"classic Regency gem"
My gosh! Is there no genre Anne Stuart cannot write? I have
been finding some hidden gems in used books. I thought I
had everything Stuart had written, but I've been lucky to
find a few that I missed recently. Stuart writes
Contemporary Romance, Erotic Thrillers, Historicals,
Comedies, Paranormals and this precious jewel - a simply
regency. But oh, it's anything but simple! It's
masterpiece, but time and again, I feel compelled to heap
that sort of praise on Stuart's wonderful body of works.
This book was written over 20 years ago, showing precisely
what a talent this writer is. Each story is so perfectly
crafted you'd quickly try to say - this is her best work.
She is just such a consistent writer that I am sure at
Romantic Times conventions other writers likely stick "kick
me" signs on her back!
I am not much of a Regency fan. They are smaller, and I
enjoy the full, fleshed out story. But Stuart can do more
in small books that most writers do in 400 pages! And The
Spinster and the Rake is just that sort of magical book.
The title be damned, it's a heartwarming tale, and it just
kept me from three hours of sleep! I could not stop reading.
Gillian Redfern is facing her thirtieth birthday. She's
firmly on the shelf, though society refuses to grant a
woman the right to control her own destiny. Gillian is not
some poor relations. She is fabulously wealthy, but still
her life is controlled by her family, because unmarried
women just do not go about alone. Her two sisters and
brother shuttle her back and forth, more of a glorified
servant that a true family member.
Obviously, unless you have an understanding of history, you
cannot comprehend why a woman with money just could not do
as she pleased. Sorry, read a little history before to at
too quick to condemn. Women could not and that was how it
was! Stuart is always very strong in her research and her
accurate protrail of a woman's lot in history.
Gillian is being sent to her brother's home in London, when
her carriage breaks an axel, rolls over, and traps Gillian
inside. She is quickly rescued by Ronan Patrick Blakely.
Blakely is English, but has lived abroad these past twenty
years, due to a scandal. Actually, in his mad youth, Ronan
had tried to get a young woman named Letty to run away with
him. Letty, however, was married at the time - to none
other than Gillian's brother Derwent! Letty is now a
pleasing plump matron who won't bestir herself to care for
her children. Why should she when she has Gillian to do it.
Only, Gillian is facing her birthday with just a bit of
resentment - and exhaustion.
This makes her a ripe target for the practiced charms of a
rogue - and there is no doubt, Ronan is a dark and
dangerous rogue determined to flaunt the rules of the
society that shunned him twenty years ago, but now sees him
as one of the most eligible bachelors. Ronan is bored to
tears by the debutants of the Ton, so Gillian, ten years
his younger, more than draws his eye. She is intelligent,
lively and with the added plus of being sister to Derwent.
Ronan loves tweaking Derwent by dared pay address to
Being a little foxed, and pushed by a friend, he makes a
bet he can compromise Gillian before the end of the Season.
Aided - or hindered - in this is Gillian's niece Felicity.
Felicity has been deep in love with Liam Blackwood, but the
son of an Earl had given himself to the works of God, thus
deeming him beneath Derwent and Letty's precious daughter!
Only, the daughter is more like her Aunt Gillian, and is
determined to get her man, even if she has to pretend
interest in Ronan to do it.
However, just as Gillian admits she's in love with Ronan,
she learns of the bet. And too late, Ronan comprehends he
has been caught in his own trap. It's another brilliantly
served up dish of Stuart Surprise. If you are a fan, you
will NOT want to miss this one. It's Stuart at her very
best - but when isn't she?
This is a Keeper you will read more than once!
Posted August 18, 2004
Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted November 23, 2006