"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Y'all know I am a huge fan of romance novels. I definitely don't hide my love for these books and I just love the warm fuzzies I get from reading a happily ever after (hea) story. Sometimes, in addition to the hea warm fuzzies, I find a book that makes me think and that's always an unexpected treat. I got this experience just about a week ago when I picked up Twice a Rake by Catherine Gayle.

At first, Twice a Rake comes across as a well written but rather typical romance novel...a young society lady ends up getting pushed into a marriage with a young, good looking, but disreputable lord. They face challenges thrown at them by their own misadventures and they overcome them to achieve their happily ever after. But, Catherine Gayle takes this book so much farther than just a pleasant read by tackling two topics most people run from - abuse and infertility.

Quin, the hero of Twice a Rake, isn't just a rake because of being a spoiled young lord. Quin has been running from marriage because he's afraid of becoming his father. He's almost paralyzed by the memories of the abuse he and his mother suffered through.

Aurora, the heroine, is running from marriage because of her parents too. However, Aurora is terrified of ending up in a loveless marriage like her parents were. She remembers her mother's depression and sadness and the completely separate lives they led. Then, Aurora discovers that is wasn't a loveless marriage that caused her mother's suffering. Instead, she found out it was the agony of infertility, repeat pregnancy loss, and infant loss that paralyzed her mother and led to her parents' misery. At this point, Aurora is no longer running from a potentially loveless marriage but she's running because she's scared she won't be able to fill the role every young society lady is expected to fill - the role of mother to the heir.

While I was gratified to see a romance author tackle the effects abuse can have on someone, it was Ms. Gayle's handling of infertility that really made me think. Infertility is so hard to deal with in the modern era but the thought of having to deal with it in the 1800s when there were no answers, there were no treatments, an the woman was almost always blamed is daunting and terrifying. I simply can't imagine dealing with the losses and problems I went through without the support I found and that's what women in that era faced. I can easily imagine getting stuck in a cycle of depression like Aurora's mother did if I had gone through infertility in that era. It makes me very thankful that all the modern treatments and the online ALI (adoption, loss, and infertility) community were available to me when I was dealing with infertility.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Twice a Rake. Ms. Gayle created strong, appealing, and realistically flawed characters who many of us can identify with despite them living in such a different world and, she did so while dealing with two difficult topics with style and grace. If you're a romance fan, pick up a copy of Catherine Gayle's book. I think you'll love it. If you've never read a romance, this book would be a great way to start.

Do y'all have any books you would like to recommend to me?

* I received nothing to write this review. I simply wrote it because I loved the book.


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