ARC Review: Mistakes Not to Make When Avoiding a Rake

Title: Mistakes Not to Make When Avoiding a Rake

Series: The Gardner Girls, Book 1

Author: Fenna Edgewood

Date Published: April 22nd 2021

Genre: Historical Romance


In the sleepy country village of Bedford, the promise of love can transform the most world-weary rake, and the power of passion can move a proud young woman to repent of even her most stubborn prejudices. A cynical rake... The arrival of Thomas Campbell and his elder brother has the village of Bedford abuzz with excitement. Not only is Thomas tall, dark, and handsome, he is also rumored to be a most notorious rake. Claire Gardner is young, innocent, and completely infuriating. Yet given an opportunity, Thomas can't help teaching the headstrong beauty a lesson in desire. A quiet life for a lady... Content with a simple rural life, Claire Gardner has no wish for a season in London, nor is she eager to wed. But after a catastrophic mistake compromises her honor, Claire finds herself ensnared in scandal. Claire is quite certain reformed rakes do not make the best husbands. She would rather face shame than lose her freedom to a man she is convinced does not love her. But as rumors swirl regarding her ruined reputation, the condemnation of her neighbors becomes more than she can bear. Tormented by a bitter betrayal, Thomas has steeled himself against ever loving again—but he harbors a secret which leaves him in need of a wife. Will the truth about the other woman in Thomas’s life destroy their marriage before it has even begun?



This story was full of romance, a picturesque setting, delightful characters and endless banter and arguments, all of which was beautifully put together to share the story of Claire and Thomas.

Claire was such a delightful character, so strong and stubborn but I loved that she wasn’t just another girl looking for husband as society dictates. She was content as she was... until an infuriating, complex and obstinate rakish man tumbles into her life. Thomas’s past was very intriguing, and I was constantly aching to find out more, and I loved that the story showed you that until you know and understand someone’s history you will never understand why people react the way that they do.

I adored both of the main characters and loved that they were both so stubborn. They took so long to understand what the other person was feeling or actually trying to say but this led to endlessly entertaining banter and awkward or intimate situations! They were the perfect match and whilst it took them a very long time to come to that conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about their journey.

We also had a whole host of interesting side characters that I couldn’t help but love. The author wove in all these characters wonderfully and I felt as though we got to know a good deal of them.

The setting was wonderful, and as it was fully set in the countryside it was a nice change of pace from time in London with the ton. The writing was excellent and set the historic setting perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was gripped the whole way through. There were swoon worth moments, heart-warming moment and moments I just wanted to through my kindle! The characters were infuriating but compelling and I couldn’t put the book down - I had to force myself to so I could sleep but I picked it up again as soon as I could the next day!

My only comment would be that I thought the ending was a bit abrupt and I would have liked to see a little more of their married life together however it did end well, and the epilogue was a great snippet – and definitely piqued my interest for the next story – and I am sure we’ll get to see more of them as side characters in the other Gardner women’s stories.

Overall, the writing was delightful, easy to read and set the historic atmosphere well. There was a great mix of romance with other subplots that all came together wonderfully. I loved watching this story unfold and I will definitely be reading more from this author! I can’t wait to read the next story.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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