Sara Bennett is a hit or miss read for me, but I was intrigued by this Victorian-set novel. I like a plot with strong women who know what they want, and I have to say overall I enjoyed the characters and the writing in Led Astray by a Rake. My main problem was that the story dragged on and that the subplot felt tacked on and unnecessary.
Livy Monteith is leaving finishing school to hunt a husband, and she knows just who she wants: long-time friend "Wicked Nic," Lord Dominic Lacey. But a secret from his past won't make it easy on her. Nic is determined to not sully Livy's name with the shame of his past.
I'm afraid this review is going to be a little short. So much of the good part of this book has to do with a secret that I don't want to reveal. This means I can't really discuss much of the novel. What I can talk about is how much I was really enjoying this book until suddenly a "crazy" villain was inserted into the plot. There seems to be this new trend in romance that a villain is necessary - even when one isn't. I don't know if the author needs to extend the plot to reach a longer page goal or what. But I can say that I felt the love story was going along quite well until the author threw a villain into the mix!
Livy and Nic are a great pair. They balance each other very well, and I really do enjoy a book where the woman does the pursuing. But a little past midway the novel turns into a bad Gothic with a lunatic out for revenge...a revenge that the author didn't make me believe and that got in the way of a perfectly good romance! Instead of spending time with a hero and heroine who seem to already love each other, we spend time watching the two fight and scramble over a crazy madman who is trying to kill Livy. The secret Nic reveals is all this story needed. The rest just made me bored and upset.
Bottom Line: Read the first half of the book and then skip to the end - it's what I wish I'd done!