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

I have recently read two wonderful proper romances by this particular publisher and I was eager to read another. The cover is beautiful and I thought the premise sounded interesting.

I haven’t read the other books in the series but from what other reviewers had said, they could each be read as standalone books and I would agree. I didn’t feel lost or anything picking up the third book.

To say that I was looking forward to this one is an understatement, I love sweet or clean romances and have had a run of good luck lately.


 A standalone novel in the Mayfield Family series with an unusual premise and an uplifting ending.

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.


So this book started out promising for me. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of Harry or even Lady Sabrina for that matter but I thought that their circumstances provided an interesting catalyst for a romance later on in the novel. For me Lady Sabrina being in an abusive relationship was sad and when the book started out with her distressed about her husband’s treatment of her, I was worried I would never be able to relate to her.

But only a chapter or two later proved that her circumstance changed—as well as Harry. We find Harry six years after his initial meeting with Lady Sabrina and he is basically at rock bottom with both his drinking and gambling addiction. I thought the focus of the story was going to be more about Lady Sabrina and Harry falling in love but what I got was more a tale of addiction and redemption. The romance doesn’t really come about until the very end of the story and even then the chemistry between Harry and Lady Sabrina still feels lukewarm at best.

This story is very much a Christian story, I have absolutely no problem with that being a Catholic, but it might come unexpectedly to some people so I wanted to make sure readers knew that this novel definitely has a strong faith aspect to it.

I didn’t mind the redemption aspects of the story but I thought it was a stretch to include romance in this one. In my opinion the story didn’t really need the romantic element, Harry’s story would have been fine on it’s own. I simply didn’t feel any chemistry between Harry and Lady Sabrina and for much of the novel I felt that Harry had a lot of issues to sort through and he just didn’t seem like a suitable match for anyone let alone Lady Sabrina. But as the story goes on Harry does find redemption and love but again, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters enough to fully believe it and buy into their love.

I think this one would be better labeled as Christian fiction rather than Christian romance or clean romance in my opinion. If you enjoy stories about finding God’s grace and righting mistakes in life, then this will be a novel that you will enjoy quite a bit. I liked it but I didn’t love it in the way that I had hoped.

Book Info and Rating

E-copy, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Shadow Mountain (first published May 5th 2020)
ISBN 1629727350 (ISBN13: 9781629727356)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Shadow Mountain in partnership with Austen Prose blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Christian fiction, historical fiction




“Uplifting…Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack’s strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance.”—Publisher’s Weekly

“Kilpack takes traditional regency roles and challenges them. She shows how one person can make an impact in the world. I found the story and premise unique.”—Heather Gardner, Fire and Ice

“This is a story of redemption above all else…the ending was perfect.”— Lucinda Whitney, author of Rescuing the Prince


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.



Bestselling author Josi S. Kilpack tours the blogosphere May 4 through May 22, 2020 to share her third novel in the Mayfield Family series, Rakes and Roses. Forty popular book bloggers specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature guest blogs, interviews, exclusive excerpts, and book reviews of this acclaimed Regency romance. 


May 04           My Jane Austen Book Club (Guest Blog)

May 04           Historical Fiction with Spirit (Review)

May 04           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)

May 04           All About Romance (Guest Blog)

May 05           Timeless Novels (Review)

May 05           Literary Time Out (Review)

May 06           For Where Your Treasure Is (Review)

May 06           Courtney Reads Romance (Review)

May 07           Fire and Ice (Excerpt)

May 07           Gwendalyn’s Books (Review)

May 08           History Lizzie (Review)

May 08           Wishful Endings (Review)

May 09           Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)

May 09           Relz Reviewz (Character spotlight)

May 10           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)

May 10           Delighted Reader (Excerpt)

May 11           Frolic Media (Guest Blog)

May 11           A Bookish Way of Life (Review)

May 11           Bringing Up Books (Review)

May 12           Lu Reviews Books (Review)

May 13           English Historical Fiction Authors (Guest Blog)

May 13           Adventure. Romance. Suspense (Review)

May 14           Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals (Interview)

May 14           So Little Time…So Much to Read (Spotlight)

May 15           Storybook Reviews (Excerpt)

May 16           The Book Diva’s Reads (Review)

May 16           The Fiction Aficionado (Review)

May 17           Inkwell Inspirations (Spotlight)

May 17           Half Agony, Half Hope (Review)

May 18           Romance Junkies (Guest Blog)

May 18           Christian Chick’s Thoughts (Review)

May 18           The Lit Bitch (Review)

May 19           The Caffeinated Bibliophile (Interview)

May 19           Heidi Reads (Review)

May 19           Bookworm Lisa (Excerpt)

May 19           Laura’s Reviews (Review)

May 19           Katie’s Clean Book Collection (Review)

May 20           The Silver Petticoat Review (Excerpt)

May 20           Joy of Reading (Review)

May 20           Austenesque Reviews (Review)

May 21           The Calico Critic (Spotlight)

May 21           Getting Your Read On (Review)

May 21           From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)

May 22           Wishful Endings (Interview)

Charming comments go here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s