I was half the way through the latest novel by one of my favourite contemporary writers, when I realised that I was not enjoying it anywhere nearly as much as a book I had recently read that my wife had recommended to me.
The Rake, by Gillian Hawser, is a quite wonderfully written novel.
I truly enjoyed being transported back to the turn of the 19th Century. Much of the story takes place amongst the “ ton “ , the high society of London aristocrats who held manners and etiquette as a central part of their life.
The depth of the author’s characters and the historical snapshots, and the very root of the story, made it relatable and enjoyable. The main character Lord Jaspar Heddington, The Rake, is a man of much standing (to use a phrase of the era!), he wants for very little, and travels from his Mayfair home to the various private members clubs and events that those bestowed with his fortune and position enjoyed at the time. He has a vast family estate in Sussex .His friends include many fellow Lords, Lady’s , Colonels and the influencers of the time. He has a history with many women , whom he leaves as quickly as he loves.
After an unwise dalliance with Laura Ludgrove a naive and beautiful “ country girl”, in London for the season with her titled godmother, we follow the repercussions that follow and how events lead to a change in not only Jaspar’s fundamental view point of love and relationships, but also on how a person of his standing could lead a more admirable life.
Such is the descriptive quality of the writing , that I found myself noting that we all know a Mrs Darcy and most of us would long for the relationship that Greville and Nilie have, Beau would have been an Instagram hit and Grizelda was a woman before her time.
I found myself effortlessly reading it in a few days and would thoroughly recommend that you do too.
Julian M. Winer August 2021
by Julian M. Winer