The Earl of Marcham has decided to put the excesses of his colorful youth firmly behind him so that he may find a wife and beget himself an heir. But a straitlaced spinster may stand in his way after she releases a morality pamphlet exposing some of his most private misdemeanors. Determined to have his revenge and teach her a much-needed lesson, the earl decides that his best course of action is to seduce her…
Miss Georgiana Blakelow has long given up the hope of marriage. Instead, she’s resigned to serving as governess to her siblings and saving the family estate from ruin. She might succeed, if only the wretch of an earl who won the estate at the gaming table would be reasonable.
As the sparks fly, and as Lord Marcham finds himself unexpectedly attracted to Miss Blakelow, she becomes even more determined to keep him at a safe distance. The closer he gets, the more likely he is to discover that his bluestocking isn’t all that she seems.
This is an interesting book. It takes a lot of the common themes of Regency romances, but it works a little differently. It worked for me because it felt a whole lot more authentic than most of the books publishers are churning out these days – I’ve no doubt the author being English helps a whole lot!
I think the key word you should think of when reading The Bluestocking and the Rake is patience. This is not a sex-filled romp full of anachronistic idiots. If you’re looking for something steamy and fluffy you won’t find it here, despite the fairly generic title.
This is a mystery, and it’s also a romance rather than an erotic romance. We have the whole book for the characters to sort out their issues and their feelings for each other, and in the meantime there’s a slow-burning mystery running in the background that all comes to the forefront in a suspenseful sequence at the end.
The fact I recognised a number of lines as being more or less identical to Jane Austen’s writing should give you a bit of a clue about what to expect. There’s not a lot of silliness, and the characters actually do act as they might have in the Regency era. That means our earl hero can be a bit of an arrogant bastard, and it means that decisions our heroine made in the past have had massive, massive consequences for her in the present.
I was pretty annoyed with the frequent references to the glasses the heroine wore as part of her disguise. She was constantly described as ugly because of her glasses!
This isn’t a perfect book, and it’s not one you race through. I thought a few scenes with secondary characters were a little bit over the top. However, what I felt was that it rolled along, unfolding slowly, and it worked for me because the pacing, the language and the characters’ behaviour captured the era so much better than most Regency romances around at the moment.
And – yay! A cover that actually has something to do with the book!
I also found this original cover on the author’s site, which isn’t as professional-looking, but I thought was interesting all the same!
Review copy provided by NetGalley.