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Summary

Harry Stillman cares nothing for his future and spends his time at gaming tables, horse races, and in the company of whatever beautiful woman has caught his eye that week. He has little use for society or his uncle’s approval - until his debts begin exceeding his profits. When Uncle Elliott refuses to pay off the debt and instead offers him a large, monetary wedding gift if Harry were to marry a woman of his uncle’s approval, Harry is offended, angry, and - scared. His dire straits drives him to seek out the infamous Lord Damion - a money lender who extolls a heavy price for his assistance.

Lord Damion, however, is not a lord at all, or even a man. When Lady Sabrina’s cheating husband leaves her, then ends up dying in a carriage accident, she creates a plan to ensure her future security through the secret persona of Lord Damion, and she is quickly becoming the richest woman in England.

Knee-deep in secrets, both Harry and Sabrina must decide what true love means to them and how to navigate the pitfalls of English high society. In the end, both must decide which is more important: wealth or true love.

©2020 Josi S. Kilpack (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Rakes and Roses

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not the best in the series but sweet

I enjoyed about 80% of this until the last hour where the entire is wrapped up a little rapidly for my tastes. There was just something substantially lacking, which was a shame because it was a story that had immense potential. Harry’s arch could have, and was on its way to being impressive, but then it stopped developing: the same can be said bc of Sabrina, but it just never seemed to develop. She never really seems to confront her pain or her demons, and then suddenly she is healed. And considering how much time we hear about her past it isn’t confronted. Harry’s finding out is dealt with in the space of half a sentence and then they don’t talk about it. Ugh it was so frustrating! It was sweet until the end completely spoiled it.

Book 2 in the series is still the best in my opinion. I honestly would skip this one, which I’m sad to say.

1 person found this helpful

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I Loved this Book

I'm really loving this series. Each story is different to keep you listening & sad but happy when the latest book finishes.
I'm off to listen to the last book.
I would definitely recommend it.

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Disappointing

I just couldn't get into this story It's overly dramatic and quite farfetched. Ladies of quality in the stews without protection????

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  • Yara N.
  • 09-05-20

A disappointing addition to the series...

Rakes and Roses is the third book in the Mayfield Family series by Josi S. Kilpack.

This book, like the previous books, is part of the proper romance genre - which means it's clean when it comes to sexual content. Additionally, these novels might have Christian content thought they vary wildly as to how overt the Christian content might be - sometimes, you might not even notice it.

Having read the first two books in this series and enjoyed them very much, I was looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, this book was not a good addition to this series. There was no chemistry between the two main characters which means romance was absent in a romantic novel.

Additionally, unlike on the previous two books the Christian messaging was obvious and unmistakable. For those who are not religious it might be uncomfortable.

The Highlights

For a proper romance, I thought the premise of the story was intriguing and a change from the typical plots we see in this genre. You get a lot of "House Parties" in this genre for some reason.

The story follows Harold "Harry" Stillman, a degenerate gambler and drunk who hits rock bottom and Lady Sabrina, the bastard daughter of a duke. She survived an abusive marriage and now dedicates herself to helping others.

Lady Sabrina has a savior complex and has decided to focus this on saving young men who find themselves down on their luck because of their poor life choices. Posing as the moneylender, Lord Damion, Sabrina seeks to help young men by getting them out of the financial trouble, and as payment, they must mend their ways and leave their vices behind, or else they lose everything they have. Interesting, right? And it was for the first quarter of the book. It depicted this storyline in a very tame and clean way, but it had potential.

I will give credit for writing a somewhat credible, if not supremely sanitized, depiction of having to go through withdrawals from alcohol abuse. At least the author made an attempt at creating a realistic scenario.

The Lowlights

So while the premise of this book was intriguing and different from the usual fare, it's execution wasn't as strong as it needed to be to carry this story to the depths it had the possibility of achieving. It ended up feeling a bit shallow, early on in the story we see how low Harry's vices have brought him and we see him battling his alcoholism, and yet it still felt very superficial. Sabrina's past with a violent marriage also felt unexplored a frankly, it felt like a device to give her vulnerability rather than being part of her character growth.

Additionally, unlike the two previous books, the Christian message in this story was loud and clear. Harry basically had to "find Jesus" to help him battle his vices and addictions. They were even bible verses included. Now, I'm not religious, but I'm not opposed to having religious content as part of the story if it's done, so it is an organic and warranted part of the storyline and not just a tool. For example, before Harry seeks the help of Lord Damien and feels like the world is caving in on him, why not have him try to pray as a last resort, asking God for his help even though he doesn't deserve it. Then, when he gets help in the form of Lord Damien, he can reconnect with God because he believes that God sent him Lord Damien to him as he had prayed for when he was down on his luck. This felt to me like it was included because it was a requirement. It felt preachy, which I really disliked. I don't want to read proselytizing in my romance novels.

The chemistry between the two characters was non-existing. I'm not exaggerating, I felt nothing for them as a couple, and I kept on waiting for romance to start, but it never did. Sabrina feels an attraction to Harry almost from the beginning, but it's not a very strong attraction, and Harry doesn't start seeing Sabrina as a love interest until 2/3 of the way through the book. No romantic tension, no chemistry, no real build-up.

Finally, it's a small annoyance, but I wish they had not changed the style of the covers. I liked the cover art style of the first two books; it was unique. This cover looks like every other proper romance cover out there.

Conclusion

This book was a huge disappointment for me, I've been waiting since last year for the continuation of this series, and it was sadly a letdown. I do think I'll continue reading this series. For those who like proper romances I recommend the first two books, but don't go any further.

The second book “Daisies and Desire” is my favorite of the first two books.

Audible Note

Justine Eyre narrated the audiobook. I've listened to many books narrated by JE, and I like the way she narrates and her ability to create distinctive voices for each character.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 23-05-21

3am review after staying up to finish

A low review on here had me worried before I bought this and listened to it. However, the things she said in her review stood out as things that I would like. This one does reference prayer and faith more than the first two in the series. From the other review it seemed like it would be drawn out and heavy on the "Come to Jesus" moments and message. However, it wasn't done in such a way that it was preachy to the reader. It was the characters praying as they needed help. A one point talking about doubts and fears. Never in such a way that all should believe a certain way. I am Christian and would have been pleased with any amount of references. However, I feel that this is a great balance for those of any faith. I think I felt more invested in these characters than the first two. (Each new one I love even more it seems. I am excited for the next to come out!) I felt that they did have chemistry (unlike the low review).

Overall, a great, uplifting read. Felt healing in many ways. I didn't think I would find it easy to like Harry after his portrayal in the other books, however Josi does it again.

A heads up that it touches on the topics of Spouse abuse, alcoholism, child abuse, gambling addictions, and miscarriage. However, in a very appropriate manner. I do believe she portrayed withdrawal and addiction well.

3 people found this helpful

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  • ktnavy
  • 06-07-21

Drones on and on and on

What a struggle, this story just droned on and on, I couldn't finish Threw in the towel at chapter 14.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-07-20

Loved it!

This is the 3rd book in this series and Josie Kilpack knocked it out of the park again! Loveable characters and an important message of regret, remorse, repentance and forgiveness. A truly wonderful, beautiful story that can't be missed!

2 people found this helpful

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  • JEM
  • 22-04-22

Great!

I almost didn’t listen to this because of a previous review but I’m glad I did! I’ve enjoyed each book in this series. Story and narration was great! I don’t mind faith based books but even if I did I personally didn’t find it overt.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shauna
  • 22-07-22

Great series

I have loved listening to these book. I haven't heard book 4 yet, but loved the others. The 1st was my favorite. The narrator is beyond fanastic. I love the storyline of each of these.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-06-22

Fun little read

Great story of how a woman can lead a man and still be a woman.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-06-22

Promising but complete character betrayal

The narrator was still awesome as usual. The story had me until the main character just threw all her built-up morals and level-headedness out the window and compromised herself. Lost any respect I had for either character. Honestly, it was hard to like her in the first place with how condescending she was.

What would've made a 10x better story is if they had fallen in love AFTER the trip to the mainland (which is what I was hoping for) and the stuff beforehand was just a reason for her to seek him out or to give depth to their relationship.

But no, instead this supposedly strong female character falls in love with a rake, drunkard and gambler BEFORE he demonstrates any long-term change (two weeks of good behaviour does not count)

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  • Marisa
  • 27-05-22

Excellent story

One of my favorites in the series! Awesome character development, great storyline! And as always, I love this narrator!

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  • L. Counts
  • 15-05-22

Refreshing

It is refreshing to read a romantic story that does not focus on the details of foreplay and sex in every chapter. Rather, this story focuses on the trials, difficulties, and eventual triumph over vices with the compassionate aid of others. The characters are believable. The difficulties that faced women of this era are also part of the story. Good read!