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.
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.
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)