Rakes and Roses

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Pub Date 02 Feb 2021 | Archive Date 19 May 2020

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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.
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...

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ISBN 9781629727356
PRICE $15.99 (USD)

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***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.

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Thankful to have received an arc of this in exchange for an honest review.

Rakes and Roses is a pleasantly surprising reversal of roles that is so eloquently written. It gives a different yet realistic and authentic representation of love, abuse, sobriety and gambling addictions.

Sabrina Carlisle is an illegitimate daughter growing up who despite having been raised in privilege has never truly been accepted into society. Her desire to be accepted by London's elite leads her to an empty, abusive and unhappy marriage. Despite her harsh upbringing and horrendous encounters with the opposite sex, she has managed to transform herself into the epitome of a strong, independent and wealthy high society lady.

Sabrina has a depth of character very uncommon for regency/historical romance that tends to have a damsel in distress seeking a handsome man to save her. Instead, we have Sabrina, who has a very dominant personality and a firm grasp of who she is and does not allow society or its stereotypes of "men only" in business to hamper her. I love that she manages to still have a heart and a deep appreciation for her good fortune and spreads it as widely as possible to those she encounters.

If there were ever an opposite to her it would be Mr. Harrison (Harry), Stillman. Instead of using his position and power within society to rise, he succumbs to the lure of gambling and drink and soon finds himself inundated by gambling debt and loan sharks. With his life on the line and the fate of estate in jeopardy he has truly hit rock bottom in society.

He receives word of a different type of lender, the magnanimous Lord Damian who may be able to assist him however there is a steep price to pay. He must renounce all his gambling and drinking vices and make amends with his past. For Harry, who has suffered at the abusive hands of his tyrant father, his pride is all that remains and he finds it hard to accept the harsh realities of his past which is essential to moving on,

A chance encounter with Sabrina leads Harry to the realization that perhaps love and marriage may be an option for him in the future. Can he reconcile his past and do right by Lord Damian in order to prove his worth to Sabrina? Can Sabrina open her heart to love a second time, or will she seclude herself for fear that once again a man will rule her life?

There is a strong message of finding self-worth and happiness within and being appreciative of what you have instead of chasing what you think you need.

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This third book is as entertaining as the first two. I’ve got to say, this series is a go-to for sweet romance. In the first two books, we only know Harrison as the playboy black sheep of the family; in fact, he may be the best example of why his uncle started the marriage campaign. In his story, we see how far he’s fallen in pursuit of his devil-may-care lifestyle.

Sabrina is an altogether interesting character. After the (welcome) death of her husband, Sabrina goes on a campaign of her own—to save the prodigal sons of society. When Harrison needs help, she gives it—though he isn’t certain of the identity of his benefactor.

What follows is a story of Harrison’s (and Sabrina’s) redemption as they find love and forgiveness.

As with the first two books in this series (Promises and Primroses Book #1 and Daisies and Devotion Book #2), the characters in this story are likable, the romance is light and engaging, and the read is fun. I definitely recommend trying this series out.

Rated PG for intense situations
—clean romance
—no language
—some violence and bodily injury
—no gore

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The rare series book that absolutely can stand alone--there are no tie-ins or untold backstories.

The characters make some rather quick changes in their lives, but overall it's a nice escapist romance.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.

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I absolutely adored the third Mayfield Family series installment, Rakes and Roses. I am giving it five plus stars.

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I finished this book a few days ago and the ending still makes me smile.
Its a romance novel like I havent read in a long time. The twist took me by surprised and I love interactions between the characters.
I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend this book.

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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.

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A moving tale of mean husbands and no love. Sabrina Carlisle was married to Richard, who was not a nice man when he suddenly died during a horse race, the property and the money was unentailed and she inherited it all. It gave her independence and she didn't have to answer to anyone. She had not been able to have any children so she focused on the estate and doing good works.
Viscount Harrison Stillman was debauched, gambler and drunk. He had fallen so low that he had no money even to pay his debts. When he lost his last twenty dollars he went a little crazy and got kicked out and banned from the gambling place. Malcolm his biggest debt came upon him and was going to beat him up but he ran as did his friend. Lord Damian was a lender and Harry was given a chance to save himself and he took it.
I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It had fun moments, it also had sad ones but he persevered. Sabrina found him and helped him. He had once been kind to her and she had appreciated it. It took a while to be able to get on crutches but he had business in London and he had to get back there. This was engaging and charming if not scary at times. There was action and a tear or two. The characters were amazing and entertaining. I do heartily recommend this book and hope you like it as much as I did.
I received this ARC from Net Galley and voluntarily reviewed it.

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This was a very interesting story line. I can't discuss particulars because I don't want to give out spoilers, but the heroine is involved with business that has brought negative attention to her from villains. The hero is also a victim of the villian and she offers medical care to him. The title doesn't really match the story. I was expecting a light-hearted regency romance, not an action and dangerous historical romance. There are some sensuous scenes, but nothing that isn't in any other historical romance. The hero is a widow from an abusive marriage and this makes it hard for her to decide to re-marry.
The story was well written with believable and inspiring characters. Some aspects of the plot were much different from any I had read before, but the overall tone of the story didn't match the title. In some ways the story was all over the place, but the author was able to make it work. There were a few grammar and spellings errors (then for than, etc), but easy to over look. It was simply written, easy to read and get through. The overall feeling was happiness, but I felt the ending was very abrupt. I expected a little more than what was written. While I recommend it and give it 5 stars, there were a few instances that could be approved upon.

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This is a new author for me. I LOVED this book! I have a new author on my TBR list. I loved the characters of Sabrina and Henry. I felt they were well-developed. They were likeable. The story quickly captured me in a spell and kept me entralled to the end. This book is beautifully written. I've have to get this author's other books!

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I have enjoyed the previous stories of this series, and this one didn't disappoint! I enjoyed watching how Sabrina changed and watching how she made a great thing out of a bad situation. I enjoyed seeing Harry change his life and turn over a new leaf! It was a great story, I can't wait for the next one!

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I loved this book just like the rest of the Mayfield Family books she has written. I will say it has been a long time since I read her other two in this series and I couldn’t remember a lot of the characters but it made absolutely no difference. SO this book can be read and enjoyed if you haven’t read the other two. I didn’t want to like Harry since he was a drinker, gambler and a rake, but I kinda fell in love with him after hearing his back story and seeing his cute sense of humor. The author did a great job developing the characters. Once I started the story I was hooked and couldn’t stop reading. I’m hoping she will write a bit more about Harry and Sabrina in the next Mayfield family series because I want to know what else happens to them. Definitely a great read!

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I am always so leery about books with abusive spouses/family/etc., as a main point in the plot, but Josi S. Kilpack handles the topic with grace and a gentle hand, allowing the love story between two broken, damaged people to blossom as they fight past their respective pasts for a beautiful, more whole future. Highly recommended, but if abuse backstories are a trigger for you, it might be worth asking a friend to read it first and help you get through the tricky bits!

Excellent book, 5 Stars!

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I throughly enjoyed this book. I hope I can adequately explain why. I've always enjoyed Josi Kilpack's novels. This story was no different. Even though this is #3 in a series I think you could read this as a stand alone and still enjoy it fully. Reasons why I give the book 5 stars: The setting and courtship/romance blossoming was unique and original.
I liked how the role reversal was written. The h was more in the postition of the upper hand & older. Though I didn't feel one wasn't equal to the other.
We got to see a bit of historical fact & the struggles women had at the time through the h's life experience & 1st marriage.
I thought the H & h were a good match for one another & their affection genuine. As I got towards the end of the story I was wondering how all the plot points would come together!? The author had me guessing and in suspense. Would Sabrina take her Naples trip? Is the H genuine? How will the author show it? I think though those answers were handled towards the end the story didn't feel rushed.
This was a wonderful redemption story. It wasn't a typical Regency romance with settings in ballrooms & the like.
There were a few heated kisses but the book was still a pg & clean level. The romance wasn't focused on the physical aspect.
I think the series idea is original and a fun & creative way to write a Regency book.
I do wonder what happened to the H's friend Ward. That felt like a loose end to me. Also, I'd love to see a chapter or epilogue of the couple a little ways down the road.
Overall, I felt the story had good pacing & flow & natural character development.
I'm already hoping and anticipating for book #4.

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Lady Sabrina is an independent woman of means after an abusive marriage and young widowhood. She has found purpose, and is content with her life, but a face from her past gives her the opportunity to repay a kindness.

Harry Stillman is an alcoholic gambler, and rogue. His dangerous living find him beaten by thugs in an alley, which is where Sabrina comes to his aid.

As they rekindle their friendship, will their pasts and secrets threaten their chance of happiness?

Sabrina has always felt like an outcast of society, despite being a talented hostess. She is compassionate and thoughtful, a good friend to those around her, ans has survived a lot of pain. I loved the relationship that she has with her dear brother Nate, who is her protector and supporter through everything. I loved her confidence and determination.

Harry is not a very likable character at first, and it took quite a while to warm up to him. Honestly it made me love Sabrina more for her saint-like patience with him. Harry is a man of many undesirable vices, but has he grows to thinking more outwardly, he sees the error of his past. He is a very charming man, with an engaging quality about him. I admired his journey and how faith is shown in this story.

An engaging book with excellent character development and growth throughout. I loved the full cast of characters, and engaging plot. Sabrina is a admirable heroine, with a heart of gold, she is compassionate and vulnerable, savvy, and strong.

Overall, and engaging and entertaining read, with fantastic characters. Secrets and surprises abound. Great chemistry. Definitely recommend for fans of proper romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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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.

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Very unique book. Good strong storyline. Slower romance plot so if you are looking for that, you won't find much of it in this book. The strong character development in this book!
I would say you will love this if you have a day when you are ready for something completely different!

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Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack, 320 pages. Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2020. $16.
Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG
Running from their pasts, Sabrina and Harry are looking at futures of uncertainty if nothing changes. When they cross paths, Sabrina and Harry clash over everything, but soon find that the other might just be what they need to move forward.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Sabrina and Harry’s story, which is full of hope and forgiveness, strength and perseverance, motivation and confidence to change. The most powerful message is the one that we can all change, that not one of us needs to let our past define who we are today or who we will become tomorrow. Kilpack has dreamed up a unique situation for her characters that is engaging all the way to their happily ever after, though I feel that a couple points were not adequately addressed and resolved.
Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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This is the third book in Kilpack's Mayfield series. Uncle Elliot amassed a fortune in India saving his family estates. However, he was unable to save his family until now. Creating a "marriage" campaign to entice his nieces and nephews to change for the better, Elliot offers monetary compensation for those willing to make thoses changes. But Harry wants nothing to do with Uncle Elliot's "bargain" and continues in his pathway to ruin.
In an act of desperation, Harry appeals to a lender that also offers a way out of his disolute life. But Malcolm, his current lender doesn't like being squeezed out and his men severely beat Harry. Fortunately, kind hearted Lady Sabrina finds Harry and becomes the second person to help him. As Harry"s reformation begins, both he and Sabrina are given a second chance at happiness and love.
Kilpack is a wonderful writer with the ability to create interesting characters. Readers are pulled into the tale and become emotionally connected. It was wonderful to be able to take Harry's journey with him as he met with setbacks and triumph. I thoroughly enjoy this series. By my calculations, there are at least 4 more stories to come and I am looking forward to them. I appreciate the opportunity to review this ARC given to me by #Netgalley.

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Rakes and Roses is a story about two broken people coping with trauma and fear in different ways. While one drowns in self-fulfilling, irrational desperation and weakness, the other finds strength they never knew they had to face adversity and save others from a similar fate. This reads more like a historical mystery than a typical sweet/clean Regency romance. The relationship between hero and heroine is slow-burning, although their wariness is realistic given the extreme disappointments in their pasts and their resulting self-doubts. It was an intriguing character study with an authentic yet satisfactory conclusion.

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Harry Stillman has truly reached rock bottom. He has lost all his money, pushed away all, his friends, and his uncle refuses to pay his debts. A mysterious Lord Damion offers to settle those debts if he changes his life and Harry takes the chance. But leaving behind the vices he has live by is not so easy, even when a beautiful woman is there to encourage him to do so.

Having followed the series from the beginning and seeing the other Mayfield romances, I was eager to read about the rake of the family. Harry is your typical young man of the Regency era. He has lived to enjoy himself and sought to improve his fortune at cards. His uncle's offer to give him an inheritance if he married well was not something he wanted. The author said this was her first attempt at a "playboy" character, and it shows.

Opposite our drunkard is Lady Sabrina, who is the illegitimate daughter of a duke and survivor of an abusive marriage. She has spent her years as a widow trying to help those who she believes are capable of turning their life around. She travels, acts as hostess for her brother, and is content with her independence.

On the surface, it seemed as though this would be a sweet and fun read. My biggest problem, however, is that there was no romance. Attraction, yes. Harry is described as a handsome and charming man, and Sabrina is witty and fierce. However, the story took a while to set up. In fact, I believe I was halfway through the book before they had a conversation where Harry was sober and in his right mind. A month was not long enough for there to be love.

I definitely have enjoyed other novels by this author a lot more than this one. I'd give this one a 3.5 stars, rounding up to be generous. Still, I am curious how the series will continue.

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This was my favorite book in this series so far!! I absolutely loved the two main characters! They were a little more relaxed and less stuffy for the time period, although still fairly true to the time period, in my opinion. They just felt a bit more relatable to me. While the books all stand alone by themselves well, there are still references to the previous two books so that I feel it's best to read them in order. There is so much humor in this book, especially for the heavy subject matter with Harry's situation with his gambling and the lender, as well as Sabrina's early history that the book starts out with. However, I really like how the author dealt with all the issues, with humor mixed in and trying to realistically portray the characters, their situations, and the resolution to all the scenarios. I got a giggle out of the knitting. At first, I wasn't so sure about it, but it added a lightness and quirkiness to the character and the story. There are a lot of supporting characters to this story as well, and they all blend together nicely with the main characters to move the story along and play well into the story line itself. I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Josi Kilpack just keeps getting better and better with her writing!! I look forward to seeing which Mayfield family member she tells the story of with Uncle Elliott trying to help next!! (I do wish we had just a little bit more of him in this book, though, because he was a great and entertaining character in the first book!)

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Josi S. Kilpack has the knack of creating incredibly detailed characters who inhabit worlds that seem as real as our own. This book is no exception, with two damaged characters who find a way to heal each other and find love in the process. For many readers of romance, here's a slight warning. This is a dark book, despite the hopeful conclusion. Harry Stillman is not the happy-go-lucky rake; he is a man who lived on the edge to the point that he has no bridges left to burn. Lady Sabrina is a survivor of an abusive marriage and miscarriage, yet uses her widowhood to change lives. She is a strong, compassionate woman. A true s-hero. She falls in love slowly, but won't compromise what she wants just because of a handsome face. Harry also is an incredible character, someone who actually understands the waste of his life and truly wants to change — he doesn't just regret his wrong choices, though, he takes his second (third, fourth?) chance to move forward. The device Kilpack uses to create Harry's opportunity is a worthy twist of a wonderful writer. Poignant, moving and in the end, uplifting. We can change, not because someone is forcing us, but because we love ourselves and them enough to do better. I can't recommend this book enough. (I received an ebook advance copy from NetGalley. Opinions mine.)

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#RakesAndRoses #NetGalley

This a the third book in The Mayfield series. Harry is a gambler who is broke, with no one to pick him up out of the gutter. Harry has. too much debt and is a heavy drinker. Sabrina is a widow and doesn't have a place in society. When Harry is given a chance to redeem himself but isn't sure who his benefactor is. I loved Sabrina's head strong personality.

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I have loved this Mayfield series by Josi Kilpack, but Rakes and Roses might be my absolute favorite! I love how Sabrina was a unique heroine. How she took control of her future in a time when women were usually not allowed that opportunity. I love the amount of growth we saw in Harry as the main hero. How he overcame so many hurdles to become the best man he could be. The way these two found love one equal footing is to be admired and is a love story I will be thinking about for a long time to come.

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain publishing for the eARC!

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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.

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Another wonderful book by Josi Kilpack! I have loved this series. I love how each book follows one of Elliott’s nieces or nephews and how he knew what was best for them. I loved how this book was a story about redemption and about learning to trust. I loved the romance between Harry and Sabrina. I loved how Sabrina helped Harry to overcome many of his weaknesses and to become the man that she knew he could be. I also like how Harry showed Sabrina that there are good men in the world. I thought this was a great book and I would recommend it.

I received a complimentary book from publishers, publicists, and or authors.  A review was not required and all opinions and ideas expressed are my own.

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The story of the rake, Harry and the rose, Sabrina. Quick and easy description is it's about the love, compassion, caring and the desire to change. Excellent HEA without being sappy or overly done. I enjoyed the characters & their motivations.

I enjoyed this read would give it a 4.5 if possible. Maybe it's just the period of time when I read this (during COVID19 shelter in place), but I like reading about being able to change for the better. I know I have had lots of time on my hands to try and improve myself & reduce my faults during this time, so this story was a lovely way to continue that theme at night when I can read.

3 installment in the series, honestly wish I had learned about this series when they were all published because it's going to be torture to keep waiting!! However, I like how the author didn't waste loads of time explaining the previous two. While this story could maybe an acceptable stand alone, it is best when read in order


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This was a new series for me, but it was a quick read and I read it in one day. I had a hard time connecting to the Characters in the beginning. I think its because the characters were really harsh toward each other, but didn’t really know one another.

The second half was sweet. As the characters started to get to know each other and feelings began to form, they had a very playful way of communicating, and it allowed the story to move forward naturally.

This was an interesting read.

My review will be posted to the Book Confessions blog the first week of May.

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This is the first book in this series that I have read and a new author to me, as well.

I really, thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved that Sabrina had become a strong, independent woman but I was saddened that she had shut herself off from love because of some horrible experiences she had with her husband. She had a kind heart that wanted to help those who had lost their way, even due to their own foolish behavior.

Harry was a reprobate but became reformed through Lady Sabrina's (or Lord Damion's) efforts. He had gambled and drunk away all his money. Through Lord Damion's willingness to help him, if he was willing to step up and help himself. Even after agreeing to make the changes necessary to bring him to a better place, Harry was attacked by his "lender's henchmen" leaving him to die. Luckily for him, Lady Sabrina came along and took him in to allow him to heal.

I enjoyed the "getting to know you" phase of Sabrina and Harry's friendship. I loved that Harry wasn't willing to give up on her, knowing she had some secrets that made her fearful of loving and being held under a husband's thumb, so to speak.

This story was a clean, sweet romance that had a happy ending. I would love to know more about their future story.

I was given an arc copy of this book and I willingly offer my honest review.

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Loved It. I different style of regency romance with great characters that have you hooked in from the beginning. Just goes to show you how differently women and men were treated during these times and what Lady Sabrina had to go through. She's tough nut to crack and I love that about her character. . Written well, great flow and kept me turning the pages. Thankyou for my free ARC

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2.5 stars rounded up.

After an abusive marriage, devastating miscarriage, and early widowhood, Lady Sabrina has emerged a savvy businesswoman determined to make changes in a male-dominated world. She has many friends and a key role in helping her titled brother navigate society, but she still finds herself feeling increasingly lonely.

Harry Stillman has more charm than is good for him and has fallen into bad habits with drink and gambling that have left him in a hole he can’t dig himself out of. With debts he can’t possibly repay, he turns to the mysterious lender Lord Damien for help paying off his creditors, but the meeting still sees him beaten and left insensate on the street by toughs in the employ of the loan shark he’s indebted to.

When Sabrina finds the nearly unconscious Harry, she can’t leave him there and takes him to her estate outside London to recover. Their turbulent relationship gives way to friendship eventually as Harry heals, but Sabrina is determined to keep him at arm’s length even as he tries to become a man worthy of her. But she must protect her heart and her secrets at all costs lest they destroy her.

I must say, I didn’t know what the term ‘proper romance’ meant when I first requested this title, I was merely intrigued by the premise. Had I known, I certainly wouldn’t have requested it since I prefer steamier love stories. That said, the lack of steam wasn’t actually the problem here. I don’t much care for proselytizing to this level in my romance novels, but as a Christian myself, I wasn’t bothered by the mentions of God’s grace, etc.; I actually liked that just fine. The problem here for me was the characters, especially Sabrina. Harry wasn’t terrible, just weak, and though he showed good growth, I never found much strength or masculinity to support his place as hero of the story. Sabrina, though, was a bit of a piece of work. She definitely had a good heart and tried to help dissolute young men on the wrong path, but from such a pedestal of self-righteousness it made her unlikable. The trauma of her previous marriage should’ve made her sympathetic and someone you’d want to root for but that somehow wasn’t the case for me. Sabrina was a snob, holding her high society position as a recognized, though illegitimate, daughter of a duke over Harry’s head while using an honorific she knew she wasn’t actually entitled to and ignoring the fact that he also had ties to the aristocracy. Her need to micromanage and control everything, along with her man-hating, arrogance, and judgmental tendencies, sealed my dislike of her as well. The relationship between Sabrina and Harry wasn’t believable in a romantic sense either. She saw him as a beautiful object of desire, especially once she’d molded him into what she wanted, and I think he was mostly just grateful to her for saving him. I didn’t much care for either of them so I think they deserved each other, but I can’t say it was a satisfying romance for me. This premise had good potential with the secrets and implied intrigue, but the pace was too slow, the finale a bit anticlimactic, and the romance rather tepid.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Josi Kilpack' writes a redemptive story about a rake who hits bottom and is rescued by a woman who has survived an abusive marriage and has secrets. Although this is the third book in the Mayfield Family Romance series, it is also a standalone. This is a satisfying read for fans of Regency romance.

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