Hot Best Seller

Rakes and Roses

Availability: Ready to download

Author: Josi S. Kilpack

Published: May 5th 2020 by Shadow Mountain

Format: Paperback , 320 pages

Isbn: 9781629727356

Language: English


Compare

A Mayfield Family Romance 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 S A Mayfield Family Romance 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.

30 review for Rakes and Roses

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karena

    Nope. I can’t do the clean romances. There was zero chemistry here.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    Of all the three books in this series, this is my favorite so far. At the beginning of the story, we find Harry deep in gambling and drink. After he loses his winnings, he's desperate to get a chance to win some more. He owes a great deal of money to a ruthless lender. When his friend tells him of a different kind of lender, Lord Damion, Harry's not so sure. But, out of options, he realizes it's his only chance. Lord Damion is not a man. It's Lady Sabrina, whom we meet in the prologue. She has a Of all the three books in this series, this is my favorite so far. At the beginning of the story, we find Harry deep in gambling and drink. After he loses his winnings, he's desperate to get a chance to win some more. He owes a great deal of money to a ruthless lender. When his friend tells him of a different kind of lender, Lord Damion, Harry's not so sure. But, out of options, he realizes it's his only chance. Lord Damion is not a man. It's Lady Sabrina, whom we meet in the prologue. She has a terrible husband and is afraid of him but, when he dies suddenly, she becomes a free woman of large means. When Sabrina takes on Harry's debts, she doesn't plan to have any kind of interaction with him, but that all changes when she finds him in an alley after being severely beaten. She takes him in to care of him and this is when their interactions begin. Harry is at his lowest ever and things only get worse when Sabrina's housekeeper starts weaning him from alcohol. The dynamic between Harry and Sabrina is all backwards for the typical historical novel of this time period: she's older than him (by five years) and she's got the money, not to mention he's lodged i her home and dependent on her for his care. Their relationship is wildly unbalanced and hard to believe it'll come to a point when it's not so. This is a story of redemption above all else. Sabrina's growth has already happened, even though she does go through a transformation as well. But it's Harry who turns his life around completely. Through the kindness of Sabrina and her staff, he changes himself and comes to realize he doesn't want to be the alcoholic gambler he's been for so long. With this setup, the relationship between them moved slowly, as it should be, and the ending was perfect. One more thing: as pretty as the cover is, it doesn't go with the others in the series. I don't understand the reason for this. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    Rakes and rogues are not my favorite type of hero in the Regency genre, but this author did a wonderful job of exploring the redemption of a young man from a life of dissolution. The lifetime of choices Harry made in response to his harsh upbringing and negative experiences eventually brought him to rock bottom, where he was more than desperate to escape his debts and dangerous lenders. The second chance he receives might have been wasted, but Lady Sabrina rescues him in more ways than one. The Rakes and rogues are not my favorite type of hero in the Regency genre, but this author did a wonderful job of exploring the redemption of a young man from a life of dissolution. The lifetime of choices Harry made in response to his harsh upbringing and negative experiences eventually brought him to rock bottom, where he was more than desperate to escape his debts and dangerous lenders. The second chance he receives might have been wasted, but Lady Sabrina rescues him in more ways than one. The transformation of Harry was the most fascinating part of the book for me, and even though I wasn't really feeling the romantic chemistry, I loved his friendship with Sabrina and her housekeeper Therese. I think because Harry was in such an early state of transformation, it was hard for me to trust him and his feelings of attraction. Maybe a longer timeline on the latter side of his sobriety would have helped me, but I think the pacing of the plot was right with respect to the intrigue of Sabrina's secret and Lord Damion's involvement. I thought the ending was done rather well and appreciated how Harry's character came full circle. This is the third book in the series but can easily be read on its own or out of order. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    Two characters, both trying to break free from the past and searching for redemption for themselves and others. Full of raw vulnerability, sorrow, heartache, loneliness, loss, self-awareness, friendship, family (sometimes not biological), healing, failing, mistakes, forgiveness, acceptance, self love, understanding, love and redemption. I have been reading this series from the publication of the first book. And since then Harry Stillman is one character I have been most anxious to read about. Wit Two characters, both trying to break free from the past and searching for redemption for themselves and others. Full of raw vulnerability, sorrow, heartache, loneliness, loss, self-awareness, friendship, family (sometimes not biological), healing, failing, mistakes, forgiveness, acceptance, self love, understanding, love and redemption. I have been reading this series from the publication of the first book. And since then Harry Stillman is one character I have been most anxious to read about. With questions of why and what brought him to become the rake that he is. And questions of what sort of redemption will he find, if any, since he has spurned any chance at it thus far. Sometimes though, a person has to reach the absolute bottom before they can see there is hope. They have to find the ability to trust, not only someone who could redeem them, but most importantly, themselves. Oh, this book! It was wonderful! There are definitely some harder topics and issues that Lady Sabrina and Harry have faced and will face but the way the author addressed them was well done. I appreciated how the characters had their struggles and watching how they handled them. Lady Sabrina was all grace and dignity. Harry was prideful and believing that he could fix everything on his own. Their initial meeting is several years before the main story takes place. But it is a meeting that made an impact upon both characters. It was a turning point in both of their lives. I really don't want to spoil anything for you as this story is one best read and allowed to develop and unfolded as the author has written it. The romance and love story is a slow growing one but perfect for these two scarred and broken characters. The slow coming to know and understand themselves as well as the other wove together their story perfectly. Lady Sabrina's staff and servants were some of my favorite characters as well. I hope when you read the book, you'll take note of them and come to enjoy them as much as I did. Every book needs great main characters but I always feel that the secondary characters can be just as important at creating and developing the story. And that is very true in this book! There were many quotes that I enjoyed throughout the book and wish I could share with you but I'll share two that I liked from Harry with you... "Harry did not need to think about if he had ever been happy. He'd always felt the need to do something, go somewhere, get away, feel this pleasure, best this man, prevail in this situation or that one. Perhaps you could not be happy if you only ever wanted something different than what you had. Perhaps being happy with what you had was the first step." "It was perhaps the first time he understood that sacrifice was giving up something good and immediate for something better and longterm." I loved this book and the theme, the friendship and sweet love story within. If you're a Josi Kilpack fan, then you're in for a treat! If you haven't yet had the pleasure I highly recommend you pick on of her books and enjoy! Content: Clean. This book is under the proper romance line and is clean but there are some topics that might be a little harder for some readers. They are not graphic and gone into a lot of detail but they are part of these characters' lives. I feel that the author did a great job writing them into this story. There is talk of physical abuse, loss of a child, gambling, drinking, a character coming clean from alcoholism, some mention of a character having affairs but not in detail. I received a copy from the author. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    In a time when gender roles were very strict, a businesswoman and a man who enjoyed knitting found their way to each other. Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family Series but can be read as a standalone. It is a clean, romantic and uplifting historical romance set in England, in the early 1800s. This is my first book by this author, and I enjoyed her rich and articulated writing style. Lady Sabrina, an affluent widow, knew Mr. Harry Stilman from a brief encounter they had several In a time when gender roles were very strict, a businesswoman and a man who enjoyed knitting found their way to each other. Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family Series but can be read as a standalone. It is a clean, romantic and uplifting historical romance set in England, in the early 1800s. This is my first book by this author, and I enjoyed her rich and articulated writing style. Lady Sabrina, an affluent widow, knew Mr. Harry Stilman from a brief encounter they had several years before. She would have forgotten him but for the fact that he was kind when she needed it most. Suddenly, their situations were reversed. Harry was wounded and left to die in the gutter, and Sabrina was his only chance of surviving. While the romance builds, the author explores complex themes like domestic abuse, alcohol addiction, gambling, loss, and the role of women in society. All is done positively, focusing on the ability to overcome traumas and redeem vices with dedication and a little help of faith and friends. Harry was a rake, but more by circumstance than disposition. He was sweet, loyal, and determined once he chose his path. Sabrina was kind and strong but had built a thick wall around her heart after her terrible first marriage. Despite being a clean romance, the author managed to convey the deep connection and sensual tension between the couple. There are some adorable side characters, in special the housekeeper Therese and Sabrina's loyal solicitor, Mr. Gordon. I thought they would make a lovely couple themselves. If you like an uplifting story with a sweet yet flawed hero and a strong and independent heroine, this book is for you. Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)

    ***4.5 stars*** I love the premise of this series. A wealthy elderly uncle, who never married and is without an heir, decides to bestow an inheritance to his family on the condition that they marry. He doesn't want them to live as he did. Alone. This story is about Harry. He has many vices. He's a rake, and alcoholic, and a gambler. He is indebted to a very horrible man and his uncle has cut him off. He has no way to fulfill his obligations until Lord Damion finds worth in him and loans him the mo ***4.5 stars*** I love the premise of this series. A wealthy elderly uncle, who never married and is without an heir, decides to bestow an inheritance to his family on the condition that they marry. He doesn't want them to live as he did. Alone. This story is about Harry. He has many vices. He's a rake, and alcoholic, and a gambler. He is indebted to a very horrible man and his uncle has cut him off. He has no way to fulfill his obligations until Lord Damion finds worth in him and loans him the money on condition that he reform his life and repay the debt. I loved the characters in the book. Harry seems at first to be unredeemable until he discovers his own worth and decides to be a better person. His personality is fun and he is full of mischief. I enjoyed the teasing between him and Sabrina. He pulls her out of her lonely life and helps her rediscover happiness. She has also lived a difficult life and seeks to see her worth as a person and friend. Rakes and Roses was a fun book to read. I look forward to any book that comes out by Josi Kilpack. I hope that there is another Mayfield book to look forward to. Source: I received a complimentary copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Having been a teen reader of conservative & Christian romances, I really wish that this was the kind of thing being published back then. Rakes and Roses is a slow-burn, historical romance that keeps things pretty PG, but features a strong and capable heroine, a hero hitting rock bottom before changing his life, small references to faith that never get preachy, and an ending that I found to be truly romantic. I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but despite a couple small bumps, this was a very pl Having been a teen reader of conservative & Christian romances, I really wish that this was the kind of thing being published back then. Rakes and Roses is a slow-burn, historical romance that keeps things pretty PG, but features a strong and capable heroine, a hero hitting rock bottom before changing his life, small references to faith that never get preachy, and an ending that I found to be truly romantic. I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but despite a couple small bumps, this was a very pleasant surprise. It flips traditional gender dynamics in a way that I found immensely satisfying and allowed for a beautiful romance to blossom. For readers who enjoy character-driven romance with plenty of plot, this is one worth trying. Lady Sabrina is a widow who survived an abusive marriage and devastating miscarriage. She is lucky enough to now have independence and her intelligence has allowed her to be very successful in business, but recognizing her privilege she works to give back to those who are oppressed by societal structures. Harry Stillman is handsome and charming, but has fallen into a dark hole of alcoholism and gambling debts to dangerous men. A mysterious nobleman offers him a way out, but a brutal beating from a loan shark leaves him incapacitated. Sabrina finds him and brings him to her country estate to be cared for and heal, not only from his physical injuries, but from his addiction as well. I loved the way this story developed. We see the reality of Harry being forced to dry out from alcohol and the ups and downs of his journey toward healing. Sabrina is fierce and loudly stands up for what is right. I loved her as a heroine. The actual romance doesn't start developing until about halfway into the book, so it might be a little quick for some. However, it ended up working for me and I was swooning at some of the dialogue where Harry wants Sabrina for who she is, as a friend and partner. It was sweet and lovely with Sabrina holding the power in terms of wealth, experience, and even age as she is five years older. This undermines traditional gender roles in best possible way, even to the extent of Harry taking up knitting which is super adorable. They also do a good job of making Harry prove that he has truly changed over several months. Overall, this was a great read. One thing I didn't love is early in the book there are a couple of places where characters mock "foppish" men who are more effeminate in dress and behavior. While it perhaps wasn't intended this way, these lines read as homophobic or transphobic and probably should have been removed in editing. However, this is a very small part of the overall plot and I don't have a problem recommending it to those who would be interested. I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own. CW for domestic violence, miscarriage due to domestic violence, depictions of anxiety and PTSD, alcoholism, addiction, gambling, physical violence, mildly homophobic/transphobic jokes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aimee (Getting Your Read On)

    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 goo 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie W

    Unique and refreshing Regency I can always count on Josi Kilpack to deliver a sweet Regency story that steps outside of the typical formula. In this offering, she tackles a rakish gambling drunk who finds himself well below rock bottom. Fortunately for him, he had a very brief encounter with Lady Sabrina in the past and she can't forget the kindness shown her and is ready to return the favor. I found a deep level of pride for Sabrina and her stalwart character and integrity, which caused me to f Unique and refreshing Regency I can always count on Josi Kilpack to deliver a sweet Regency story that steps outside of the typical formula. In this offering, she tackles a rakish gambling drunk who finds himself well below rock bottom. Fortunately for him, he had a very brief encounter with Lady Sabrina in the past and she can't forget the kindness shown her and is ready to return the favor. I found a deep level of pride for Sabrina and her stalwart character and integrity, which caused me to feel a realistic camaraderie with her. Harry is the type of guy who is easy to hate, but knowing the background to his demise made me feel sympathetic towards him and it was more than easy to root for the best outcome possible for these characters. I loved the way this author crafts this story, bringing this family to life in a way that makes me feel like an honorary family member. I love the gentleness and sweetness, along with the authentic historical feel. This isn't your typical Regency and I appreciated the breath of fresh air so much! Content: very mild romance; mild moments of drinking, gambling, violence *I received a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Yara

    Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family series by Josi S. Kilpack. This book, like the previous books, is part of the proper romance genre - which means it's clean when it comes to sexual content. Additionally, these novels might have Christian content thought they vary wildly as to how overt the Christian content might be - sometimes, you might not even notice it. Having read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them very much, I was looking forward to this book. Unfor Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family series by Josi S. Kilpack. This book, like the previous books, is part of the proper romance genre - which means it's clean when it comes to sexual content. Additionally, these novels might have Christian content thought they vary wildly as to how overt the Christian content might be - sometimes, you might not even notice it. Having read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them very much, I was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, this book was not a good addition to this series. There was no chemistry between the two main characters which means romance was absent in a romantic novel. Additionally, unlike on the previous two books the Christian messaging was obvious and unmistakable. For those who are not religious it might be uncomfortable. The Highlights For a proper romance, I thought the premise of the story was intriguing and a change from the typical plots we see in this genre. You get a lot of "House Parties" in this genre for some reason. The story follows Harold "Harry" Stillman, a degenerate gambler and drunk who hits rock bottom and Lady Sabrina, the bastard daughter of a duke. She survived an abusive marriage and now dedicates herself to helping others. Lady Sabrina has a savior complex and has decided to focus this on saving young men who find themselves down on their luck because of their poor life choices. Posing as the moneylender, Lord Damion, Sabrina seeks to help young men by getting them out of the financial trouble, and as payment, they must mend their ways and leave their vices behind, or else they lose everything they have. Interesting, right? And it was for the first quarter of the book. It depicted this storyline in a very tame and clean way, but it had potential. I will give credit for writing a somewhat credible, if not supremely sanitized, depiction of having to go through withdrawals from alcohol abuse. At least the author made an attempt at creating a realistic scenario. The Lowlights So while the premise of this book was intriguing and different from the usual fare, it's execution wasn't as strong as it needed to be to carry this story to the depths it had the possibility of achieving. It ended up feeling a bit shallow, early on in the story we see how low Harry's vices have brought him and we see him battling his alcoholism, and yet it still felt very superficial. Sabrina's past with a violent marriage also felt unexplored and frankly, it felt like a device to give her vulnerability rather than being part of her character growth. Additionally, unlike the two previous books, the Christian message in this story was loud and clear. Harry basically had to "find Jesus" to help him battle his vices and addictions. They were even bible verses included. Now, I'm not religious, but I'm not opposed to having religious content as part of the story if it's done in an organic way and not just be a just a tool. For example, before Harry seeks the help of Lord Damien and feels like the world is caving in on him, why not have him try to pray as a last resort, asking God for his help even though he doesn't deserve it. Then, when he gets help in the form of Lord Damien, he can reconnect with God because he believes that God sent him Lord Damien to him as he had prayed for when he was down on his luck. What we got, however, felt to me like it was included because it was a requirement. It felt preachy, which I really disliked. I don't want to read proselytizing in my romance novels. The chemistry between the two characters was non-existing. I'm not exaggerating, I felt nothing for them as a couple, and I kept on waiting for the romance to start, but it never did. Sabrina feels an attraction to Harry almost from the beginning, but it's not a very strong attraction, and Harry doesn't start seeing Sabrina as a love interest until 2/3 of the way through the book. No romantic tension, no chemistry, no real build-up. Finally, it's a small annoyance, but I wish they had not changed the style of the covers. I liked the cover art style of the first two books; it was unique. This cover looks like every other proper romance cover out there. Conclusion This book was a huge disappointment for me, I've been waiting since last year for the continuation of this series, and it was sadly a letdown. I don’t think I'll continue reading this series. For those who like proper romances I recommend the first two books, but don't go any further. The second book “Daisies and Desire” is my favorite of the first two books. Audible Note Justine Eyre narrated the audiobook. I've listened to many books narrated by JE, and I like the way she narrates and her ability to create distinctive voices for each character.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    This novel is absolutely fantastic! The characters are so well done. The author does an amazing job of showing what a pathetic loser Harry starts out as with all his heartbreaking addictions. The process of watching him overcome is so inspiring. And I love how Sabrina helps him with just the right ratio of tough love and compassion. Their conversation about changing and becoming better is worth 5 stars to me all by itself. The pacing is brilliant. I was a little worried how this wonderfully capab This novel is absolutely fantastic! The characters are so well done. The author does an amazing job of showing what a pathetic loser Harry starts out as with all his heartbreaking addictions. The process of watching him overcome is so inspiring. And I love how Sabrina helps him with just the right ratio of tough love and compassion. Their conversation about changing and becoming better is worth 5 stars to me all by itself. The pacing is brilliant. I was a little worried how this wonderfully capable woman was going to fall in love with someone so pathetic, especially after having to watch him at his absolute worst. But I found it believable and sweet and felt like they complemented each other well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family book series, and it opens up six years earlier when Lady Sabrina is the recipient of Harry’s kindness when she needs it. At the time, Lady Sabrina is married to a man, Richard whose anger gets the best of him, and she is concerned about the unborn child she bears, and it is then that Harry comes upon her and offers to help her in any way he can. Fast forward six years later, Sabrina’s husband Richard is dead, she has miscarried their child, Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family book series, and it opens up six years earlier when Lady Sabrina is the recipient of Harry’s kindness when she needs it. At the time, Lady Sabrina is married to a man, Richard whose anger gets the best of him, and she is concerned about the unborn child she bears, and it is then that Harry comes upon her and offers to help her in any way he can. Fast forward six years later, Sabrina’s husband Richard is dead, she has miscarried their child, but she has the respect and honor that she didn’t have being an illegitimate daughter of nobility. She has worked very hard to earn the respect that she wasn’t given to her by her father or husband. Harry Stillman is a handsome and charming young man, but his enormous debt has finally caught up with him. Malcolm is after that money that Harry owes him. He is finally at his bottom, he’s tried asking his Uncle Elliot, but his uncle won’t help him anymore. Sabrina has created a wonderful life for herself using the wealth of her husband, she is well looked upon by society. Nathan her half-brother who treats her with love and respect has afforded her an ability to act as his hostess until he marries. This has allowed her to become the woman that she always wanted to be and she tells herself that she doesn’t need another man to be happy. But truth be told she isn’t happy, she won’t allow herself to feel the loneliness or the emptiness that she feels . In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I Iiked either Sabrina or Harry. Sabrina seemed closed off to me, and Harry was only concerned about more money, gambling and women. He was selfish in his needs. He finally reached out to Lord Damion who is known as a lender to those in dire straits for men like himself. Circumstances bring Harry to Rose Haven, Sabrina’s home outside of London where he is tended to by Theresa her housekeeper, who has knowledge of healing arts that Harry is in great need of. It is during this time that Sabrina reveals more of herself as does Harry through their chess games together. It during this time that they learn they are able to be themselves with each other. I enjoyed Rakes and Roses. As I got to know Harry he showed a side of him that had me hoping that Sabrina would accept him, despite his younger age and that he wouldn’t reject Sabrina like the men before him had in the past. My gratitude to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for a copy of this ARC. Opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Martin

    I struggled through this one. I found myself not really liking Harry. He whines and literally cries a lot in the beginning. Sabrina overcame an abusive marriage but I don’t feel like the author really explored the emotional side of that much. This book felt really long but felt like it lacked depth all at the same time. I did receive a free copy to review this book, so this is my honest opinion.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Rakes and Roses is different from the other Proper Romances I've read in that it's less a romance than a redemption story. There's nothing wrong with that; it just wasn't quite what I expected. Still, I enjoyed the story so much that I didn't really mind the understated romance (mostly ...). Sabrina was such an intriguing character. I loved the way she used her wealth to help others. Though I normally don't like rakes, I did enjoy Harry's transformation. I also loved his uncle Elliott, whose stor Rakes and Roses is different from the other Proper Romances I've read in that it's less a romance than a redemption story. There's nothing wrong with that; it just wasn't quite what I expected. Still, I enjoyed the story so much that I didn't really mind the understated romance (mostly ...). Sabrina was such an intriguing character. I loved the way she used her wealth to help others. Though I normally don't like rakes, I did enjoy Harry's transformation. I also loved his uncle Elliott, whose story is told in the first book in the series. (Each novel stands alone; I haven't read the others, but now I want to!) While I very much enjoyed the story, the romance was just slightly lacking for me. I understood that Harry and Sabrina were falling for each other, but I didn't feel it. However, I did appreciate the way their story resolved, avoiding petty misunderstandings; instead, they talked about things like real adults! Overall, I really enjoyed reading Rakes and Roses. While it's my first Josi Kilpack novel, it won't be my last. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I have been looking forward to the next in this series for a year, and was incredibly disappointed to see the change in cover design. Fans like to have their covers stay in sync, but I do understand the reasons behind the decision to discard the style. An interesting approach to both the main characters, leave us with a unique storyline and plot - that I have not come across before in this genre. Sadly, I had difficulty connecting to the story and it wasn’t until 80% in that the pace picked up. I have been looking forward to the next in this series for a year, and was incredibly disappointed to see the change in cover design. Fans like to have their covers stay in sync, but I do understand the reasons behind the decision to discard the style. An interesting approach to both the main characters, leave us with a unique storyline and plot - that I have not come across before in this genre. Sadly, I had difficulty connecting to the story and it wasn’t until 80% in that the pace picked up. That’s a big chunk of book to get a reader through. Ultimately it came together really well, and I enjoyed the resolution which was neither predictable or trite. Thanks to Netgalley for the eARC. This is my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rachelle

    Josi Kilpack has created a wonderful family during the regency period that I just can’t get enough of so I was happy to find another story in the Mayfield Family Romance series. This novel deals with a main character who is a survivor of an abusive marriage and the reader will love seeing how strong and smart she has become despite her trials. Lady Sabrina defies many of the social customs to help others and change her own life. Harry Stillman is a rake, but he’s quite a charming rake. I loved rea Josi Kilpack has created a wonderful family during the regency period that I just can’t get enough of so I was happy to find another story in the Mayfield Family Romance series. This novel deals with a main character who is a survivor of an abusive marriage and the reader will love seeing how strong and smart she has become despite her trials. Lady Sabrina defies many of the social customs to help others and change her own life. Harry Stillman is a rake, but he’s quite a charming rake. I loved reading his story of change and looking into his heart. The courtship in this story is unconventional and unexpected and I loved it! You won’t want to miss this Proper Romance and I definitely can’t wait to read another Mayfield Family Romance!

  17. 4 out of 5

    The Flipped Page (Susan K)

    Romance, clean; Period; series, but stand alone read I think this is my favorite of all of this series. I know some readers may fault Harry's strength as a character, but I loved it! I loved how he was brought to his knees, how Lord Damion plays a part, and Lady Sabrina. Loved all the staff, the mystery surrounding Lord Damion and Harry's creditors. Saving Harry, Harry's recovery, and his rebirth as a new 'man', able to overcome his weaknesses, the person responsible for betraying him, so many tw Romance, clean; Period; series, but stand alone read I think this is my favorite of all of this series. I know some readers may fault Harry's strength as a character, but I loved it! I loved how he was brought to his knees, how Lord Damion plays a part, and Lady Sabrina. Loved all the staff, the mystery surrounding Lord Damion and Harry's creditors. Saving Harry, Harry's recovery, and his rebirth as a new 'man', able to overcome his weaknesses, the person responsible for betraying him, so many twists and turns, but Lady Sabrina's tough love, kind care, and her growing feelings for this reborn man who softens her heart towards gentleman again (does she need a man?) as he values her for her and for herself, without guile, repairing her hurt heart and helping her 'live' again without fear, reprisals, and with hope for a future that isn't alone was a lovely read. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley for a fair and honest review. My opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    This story is unique and filled with dynamic characters that are sure to not only charm you but have you in their corner cheering them on. A story that flips convention on its head by the heroine coming to the rescue of the hero. Lady Sabrina has known her fair share of the hard knocks of life, yet she continues to rise above her circumstances and make something out of her life. She has learned the hard way that she can not depend on a man to provide for her. Lady Sabrina has a big heart and want This story is unique and filled with dynamic characters that are sure to not only charm you but have you in their corner cheering them on. A story that flips convention on its head by the heroine coming to the rescue of the hero. Lady Sabrina has known her fair share of the hard knocks of life, yet she continues to rise above her circumstances and make something out of her life. She has learned the hard way that she can not depend on a man to provide for her. Lady Sabrina has a big heart and wants to make a difference in the world around her, and as unlikely and uncommon as it may be, she found a way to do just that. I have to admit that I was irritated with Harry on more than one occasion. He has a hard head, he is not one that learns his lesson the first time or often third time for that matter. Of course if a character gets under your skin enough to upset you, then you know the author has done a great job in making that character real! There were a few chapters in my humble opinion seemed to be bogged down with information dumping. A few things that could have been cut out that would have tightened the story and the reader not miss anything. Keeping in mind that the copy I read was the ARC (advanced reader copy) and those things could be changed in the finial version. With that said, as a whole I did enjoy the story! (I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including Netgalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Toni Shiloh

    I’ve enjoyed each of the Mayfield Family books and Rakes and Roses was no exception. Since book 1, I’ve wondered about the story of Harry Stillman. I wondered what kind of life he was living and when the story starts, we get a glimpse of a kind man in the prologue. However, when chapter one starts, we see how far Harry has fallen. But I so love a redeemable character and Harry definitely is one. Add in Lady Sabrina’s past and her current endeavors and you have a page turner folks. I thoroughly enjo I’ve enjoyed each of the Mayfield Family books and Rakes and Roses was no exception. Since book 1, I’ve wondered about the story of Harry Stillman. I wondered what kind of life he was living and when the story starts, we get a glimpse of a kind man in the prologue. However, when chapter one starts, we see how far Harry has fallen. But I so love a redeemable character and Harry definitely is one. Add in Lady Sabrina’s past and her current endeavors and you have a page turner folks. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and I eagerly await the next book Ms. Kilpack writes. Another Proper Romance for the shelf. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley. My review was not required nor influenced.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Debby

    This is a first time read by author Josi S. Kilpack. Rakes and Roses started off a bit slow in the beginning but picked up tempo further along in the book. As this is an ARC, I thought the plot and written intent was well done. I thought the main characters Sabrina and Harry have had their fair share of disappointments and truely strived to make good of the mishaps that have come their way. When Harry is injured and ends up in his benefactor's house to heal, made for an interesting coup of how Sa This is a first time read by author Josi S. Kilpack. Rakes and Roses started off a bit slow in the beginning but picked up tempo further along in the book. As this is an ARC, I thought the plot and written intent was well done. I thought the main characters Sabrina and Harry have had their fair share of disappointments and truely strived to make good of the mishaps that have come their way. When Harry is injured and ends up in his benefactor's house to heal, made for an interesting coup of how Sabrina would try to work around not leading him to believe that she is his true saviour. Each on opposites ends of attraction, I loved how they came together to find true love in a Society that shuns illegitimates and financially ruined rakes. I also loved Sabrina's independent spirit and standing on her own as a business woman. A delightful story that ends in a very nice HEA. Thank you to the author and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this ARC and my fair and honest review. All opinions in the review are my own. 4-Stars

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rosanne Lortz

    Harry Stillman fell into the wrong crowd when he first came to London, and years of dice and drink have made him a slave to his appetites. Dun territory is a terrifying place, however, when your creditor is only too happy to break both your kneecaps. Harry is on the brink of selling his family estate to pay his debts when he gets an offer from the mysterious Lord Damion to buy up the loan if Harry can promise to mend his ways. But the thug who is Harry's chief creditor isn't willing to let his p Harry Stillman fell into the wrong crowd when he first came to London, and years of dice and drink have made him a slave to his appetites. Dun territory is a terrifying place, however, when your creditor is only too happy to break both your kneecaps. Harry is on the brink of selling his family estate to pay his debts when he gets an offer from the mysterious Lord Damion to buy up the loan if Harry can promise to mend his ways. But the thug who is Harry's chief creditor isn't willing to let his prey go so easily.... Born on the wrong side of the blanket, Lady Sabrina has always been on the fringes of society. After the death of her abusive husband, she finally receives control of her own life. Determined to use her fortune for good, she uses solicitors and go-betweens to involve herself in a financial world that is usually reserved for men. When Sabrina discovers Harry Stillman, bludgeoned and bleeding in an alley, she takes him into her home and begins the project of nursing him back to health and sobriety. Five years her junior and an incorrigible flirt, he is not at all the sort of man for whom she would dream of giving up her independence, but no matter how many projects she pours herself into, Sabrina can't get Harry Stillman out of her head or her heart. This book shows the romance of an unlikely couple, a woman of means who knows what she wants in the world and a young man who has had all the advantages in life yet has done nothing but squander them. Although Harry has a sweet nature, he is totally unable on his own power, to overcome his vices.  At the beginning of his convalescence, Sabrina must play the tyrant, enforcing Harry's sobriety despite his machinations to obtain brandy by any means possible. The stark picture of Harry's dependence on alcohol is unusual for a romance but well portrayed. In his crippled state, Harry is passive for the majority of the book. Like Sabrina, I struggled to understand how there could be any compatibility between the two of them. The fact that Harry's face broke into a brilliant smile whenever he saw her and the fact that he looked quite handsome in his nightshirt wasn't quite enough to certify dependable husband material. The author does an excellent job developing the trajectory of the relationship, however, and the proving point comes at the end when Harry goes to face the thug who injured him in the first place. With remarkable aplomb, Harry demonstrates both ingenuity and insight, deftly handling a situation that could have turned ugly for both him and Sabrina. Harry's final proposal--that Sabrina allow him to show himself a changed man before they marry--further demonstrates his growth, and I can say that I found myself won over just as Lady Sabrina was by this unusual romance. Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kenneth - PerfectionistWannabe.com

    Wow. I really loved this one. I love the Mayfield Family series. This one is unlike the others. It is a little darker as far as character goes. There's violence, domestic abuse, a miscarriage, and some seedier workings. Harry Stillman is a drunkard and a gambler. He's lost everything. He is literally sitting in human waste on the streets of London with not a penny to his name, thrown out of a gambling hall, knowing that he is ruined. Malcolm, the moneylender, will have his hide. Harry can't turn t Wow. I really loved this one. I love the Mayfield Family series. This one is unlike the others. It is a little darker as far as character goes. There's violence, domestic abuse, a miscarriage, and some seedier workings. Harry Stillman is a drunkard and a gambler. He's lost everything. He is literally sitting in human waste on the streets of London with not a penny to his name, thrown out of a gambling hall, knowing that he is ruined. Malcolm, the moneylender, will have his hide. Harry can't turn to Uncle Elliott again. Harry's friend, Ward, discovers there is a person called Lord Damion that can help him by offering a loan to cover all of his debts, so long as he decides to forever change his ways and work towards becoming a better man. Harry has no choice but to give up his vices and seek assistance from someone that will help him turn a new leaf. Lord Damion agrees to take him on and help him. But after his meeting with Lord Damion, Malcolm's men catch up to him and beat him senseless, breaking his leg and cracking a few ribs. Lady Sabrina happens to stumble upon him in an alley and decides to bring him to her home in Wimbledon where her servant (who trained as a doctor) can assist him. Unbeknownst to him, Lady Sabrina is actually Lord Damion. While under her household, Harry begins to turn a new leaf. His self awakening was beautiful to watch. He discovers himself and is eager to learn what he can do to manage his estate better. Lady Sabrina, who is well versed in handling investments, offers advice and helps Harry understand the world outside of gambling halls and pubs. But of course, this is a romance, so it is inevitable that these two could fall in love... I loved this story, not so much for the love story, but for Harry's rise from the gutter to becoming a better man. And for Lady Sabrina, I loved that she was strong and independent. She did not need a man to help her. She could only see how it could hinder her. It takes a lot to learn that maybe there is a good guy out there that is worth giving a chance. As always, Josi has life lessons in her books that make my head whirl because it always hits me right in my very soul. I always learn a lot from her. Her books are like chicken soup for my soul. Excellent book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Oh how I love this series about the Mayfield Family. I was especially looking forward to Harry Stillman's story because he's such a mess--he's in a lot of debt due to his gambling, he's become an alcoholic and he's a rake. Needless to say, he's not thrilled with his uncle's "marriage campaign" which requires him to find a wife in order to receive his inheritance. Harry has borrowed money from a very horrible man (think Regency loan shark) in order to pay his debts because his uncle has cut him o Oh how I love this series about the Mayfield Family. I was especially looking forward to Harry Stillman's story because he's such a mess--he's in a lot of debt due to his gambling, he's become an alcoholic and he's a rake. Needless to say, he's not thrilled with his uncle's "marriage campaign" which requires him to find a wife in order to receive his inheritance. Harry has borrowed money from a very horrible man (think Regency loan shark) in order to pay his debts because his uncle has cut him off financially--a little tough love hoping it would prompt Harry to change his ways. With no way to pay off the debt Harry hits rock bottom. Lady Sabrina lives a life of solitude of her own making. She prefers it that way since the death of her abusive husband, and I don't blame her after all she suffered at his hands. She acts as hostess for her unmarried brother during the season and tends to the multitude of roses in the garden of her home. When she comes upon a severely beaten man (Harry) she brings him to her secluded home to have his injuries tended to. I loved this unusual love story. Harry is grateful to have been rescued and have been tended to, but he's not prepared for Sabrina's strict rules, and he thinks he can charm her to get what he wants, like he's done so many times with other women. Those other women weren't Sabrina and she's not budging. As Harry recuperates and they start playing chess together after dinner, Harry manages to discover things about Sabrina and she in turn helps Harry discover and face truths about himself. Harry was an easy character to dislike at first. He gambled and wouldn't stop even when he was ahead, he drank a lot which clouded his judgement (and not just about gambling), and he acted so ungrateful towards Sabrina when she wouldn't let him have more than a glass of sherry at night. I loved that Sabrina stood her ground. I loved how Josi Kilpack got these two characters together and how they each discovered things about themselves. Harry had to face painful things from his past that had lead to his self-destructive behavior, and Sabrina had to learn to risk opening her heart again. Harry's story isn't just about finding love, it's also a story of redemption. I also loved Sabrina's staff and how they were part of her family. This is part of the Mayfield Family series but I feel each one works as a standalone. Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for my complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    Review excerpted from by blog post over at FanSciHist (https://fanscihist.wordpress.com/2020...) My Rating: 3.5 stars Library recommendation: Recommended for public library historical romance collections. Warning: Hereafter, you chance spoilers. I will try never to reveal major plot points, but to review any book, you must reveal some parts of the story. ________________ Number of titles I have read by this author: 1 Love story speed: Slow burn Relationship dynamics: The Wastrel Rake (H) / The Charita Review excerpted from by blog post over at FanSciHist (https://fanscihist.wordpress.com/2020...) My Rating: 3.5 stars Library recommendation: Recommended for public library historical romance collections. Warning: Hereafter, you chance spoilers. I will try never to reveal major plot points, but to review any book, you must reveal some parts of the story. ________________ Number of titles I have read by this author: 1 Love story speed: Slow burn Relationship dynamics: The Wastrel Rake (H) / The Charitable Widow (h) Sexual content: None. Kissing only. Triggers: Spousal abuse (of h, not by H); recounted late miscarriage (h); severe gambling addiction (H); alcohol dependence (H); physical brutality (not by H or h); descriptions of drying out and the DTs. Grammar/Editing: My ARC had a lot of formatting issues (run together paragraphs, etc.), some word choice issues, verb tense issues, etc. The family pedigree at the beginning of the book is particularly affected by formatting issues. Review: This quick-paced novel is set in the late Georgian period, which is not explicitly stated, but inferred from the family pedigree and from details given throughout the book. The first half of this book is essentially a quasi-idealized description of an abbreviated (and uncompromising) twelve-step program, which I am not certain will be for everyone. The book also feels like an historical inspirational novel, given how much focus is put on Christian faith and ideals, although the book is not billed as such. Sabrina and Harry are the main characters of this book. Sabrina is a widow whose husband was extremely abusive, which makes her shy away from the thought of a second marriage. Harry is the epitome of the Georgian wastrel – he is also an alcoholic and gambling addict. She is his saviour. Their relationship begins as she tries to pull him out of the mess he has found himself in, including helping him to dry out, which leads to him thinking that she is an old dragon and her to believe that he is irredeemable. However, they eventually find that they enjoy each other’s company. Readers should not expect a grande passion in this novel. Rather, the characters seem to feel more regard and general attraction to one another. In terms of the supporting characters, some are very much written in a way that suggests that the reader should know more about them, which leads me to believe that they are featured in the previous books in the series. New characters, including the villain, are developed as far as necessary, but not further. This doesn’t stop the villain from feeling menacing when present, although he is easily forgotten when he’s not at the forefront of the main characters’ minds, which detracted from his effectiveness. Addictions PSA version: Addictions are a significant problem for a lot of people throughout the world. If you, or someone you know, suffer(s) from an addiction and need(s) help, please consider reaching out to an addictions hotline, such as those listed at The Lifeline Canada Foundation’s website. Full disclosure: I received a free advance review copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    the girl who reads a lot

    “Whatever bit of good a person exercised in the world was a step toward making it a better place for everyone.” I think this is my favorite of the Mayfield Family Romances, even though I wasn’t completely sure I liked Harry at first. I liked him by the end though. And I admired Lady Sabrina for the good she is adding to the world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather (The Book Squirm)

    A favorite in the series! At the beginning of this book, we are introduced to heavy themes of abuse and addiction. I was concerned these themes would be too heavy for a clean regency romance. I worried the themes would be pushed off into the background as a romance took center stage. My concerns and worry were unfounded as the author did a great job portraying these themes in a very tasteful, yet believable way. The path to redemption never took a backseat to the love story, and the love story n A favorite in the series! At the beginning of this book, we are introduced to heavy themes of abuse and addiction. I was concerned these themes would be too heavy for a clean regency romance. I worried the themes would be pushed off into the background as a romance took center stage. My concerns and worry were unfounded as the author did a great job portraying these themes in a very tasteful, yet believable way. The path to redemption never took a backseat to the love story, and the love story never took a backseat either. The themes grew together and worked to an end that is worthy of 5 ⭐️ in my opinion. Harry and Sabrina have left a mark on my heart! “You misunderstand,” said Sabrina. “A fig is of little worth, that is the point. Not giving a fig means that you care very little.” “Well, then, you used it incorrectly because I would give a truffle to know where you were born.”

  27. 4 out of 5

    dia

    thanks netgalley & publisher for the eARC! tws: (view spoiler)[abuse, miscarriage, some violence, alcohol use (hide spoiler)] So. This is my first book by this author, and I really didn't know anything about the series before requesting it lol The book starts w/ Sabrina having a panic attack, thanks to her abusive husband, and that's when she meets Harry, the hero of this whole thing. It then skips to six years later, with Harry in debt, gambling away everything and wasting himself on alcohol, whil thanks netgalley & publisher for the eARC! tws: (view spoiler)[abuse, miscarriage, some violence, alcohol use (hide spoiler)] So. This is my first book by this author, and I really didn't know anything about the series before requesting it lol The book starts w/ Sabrina having a panic attack, thanks to her abusive husband, and that's when she meets Harry, the hero of this whole thing. It then skips to six years later, with Harry in debt, gambling away everything and wasting himself on alcohol, while Sabrina, after her husband's death, now controls her finances and houses and her own life. Sabrina does some charity and helps ruined young men using the name of Lord Damion, and that's how she finally meets Harry again, after all these years. It took... so long for them to be together again?? Maybe I'm just used to other romances but it felt really slow, with so much description about their own lives and business... Harry was... really unlikeable until the second half of the book. He's pathetic, whiny, completely ruined, and I don't know how Sabrina could ever be attracted to him - despite the title he didn't seem much of a rake or a charming person at all. Maybe we just have different tastes lmao but his character development is quite good. Sabrina just... doesn't seem to develop much? Despite her situation w/ her abusive husband I feel like the book lacked a bit on the whole ~learning how to trust men again~. Just because Harry wants to be good and not die poor I don't think I'd instantly trust him to like not be a shitty husband. There's a lot of exposition, talking about the past, and most interactions happen in the final part of the book only. It's like a slow burn, but it didn't even feel like much of a romance considering how long it took for anything to happen between them. I didn't really feel the connection or the sparks or whatever, and (view spoiler)[the first kiss happens around 80% of the book, like pleaseeee I can't deal with that, I guess slow burn isn't good for me??? (hide spoiler)] . Honestly I feel like this was better as historical fiction instead of (historical) romance. Harry's growth was much more interesting than what went on between him and Sabrina. Also, considering some climax revelations... (view spoiler)[like how Harry's friend was a piece of garbage that betrayed him??? (hide spoiler)] it felt like something was missing from the ending. I don't think that got addressed at all??? So yeah. Anyway it was enjoyable I guess, despite the boring beginning, so 3 stars!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alicia (Alicia Reads It)

    4 STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ While this is the 3rd book in the Mayfield Family Romances, this was my very first read which isn't a problem since it reads as a standalone. I really enjoyed this story, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of this series. At the beginning of the story, we find Harry deep in gambling debt and drink. With a ruthless lender coming after him, he has no choice but to turn to a different kind of lender. One that will not only get him out of his financial mess, but also help him 4 STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ While this is the 3rd book in the Mayfield Family Romances, this was my very first read which isn't a problem since it reads as a standalone. I really enjoyed this story, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of this series. At the beginning of the story, we find Harry deep in gambling debt and drink. With a ruthless lender coming after him, he has no choice but to turn to a different kind of lender. One that will not only get him out of his financial mess, but also help him turn his life around--The mysterious Lord Damion. Lord Damion, however, is not a man. It is our other MC Lady Sabrina, who after a terrible marriage to an abusive husband becomes a free woman of large means upon his sudden death. When Sabrina takes on Harry's debts, she doesn't plan to have any kind of interaction with him, but that all changes when she finds him in an alley after being severely beaten. She takes him in to care of him and this is when their interactions begin. I really enjoyed the premise of this story, as the dynamic is not typical for a Regency novel. Sabrina is five years older than Harry, plus Sabrina is the wealthy one. Not only that, but Sabrina takes Harry into HER home. So their relationship is definitely an intriguing part of the storyline. My favorite part of this story however is that it is a story of redemption above all else. Sabrina has already grown through all the many challenges in her life previous to this, but that being said, she does go through a small transformation as well in relation to how she views men and relationships. This story is mainly about Harry though, and his growth. He turns his life around completely, with the help of Sabrina and her staff, and realizes he doesn't want the life he was leading. Because of these details, the story was a slow-burn romance, which was very fitting. Overall this was a really fantastic Regency era read. Very unique in its premise, and engaging. I look forward to reading the other novels in this series. **Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and Josi S. Kilpack for the advanced paperback copy in exchange only for my honest thoughts and review!** Follow Me! Instagram | Alicia Reads It - Blog | Twitter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pooja (Penningtales)

    3.5 stars Despite being handsome and charming, Harry Stillman is also a gambler and a drunk. He has bet and lost everything, aside from what remained of his estate. Now a dangerous lender by the name Malcolm is after his life and his rich uncle has cut him off financially. When his friend tells him about Lord Damion, Harry has no choice but to except his terms to reform his life and pay off the debt or give up his estate for way less than market value. Before Lord Damion can pay off his debts, Ma 3.5 stars Despite being handsome and charming, Harry Stillman is also a gambler and a drunk. He has bet and lost everything, aside from what remained of his estate. Now a dangerous lender by the name Malcolm is after his life and his rich uncle has cut him off financially. When his friend tells him about Lord Damion, Harry has no choice but to except his terms to reform his life and pay off the debt or give up his estate for way less than market value. Before Lord Damion can pay off his debts, Malcolm and his men corner him and beat him senselessly. He’s left in the alley where the widowed Lady Sabrina finds him. She remembers the kindness he once showed her years ago when she was stuck in a abusive marriage and brings him to her country estate to heal. As they become friends, Sabrina finds herself falling for the man he‘s becoming, but she has a secret. Can she keep her secret from Harry? Can Harry turn his life around for the better? Will Harry ever be free of Malcolm’s threatens? I appreciated how we got a little prologue from Sabrina’s point of view, showing her and Harry’s first, albeit brief, meeting. It made her actions later on make so much sense. It also could help the readers sympathize with Harry when we meet him again as the gambler and drunk. His little act of kindness went a long way! I really felt for Sabrina. My heart went out to her. All her life, she’s been longing to find acceptance and love, and has been spurn from it at almost every step. I also understood despite being lonely now, why she’d be reluctant to let another man have power over her again. And yet, she also doesn’t let what happened to her make her bitter and cold. She instead tries to gives back and help those who are down on their luck, who are suffering, and it’s really commendable. I really admired her. I came to really like Harry. Kilpack did a brilliant job showing how a gambler thinks and how a drunk craves a drink. And I liked how she blended his guilt and shame into it, showing us how he’s aware how far he’s fallen and therefore is capable of change. And once he fully committed to turning his life around, I liked how he stuck to it. As he replaced his bad habits with good ones, I really enjoyed his playful personality that emerged. Their romance was sweet. He chases away her loneliness and she helps free him of his vices. While I wasn’t swept away by their romance, I did want them to find happiness. I also really liked how the normal gender roles were flipped, with her being in the independent one due to her wealth and status in society and him is the dependent one down on his luck, that’s not something I’ve seen in historical romances yet. Though they’re feelings for each other developed over two weeks, I liked how they gave each other four months to ensure the feelings were real and that Harry truly had reformed his life. The only complaint I had was that I wish we could’ve seen Harry and Sabrina navigating their intimate relationship. But seeing as this is a clean romance, that aspect of their relationship was brushed over. Despite that minor complaint, I enjoyed this unique take on historical romance. Definitely recommend. Please note: I received an advance digital copy of this book through NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for a honest review. This does not influence my opinions in any way.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caitlyn Lynch

    Although this is a sweet inspirational romance, I’m not sure it’s suitable for the younger reader, as there are some fairly heavy themes in here too, including (past) spousal abuse and (on-page) recovery from addiction, to both gambling and alcohol, with withdrawal sickness thoroughly detailed. Please be aware of these possible triggers if you choose to read. With an ugly marriage in her past, Lady Sabrina masquerades as Lord Damian, who offers a conditional salvation to young men of the Ton who’ Although this is a sweet inspirational romance, I’m not sure it’s suitable for the younger reader, as there are some fairly heavy themes in here too, including (past) spousal abuse and (on-page) recovery from addiction, to both gambling and alcohol, with withdrawal sickness thoroughly detailed. Please be aware of these possible triggers if you choose to read. With an ugly marriage in her past, Lady Sabrina masquerades as Lord Damian, who offers a conditional salvation to young men of the Ton who’ve fallen too far. Harry is one such; he’s gambled and drunk his way to the depths of London’s underbelly and is now utterly desperate, in hiding from one of the capital’s more ruthless moneylenders. Lord Damian’s offer is a lifeline he dimly recognises he doesn’t deserve, but before he can take it up, he’s caught and beaten to within an inch of his life. Rescued by Lady Sabrina, he’s nursed back to health in her household. There’s an age gap of five years between them (she is the elder) and he quickly finds himself looking up to her as a model citizen, the kind of person he wants to be. But not before going through the absolute misery of withdrawal from severe alcohol addiction, while trapped in bed with a broken leg. There’s one thing that really struck me as strange about the premise of this story from the beginning, and that is; why would a formerly abused wife, now an independently wealthy widow in charge of her own finances and her destiny, direct her charitable efforts towards men? Men who have got into trouble that’s entirely their own fault, wasting every opportunity they’ve been given and generally behaving horribly? Why wouldn’t she want to help women, battered wives and children, orphans, the poor, war veterans, and any number of people who are infinitely more deserving of charity? It honestly made no logical sense to me. She left her maid’s mother in a workhouse when the woman was dying! I honestly hated Sabrina a little bit when I realised that. For the amount she used to pay off Harry’s debts, she could have helped dozens, maybe hundreds, to find a better life. Considering her background, her choice of who to help made absolutely no sense. Maybe if she’d had a brother sucked in and victimised I might have bought into it, but she was the illegitimate daughter of a nobleman. Helping former mistresses and other by-blows would have made much more sense. Sabrina is automatically a sympathetic figure because we first meet her at a low point, but honestly, as the story went on I found myself liking her less and less. She was self-righteous and judgemental, not to mention extremely elitist in who she chose to aid. And Harry, after making a brief appearance as a sweet young man early on, then shows as a self-centred, spoiled pig. He at least manages to improve once he sobers up, but it’s basically because he’s been ‘scared straight’. He still spends plenty of time trying to figure out how to carry on exactly as he has been, careless of who might be affected. I just didn’t really like either of them, and with Sabrina’s illogical and misguided choices for her charitable endeavours, the whole book really didn’t hit any good notes for me. I can’t give it more than two stars. Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.