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Monday, July 18, 2011

Author Miranda Neville on Loving a Non-Rake

Book cover of The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton by Miranda Neville

I am so excited to have author Miranda Neville here on tour for her new book, The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton.  If you've never read any books in The Burgundy Club series, you're in for a treat.

As I read Miranda's books, I was struck by the fact that her heroes aren't the usual Regency rakes - they're the nice guys who end up getting the girl nonetheless.  Today, Miranda tells us why we should all love a non-rakish hero.

Photo of British historical romance author Miranda Neville
Miranda Neville: Thanks so much, Sarah, for inviting me on your blog today, and thanks for suggesting this topic because it’s one close to my heart. Not that I don’t love rakes as much as the next reader: there’s something about reforming the bad boy that never fails to appeal. But somehow I haven’t (yet) managed to write one.

The hero of the first book in The Burgundy Club series set out to be a rake. The heroine of THE WILD MARQUIS thinks he’s a rake. But as I delved into Cain’s story he turned out to genuinely like women: all women, not just the heroine. And because he has so much affection and respect for the sex, he’s incapable of treating a woman callously. However, like all good rakes, once he’s settled on Juliana as “the one” he’ll do anything to overcome the obstacles dividing them.

Sebastian, the hero of THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT, is the opposite. Frankly, he’s a nerd: a bespectacled scholar who dresses like a scarecrow. He has a livelong disgust and distrust for females and has taken his aversion to the point of remaining a virgin. But when he falls he falls hard. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun with a hero as I did with this very unlikely bookworm. By the way he turns out to be quite buff underneath his baggy clothes and he cleans up very well.

Then there’s Tarquin, the hero of THE AMOROUS EDUCATION OF CELIA SEATON. He’s the consummate Regency dandy, the best dressed and most fashionable man in London with a sharp wit that depresses pretension at every turn. When planning his story I always intended to remove his clothes, his social armor. I also considered the persona of a dandy, which is all about surface impression. To lay him bare, emotionally as well as physically, I gave him a tiny touch of amnesia. He finds himself half naked with no clue who he is, out in the wilderness of the Yorkshire moors. By luck, his companion is a disgraced governess who was the target of one of his cruel barbs and she’s out for a little gentle revenge. Stripped of his exterior trappings, he is able to become the wonderful man he always was underneath. The real trouble starts when he regains his memory and must reconcile the two parts of his nature.

Rake or not, what all our heroes have in common is the ability to love once they find the right woman, and a determination to win her, no matter what. Overcoming the obstacles to love is the essence of every romance and it’s what all our heroes, rakish or otherwise, have in common.

What about you. Can you love a hero who’s a good guy? Who are your favorites, rake and non-rake?

Thanks so much, Miranda, for this fascinating post!  Readers - Miranda has generously offered a $25 Amazon gift certificate to one random commenter on this week's blog tour.  So, in true Chicago fashion, I urge you to comment early, comment often!  Thanks to Judy & Marianne at GoddessFish Promotions for arranging for Miranda's visit to The Brazen Bookworm.

Historical Romance Novel Book Reviews by Sarah The Brazen Bookworm


  1. I love a non-rake hero, I was FBing with an author last year expressing a desire for a nerd, as long as he has BLACK hair! I think that type of hero is more like most of the husbands and Dad's out there, the wonderful role models that we love! Don't get me wrong, I love the naughty boys, as long as they can be redeemed by a good girl! :^D

  2. I tend to lean toward the non-rake hero, they are the good solid ones, the ones that will be there through think and thin. Though there certainly isn't anything wrong with a rake, as long as they can be reformed by a good woman!

  3. I love both - each for different reasons. I do get turned off when the author goes on and on about how many women the rake has been with. I mean, hundreds of women? Ew. ;)

  4. I love them both...rake- non rake! I have a non-rake in real life and adore him. He is the sexy,humorous,loyal and oh so very romantic guy ever!! I'm just glad I was willing to take the time and discover all his hidden attributes!

  5. So good to see you all here.

    @Tracey: my nerd, Sebastian has brown hair but I think you'd like him, nevertheless. He's so cute.

    @Jean P: "the ones that will be there through thick and thin." Exactly! And though a reformed rake may be relied on, it's easier to believe it of a less - experienced - guy.

    @Anonymous. I'm not so crazy about the total man slut myself. I like a hero who knows what he's doing, but we don't want to be thinking STDs. NOT romantic.

    @Stephanie: Congratulations on taking the trouble to recognize a real keeper. No question, in real life the rake is usually not a good bet. In fiction, however...

  6. i love them both. i think that it all depends on the book, but i love it when the nice guy wins over the not so nice guy and then other times i love it when the bad boy finally figures out it is okay to be a nice guy.
    i am not sure that makes sense to anyone but me.LOL!

  7. Frankly, I am rather tired of rakes. To be a rake implies some degree of arrogance or self-absorbtion to me. Certainly not the type of man I would choose. I like interesting, flawed heroes that are capable of deep attachment. I loved the first two Burgundy Club books (especially Sebastian -- I'm a sucker for a nerd with hidden attributes) and have pre-ordered Celia Seaton. Can't wait!

  8. I just like a hero that is caring. I don't like a mean character. A Rake can be caring, he just hadn't found the right woman until the heroine.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  9. @ Tammy. Makes perfect sense to me! And of course it's very satisfying when the bad boy really changes.

    @ Kellianne: I'm so glad you enjoyed the previous books and hope you will find Tarquin loveable too. He has a somewhat repellant persona (and he was carelessly cruel to Celia) but he has his reasons and, underneath, he's really a good guy. And he certainly isn't a rake: much too fastidious.

    @ Di. I agree: no mean guys. Thanks for your comments.

  10. I'm a Regency nut - I love ALL rakes. However, bad boys made good are a delight. Good boys who like to play are also delicious. Oh, it's too hard to chose. I love them all....

  11. With me, I can't help but love a good guy just like I can't help but love a rake :-)


  12. a good hero is always a good guy underneath (it just sometimes the heroine is the only one that gets to see it). :)

  13. I can totally love a good guy, but the rake is often more fun to read.


  14. @ Bron. I also love them all.

    @Chelsea. Ditto!

    & gamistress. Yes! The special vision of the heroine is all.

    @ Maybelle. I do my very best to make my non-rakes fun to read. I take fun seriously :)

  15. Miranda -
    I'm lucky that have all three types of men in my family and yes you can love them all!

    My oldest son is Cain in disguise. When he was a teenager he used to take flowers for his date's mother! Con artist to the core but he loved all women and respected them as well. Today he not only cooks dinner and cleans but is the very best of Dads. Yes he even changes diapers. His boyhood friends are amazed.

    My younger son was a "nerd" from the time he entered school until he graduated from college and reminds me of Sebastian. Then his girl friend (now wife) turned him into an outgoing extrovert who can dance like a pro! Just don't tell his co-workers. At work he's still that nerd who can't tolerate "stupid people". Oh well, maybe he still has a way to go to be a romantic hero but he always buys flowers for my daughter-in-law and takes care of the children so she get have a "calgon" day. He actively supports charitable organization and has organized 50K runs to benefit them at the large coporatgion where he is in management.

    My husband is Tarquin in disguise. Maybe it was the time period he grew up in but I'm the opposite and a "woman's libber" way before it was popular. Fortunately he married me because even if he thinks he's always right I just point out to him that he's not! When our boys were young he used to get upset by anyone who asked him while he had to babysit when I was working nights and week-ends and would tell them he was babysitting he was just being a father!

    Good good guys, rakes or not, are number 1 in my book (and home).

  16. I love both! In the hands (pen?!) of a good storyteller either one works just as well (& vice versa). Love it when the rake falls totally, irrevocably in love with the heroine.

    Tarquin is such a nice name!

  17. @Jeanne. I LOVE you comparing your husband and sons to my heroes. You are a lucky woman (I say modestly). Mind you, I don't see any of my guys changing a diaper, but they had nursemaids in those days! Thanks for your responses.

    @Linda "Love it when the rake falls totally, irrevocably in love with the heroine." Swoon. I thought Tarquin was a pretty unique name, then last year Anna Campbell came out with one! We teased each other about it, but truly we came up with the name independently.

  18. I like both. Sometimes I just want to read about the dark brooding guy with secrets and sins in his pat and only the heroine can understand/heal him. But there are also time I like to read about the good guy. There is something "soothing" about that.

    claudigc at msn dot com

  19. Love rakes. Love good guys and bad... sometimes a good guy is disguised as a bad guy.
    Recently read about a tatooed bar owner, with a band, who was a really good guy.
    Thanks for the contest.


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