Edwina Hargrove is a code breaker. Since her and her brother were little they have been creating codes and then challenging the other to break them. Now older she looks forward to each letter her brother send in order to spend some very enjoyable time translating them. She also enjoys looking in the Mayfair Messenger’s Personal & Misc section to find letters with codes to break.
One day, while having tea with her group of friends, she comes across a letter written by Ashton Trewelyn aka Casanova. Ashton has written a letter trying to find a wife for a good friend of his. His friend was injured in the war saving Ashton’s life and Ashton feels it is the least he can do to repay the debt. Unfortunately, Edwina and her group of friends do not know the whole story and assume he has placed the ad to seduce young women. The make it their mission to stop these young women from meeting their eventual ruin by creating the Rake Patrol. With the help of one of the women who works at the paper they are able to figure out who has responded to the ad and stop them from meeting Ashton.
As if the one ad is not enough Edwina translates another ad calling for a meeting of The Guardians at the house of Trewelyn. Edwina and her friends immediately jump to the conclusion that The Guardians are a nefarious group that already have women trapped in the house. They feel they must be the ones to rescue those women and expose the group. Of course, there is nothing of that sort going on so when they bring the police to the door all that happens is the women look foolish. Well that and it has now placed Edwina in the sites of Trewelyn.
I found this book to be almost preposterous? You have a group of women with nothing better to do, described as teetotalers, prudes, staid and so on jumping to enormous conclusion simply because they are bored. Each member of this Rake Patrol is equally ridiculous. Our heroine, Edwina, is so fanciful that she borders on being a ninny. Take this thought when we first hear about Ashton Trewelyn aka Casanova.
“My brothers told me that he was tossed out of every school in England on moral grounds,” Edwina murmured, though she had no knowledge what moral grounds those had been. At the time she had difficulty accepting that news. His name, Trewelyn, so resembled the name of the noble squire from Treasure Island that she had trouble separating the two. Even today, she felt as if someone had slowly stroked a feather down the inside of her arm just at the mention of his name.
Is she for real? Unfortunately, I just didn’t like any of the women in this book. They were all written to be silly. I found nothing to like about Edwina and didn’t really see why Trewelyn was attracted to her.
Edwina also has a man, who aspires to be her husband, that chases her around for most of the book. He shows up at random times and places and makes loud scenes. No matter what Edwina says or does he still inserts himself into the picture. At one point he forces a kiss on her and tells her to stop playing games. For me, he was just another example of the overdone character most of the players in this book were.
There is a scene that caused me to snort out loud because I cannot say I have read anything quite like it before. Edwina has managed to get herself caught in a secret room where Trewelyn’s father keeps his “special” art. As her and Trewelyn are walking around they run across something quite interesting.
The man in the picture used his hand to explore the woman’s “embellished” parts, thus coaxing some sort of liquid from them. The woman showed no form of protest; in fact, one would think she enjoyed this strange probing.
Trewelyn’s voice warmed her ear and, truth be told, other parts hidden from his view. “This print shows there’s more that one way to coax ying from a female.”
YING? What? Well. That would be the first, and hopefully, last time I have heard it referred to like that. Very bizarre.
Overall, the book and mostly the character were just not enjoyable for me. By the end, I simply didn’t care what happened to any of them. I was just tired of reading the crazy conclusions people would come to and their overblown reactions to those conclusions. Final grade- D.