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
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AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | DESERET BOOK | BOOK DEPOSITORY INDIEBOUND | AUDIBLE | GOODREADS
“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.
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BLOG TOUR BLURB
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.
RAKES AND ROSES BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE
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)