Now that I have introduced you to one Prudence, let me introduce you to my favorite Prudence. Sebastian may not have quite the charm that Gideon does, but this Prudence, in my opinion, more than makes up the difference. This book has been on my keeper shelf for a long time. The cover is beat to heck, the pages are dog-eared, yellowed and smudged. Eventually I even replaced that ratty copy with digital, but I still hold onto it, because love. And it gave me all the happy feels right from the start.
There are actually a number of similarities to The Perfect Rake. A heroine named Prudence who is no great beauty, an unchaperoned meeting with the hero, a hero who finds the heroine fascinating, a sham engagement, a hero who wants to marry the heroine long before she is interested, and a heroine who has quite a bit of agency and is willing to take matters into her own hands. But the areas where they diverge make all the difference for me.
Dangerous is a romp, no two ways about it. And Prudence has a very strong sense of her own worth and a hobby she devotes significant time and energy to. Granted, it is sort of a silly hobby; the scientific study of paranormal phenomenon, but she goes about it in a logical and scientific way. She’s smart and feisty with it. Sebastian also has his own interesting little hobby, a sad backstory, and an abysmal relationship with his extended family. Prudence and Sebastian always felt real to me, from first to last. And their conflicts were between them, not some outside forces or misunderstandings. They fought with each other, they disagreed and argued. And I enjoyed that aspect of their relationship very much. They seemed very much a part of their world as opposed to Prudence and Gideon who seemed somewhat closed off from the world.
Mysteries were solved, fights and family relationships were resolved, and two strong-willed people fell into like and then into love, all very naturally and the whys of it all were perfectly clear to see.
For me, this is a 5 star read, but I’ll admit my biases, in that I read this again through a rosy glow of nostalgia as I have been reading it for a very long time and never ‘outgrew” it. But I think anyone who is a fan of “wallpaper” historical romance (that is a new term or me and I am not sure how I have survived this long without it) could still enjoy this story, despite the fact that it was published in 1993.