Thursday, May 21, 2020

Rakes and Roses (Mayfield Family #3) by Josi S. Kilpack

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man's world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he's a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an alley.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she's so carefully built.

Do you want to know what I loved best about this book?  It felt different than other regency books.  The premise was unique and Lady Sabrina's life felt different but still believable within the genre.  I loved her independence and her desire to make a difference in the lives of others.  Her confidence and smarts had me singing a girl's anthem in my head.  But then, her vulnerabilities would shine through and remind me how very human she was.  I really loved Lady Sabrina.

I thought the author did a good job with Harry.  How do you take a legitimate rake and scoundrel and reform him in a way that's believable on both ends of a spectrum?  And in a way that I would end up liking him?  That's tricky, right?  Like I said, good job to the author there.  I think the relationship between Lady Sabrina and Harry progressed naturally and felt legitimate for the most part.

This story is steady but it is a bit slow.  There are no great fireworks, although the end has a little one, and the build up is gentle but I did enjoy it.  This book is part of a series but stands alone easily.

Content:  mild violence, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Josi S. Kilpack is the bestselling author of several Proper Romance and Proper Romance Historical series and a Cozy Culinary Mystery series. Her books, A Heart Revealed and Lord Fenton's Folly; were Publishers Weekly Best Romance Books of the Year. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children.

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