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Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake    by Laurie Brown order for
Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake
by Laurie Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Sourcebooks, 2007 (2007)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

When professional paranormal investigator Josie Drummond informs Lady Amelia Thornton that she's unable to certify her ancestral home as haunted, the elderly woman is crushed. Without proof that the ghost of her notorious relative Lord Deverell Thornton haunts the castle, she won't be able to attract the tourist revenue she needs to restore her home to its former glory. Deverell Thornton himself does not share Amelia's sense of impending doom. As the current resident ghost of Castle Waite, Deverell is even more determined than Amelia to preserve their heritage. Now that he's certain of Miss Drummond's honesty, as well as her tenacity as a paranormal investigator, he decides to reveal himself - and then proceeds to smoothly convince Josie to travel back in time with him to unmask the charlatans who swindled his mother out of a fortune in jewels.

Once Josie recovers from the shock of discovering that ghosts actually do exist - and that time travel is indeed possible, she readily agrees to Deverell's proposal. However, all the tutoring in the world doesn't prepare her for actually living the strictured life of a Regency Miss. Things become even more complex once she meets the flesh and blood version of Lord Deverell Thornton and finds herself falling under the accomplished rake's seductive spell. Will she be able to convince him that his mother is being taken advantage of before Josie must return to her own time - or before she and Dev's interference irrevocably changes history?

Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake is a fresh, engaging and thoroughly modern Regency romance. Brown's descriptions of the manners and mores of the era come alive in her narration and dialogue, as do her characterizations. Josie and Dev are both very appealing and believable leads: Josie is a self-sufficient and determined woman who doesn't hold back on expressing her modern views when needed, often to humorous effect. And Dev's character displays just the right balance of upper crust arrogance and vulnerability, especially once he finds himself losing his vaunted gentlemanly control and falling head over heels for Josie and her progressive ways. Equally humorous is Deverell's ghost becoming blindly jealous of his corporeal self once the latter begins romancing Josie. Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake blends Regency, contemporary and paranormal romance to a charming and very entertaining effect.

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