And The Miss Ran Away With The Rake - Elizabeth Boyle Huh. Well, I may have to just swear off historicals for a while because the last two or three have left me wanting . . . something more. Unfortunately, And The Miss Ran Away With The Rake didn't make me reconsider the first part of that statement and reinforced the latter.

This book is Ms. Boyle's take on the Hatfield-McCoy feud (in this case the Dale-Seldon feud) began solidly but as Henry's interfering family members became entangled in Henry and Daphne's story, I began to lose interest. I was particularly irritated at Henry's Aunt Zillah and his sister, Henrietta. After awhile their manipulations to keep Henry and Daphne apart lacked spontaneity and felt forced to add false tension.

In addition, the back blurb made it sound as if Henry discovers the true identity of "Miss Spooner" more quickly than he actually does. I really thought their epistolary identities should have been made known more quickly. Henry doesn't know for sure who his beloved "Miss Spooner" is until page 268 in a book of 353 pages. Daphne learns the identity of "Mr. Dishforth" on page 309. Well, technically the event which leads to her discovery occurs before then (page 285) but the reader isn't enlightened that Daphne knows until that point. I became quite frustrated with both, but more with Daphne, wondering who their secret lover really is.

Toward the end there was a bit of confusion for me as to logistics of Daphne's rescue and Daphne and Henry's marriage. How did Henry rescue Daphne from Crispin? Did he climb a rope to her bedroom, then they both climb down, get married, then climb back up to her room to await Crispin? Or did Henry climb up, followed by the vicar, Preston and Roxley, have a ceremony in her chamber, then all leave but for Henry and Daphne so that Crispin could find them? I've read that part three times and I still can't quite picture it.

Lastly, when I discovered what caused the feud between the Dales and the Seldons, I couldn't quite believe it. It seemed a silly, inconsequential, and inane reason to have caused such a bitter rift for that long.

And The Miss Ran Away With The Rake wasn't all bad. I genuinely liked Henry. He is the reason I give this book 3 stars instead of 1. He seemed a decent fellow who was intelligent and charming. Daphne was just all right for me. She had these annoying mannerisms like "pffft" and "harrumph" that seemed to be sprinkled a little too liberally.

I wish I could say I liked this book a lot, but there were too many problem areas for me. I kept putting it down and wrestling with whether this would be my first DNF in a very, very long time.