Review: Let Sleeping Rogues Lie

6th Jul 2008

Our latest review is of Let Sleeping Rogues Lie, by Sabrina Jeffries:

Let Sleeping Rogues LieDon’t let yourself be fooled, Madeline: once a rake, always a rake.
— Mrs. Charlotte Harris, headmistress

When Madeline Prescott took a teaching position at Mrs. Harris’s School for Young Ladies, it was to help restore her father’s reputation. Instead, she’s in danger of ruining her own. The devilishly handsome Anthony Dalton, Viscount Norcourt, has agreed to provide “rake lessons” to Mrs. Harris’s pupils so they can learn how to avoid unscrupulous gentlemen, and Madeline is to oversee his classes. She has always believed that attraction is a scientific matter, easily classified and controlled — until she’s swept into the passionate desire that fiercely burns between her and Anthony. Nothing could be more illogical than risking everything for a dalliance with a rake — even one who’s trying to behave himself. Yet nothing could be more tempting….

Claire: I decided to buy this book because the idea of the “rake lessons” was so outrageously intriguing! I was a little disappointed to find that the way they come into the novel was pretty practical and reasonable, and that they didn’t actually play much of a role in the story.

Belle: Exactly. When I see “rake lessons”, I expect constant and steamy sex scenes, and I was horribly disappointed.

Webmistress Niki: I thought the sex scenes were really great, though! I mean, wow. I was really impressed.

Belle: Niki, you lack all appreciation for the Art of writing. Just look at this extract:

His mouth sought hers again, kissing her so thoroughly that she didn’t notice where his other hand was headed until it slid down her gown to between her legs. But when he rubbed her mons veneris through the layers of fabric, and she instinctively arched into his hand, she knew she was in deep, deep trouble.

Belle: There is such a wonderful selection of terms for that part of the female anatomy – “womanly centre”; “succulent honeypot”; “pink pleasure cave” – why would anyone resort to such banal and pretentious language?

Webmistress Niki: I thought the language choices in the novel were excellent. The character of Anthony does think of Madeline’s vagina as a “honeypot” at one point, but Madeline is a naturalist, so it makes perfect sense that she would use the Latin terminology for body parts. And Anthony’s internal terminology for his own sex organs also makes sense, given that he was taught by his abusive aunt that all sexual feelings are sinful. Though I have to admit I found it way less sexy than Madeline’s language.

Claire: One thing that I thought was interesting about the sex scenes was that birth control was discussed and used. It’s an important aspect of sexuality that I don’t see very often in my reading, and I thought it was neat that Sabrina Jeffries did that! Except that there are way easier ways. Like setting your books in a future society where venereal diseases don’t exist anymore and implanted birth control devices can be controlled by thought waves! If she’d done something like that, she could have used the pages where she describes early condoms for another sex scene.

Webmistress Niki: I think that’s a good approach for a sci-fi romance, Claire, but maybe not for a Regency story. Honestly, I really liked all of the research that went into this book. Not only did Jeffries write about “French letters,” but she also did research on nitrous oxide, anti-masturbation pamphlets, and the existence of rhinos in menageries in 18th and 19th century England.

Belle: Yes, wasn’t that Outrageously Pretentious? I found that little note at the back that backgrounds the novel in the historical period and discusses some of her sources extremely vulgar. Claire and I research all of our novels extensively, and yet we never list the Wikipedia articles we use in our titles.

The only thing I had any liking for in this book was the plot.

Claire: Wasn’t it exciting? I loved all the little twists and turns! And so many dark secrets!

Belle: No amnesia, though.

Claire: Or carriage accidents, even. But scars!

Belle: Scars are all right, I suppose.

Webmistress Niki: And don’t forget, ladies, recreational drug use!

Claire: Oh, yes!

Belle: Well, yes, that was also mildly intriguing.

Webmistress Niki: Um… Anyway. Five stars!

Claire: And five Clars!

Belle: Two stars. I do hope we shan’t encounter such works again.

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