Book Review: The Spinster and the Rake by Anne Stuart

The Spinster and the Rake is a historical romance by Anne Stuart. This romance was originally published in 1982, but was re released in the summer of 2016 with some added material. I have not read the first version, so I do not know what is new, and how the two editions compare. Aside from the two covers that is.

As a maiden aunt, Gillian Redfern lives as an unpaid servant to her demanding family. Little wonder she finds the attentions of a rake distracting, and even less wonder that her usual good sense begins to unravel when Lord Marlow takes her in his arms. Ronan Patrick Blakely, Lord Marlow, is a man of great charm and little moral character, a gambler, a womanizer, and handsome as sin to boot. He has no qualms about placing a wager on the virtue of one small, shy spinster. But Lord Marlow is about to discover that Miss Redfern is more siren than spinster. She amuses him, arouses him, and, much to his dismay, makes him a better man. Gillian will discover, in turn, that Lord Marlow possesses the power to turn her into a very wicked woman. The rake and the spinster are poised to find a love that neither could have imagined. If only someone weren't out to destroy them both.
The Spinster and the Rake is a fun and entertaining historical novel. I enjoyed the characters and thought the relationships of family and friends added an additional depth to the story, although I would have liked to have seen some background of Gillian that led her to a life of taking care of her sibling's families and accepting the title of spinster. I kept hoping there was a story there, but it never really happened. However, we got a good bit of Ronan's backstory through the book. I did like that Gillian was smart, capable, and well loved by those that took the time to know her rather than the role she was cast in. I think the development of Gillian's character and her learning to stand up for herself is good- but I was still looking for more. I did think that Ronan's character was better developed, and I liked his attitude and how he thought about the world in general. The conflicts he had, and his integrity was well done- but I could have stood for more story surrounding his unconventional life and staff.  

The Spinster and the Rake was a quick and enjoyable read, but I could tell that it was an earlier book from the author, because it just did not meet the standards I have for Stuart.  Fans might want to pick it up just to see the way the writing style and character work has grown.

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