Monday, May 11, 2020

Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

Let’s begin with the summary:

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 ally.

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.

And now, my review:

I love regency romance, and Josi is one of my go-to authors for this genre. Unfortunately, this novel didn’t appeal to me. The hero is exceedingly unlikable. He’s in a very dark place in the first third of the book where we spend time watching him make foolish choices. Since I didn't detect any nobility once he's a grown man, I didn't keep reading.

The heroine has suffered a lot of losses but I couldn’t feel them with her. She doesn’t seem to grieve or care, so readers won’t feel emotions either, which is a disconnect most readers may not appreciate. It's possible, as this is the third book in a series, that reading the earlier books would have helped. I read Daisies and Devotion and enjoyed it. I don't recall the tie-ins, if there are any. 

I did like that she’s an independent, wealthy woman who didn’t need to scrape out a living alone. The heroine is likable in some ways, but I couldn’t quite connect with her. If either character changes later, I didn’t read far enough to see it. I also didn’t read far enough to find the romance, which, paired with my other concerns, probably influenced my choice to give up on this story.

Normally, I love Proper Romances, but this one was too cold, in my opinion. Still I wish the author and publisher all the best. I will check out Josi's future work. 

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