Monday, April 20, 2009

The Spinster and The Rake - Anne Stuart

Were the lines around his eyes from laughter or light living? One good look at Ronan Patrick Blakely, Marquis of Herrington, and Gillian Redford thought she knew the answer. This knight in tarnished armor, who had rescued her from a coach accident, now presumed to pluck her from her straitlaced life and send her to perdition! He was clearly a rogue, a rake with a dangerous gleam in his eye, determined to chase the last vestiges of propriety from her starchy life. Did she dare accept the challenge? She was thirty--old enough to know better. Old enough, he said, to kick up her heels and let the devil take the hindmost!

I was actually expecting The Spinster and The Rake to be a sort of To Love a Dark Lord but in short format. I have no idea why I thought that, I should have remembered that Stuart has many different voices and the fact is that TSaTR is a light and fun regency romance, not to be taken too seriously but certain to leave you with a smile on your face.

Gillian is a confirmed spinster. She is nearing 30 and she spends much of her time taking care of her brother and sister’s children alternating between one home and the other, as she is needed. One day while she is travelling to her brother’s house in London her carriage suffers an accident and she is saved by Lord Marlowe, a confirmed rake with whom her brother shares some past history.

Marlowe is highly entertained by Gilly, who he at first believed to be some kind of servant. When he finds out she is the sister of his old enemy, Lord Redfern, he has no problems accepting a wager from his friend Vivian that he can seduce her.

The problem though is that Marlowe is not the hardened and unfeeling rake that his actions might make him seem. He is actually rather nice and easygoing and it’s not difficult to like. He starts approaching Gilly and takes her to his gaming hell or at balls he convinces her to dance with him more than the proverbial two times allowed.

As Gilly falls for Marlowe so Marlowe falls for Gilly, there are a few problems though on their way to happiness as Marlowe is not ready to ruin Gilly after all but can’t offer marriage. There’s wonderful banter between the Gilly and Marlowe and there’s also a bit of a villain and a visit from the past to help them in the right direction. Of course, in the end Gilly still has to save Marlowe from himself, what would a rake do without a good woman to make him change his ways?

Grade: 4.5/5




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