The Bluestocking and The Rake by Norma Darcy
2014 Winner — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Romance
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.
Published & Release Date: Montlake Romance, February 17, 2015
Time and setting: Regency England, 1817
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Heat Level: 1
Rating: 3 Gold Crowns
I received an advance reader copy of The Bluestocking and The Rake from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. After reading the book description, I looked forward to reading it with great anticipation. A bluestocking who is more than she appears, and a jaded rake who has at last decided it is time to set up his nursery and put his philandering ways aside makes an interesting read.
Under pressure from his mother and sister, Robert Holkham, the Earl of Marcham, decides he must marry to secure the title for future generation. However, his already less than stellar reputation is being defamed even more by a moralizing pamphlet written by Miss Blakelow. The earl decides to ignore the article and go about the business of finding a wife.
As it turns out, the earl has recently won the Thorncote estate in a card game from the young baronet, Sir William Blakelow, step-brother to the fore mentioned lady. While holding a risqué party at his home, Miss Blakelow shows up and interrupts the festivities with a proposition. She want him to invest money in bringing the estate back to profitability, then allow her to pay him back over time.
This begins the tale of The Bluestocking and The Rake. I had somewhat of a problem following the convoluted story from the beginning and as I continued to read, it only became harder to follow. I cannot even attempt to explain all the intricacies of the plot. There are so many different directions it takes that it quite boggled my mind at times.
While this story has a lot of witty dialogue between the many members of the Blakelow family, much of it does not move the tale forward. It became increasingly more difficult to follow the story because Ms. Darcy jumps from one character’s point of view to another, sometimes with the same paragraph.
This made it a bit difficult to truly care whether this couple achieved their ‘Happily Ever After’ or not. At one point, I considered putting the book down, rather than finishing it, something I rarely do. So of course I carried on.
Another issue for me is the continued use of formal names, even when the main characters have amorous thoughts of one another. I have never imagined a brother would think of his sister as Mrs. Weir instead of her given name, nor would he address her using her proper name when no one else is around. The hero continues to think of the heroine as Miss Blakelow long after the romance began, actually up to the very end.
With this said and done, I never fully understood or believed the convoluted plot or the ultimate outcome. There is a villain in this story and everything just resolved way too easily for me to believe it.
Nonetheless, I am glad I decided to finish this tale because there are some deeply emotional scenes between the couple that drew me in and made me care, once the story moved beyond all the angst between the hero and the heroine. I did end up wanting the couple to have a happy ending, and this book does have a satisfying end as far as the romance goes. Happy reading!