Title: The Bluestocking and the Rake
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.
Author: Norma Darcy
Series: The Regency Gentlemen #2
Published by Montlake Romance Source: Publisher
Genres: Historical Mystery, Historical Romace, Regency Romance, Romance
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I liked The Bluestocking and the Rake but I have mixed emotions about it. Norma Darcy does a great job on the historical side of the story and tells it with a very good descriptive voice. Her writing is wonderful and she truly depicted the mannerisms and discourse of the times. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions with each other. There were quite a few secondary characters and at times hard to keep up, but they all seemed to have their place within the story. Miss Georgiana Blakelow pretends to be a bluestocking. She only pretends to be one because she’s hiding from her past. She fell in love with a man when she was just nineteen. He ultimately ruins her reputation, another man rejected her when she told him the truth about her past, and still another devious man is looking for her. To not draw attention to herself, she wears ugly dresses, hideous hats, and spectacles. She does, however, draw attention to herself, when she publishes a pamphlet containing secrets no one should know about Lord Marcham and his exploits.
Lord Marcham, an earl, and a rake, is bored and his lifestyle has lost its luster. He is looking for a wife to give him the required heir. He is known to break hearts. He sleeps with opera singers, actresses and widows. He is flirty, devilishly charming, and witty. What makes him a tad different is that he’s a closet romantic. He wants to marry for love, but hasn’t found “the one.” Unfortunately, at the age of thirty-six, he feels his time is growing short, and he has given up finding that which he so desires.
The two meet after Blakelow’s father and brother gambled and lost their property to Lord Marcham. In hopes of negotiating with the earl in order to keep her family’s home, Miss Blakelow marches into his country house and demands a meeting. All the while Marcham’s friends were having a party whose main entertainment is prostitutes, gambling, and drinking. Miss Blakelow berates the earl for his behavior and after he realizes who she is, he plans to exact revenge on her by seducing her.
I loved the banter between them and the sexual undertones throughout the book. I loved both characters, especially Lord Marcham. He seemed the most intriguing to me. He sees past Georgiana’s disguise and he does his darnedest to get her to drop her act. She doesn’t because she truly believes her secret would be her family’s undoing. My biggest issue is the pace of the story. We know there is an underlying secret, but we learn facts at an alarmingly slow rate. I could see how one may get bored and abandon the story altogether. We aren’t told how she was ruined, by whom, or why this other menacing man is on the hunt for her. The mystery of this secret kind of gets in the way of the love story. I would’ve liked a flashback scene, so we learn what happened, then watch to see how it unfolds within the love story. We are frustrated since we know nothing and it feels like it drags on and on.
I am glad I continued the story. I understand why Georgiana is afraid of being hurt and rejected. Lord Marcham’s reputation just feeds into her doubts and fears. There is a slow sizzle here and plenty of angst throughout the story. I wanted to fully understand her secret and why Georgiana does what she does. We do eventually learn the reasons but it’s chopped up leaving the reader to piece it all together. We never learn how she obtained the information for her pamphlet to begin with. If you enjoy a slow building, angsty type plot, and historicals, you will love this book. This is the first story I have read by Norma Darcy and I enjoyed her writing so much I intend to read more
Reviewed by Deb