Good idea! I may have to start doing that!

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  13. Great review! Love Donna's books

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    1. Love Donna's books

      So do I! She just keeps getting better and better with each book she writes.

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  14. Sounds like it will be an enjoyable read. I'll have to read it when I don't have to worry about fixing meals.

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  15. Oh PJ - Thank you so much for your lovely review! (MWAH!) I've not had internet access since Friday and somehow missed that you'd be reviewing (and I'd be blogging) this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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