Book Reviews, Historical Fiction, Regency, Romance, Romance, Women's Ficiton

Rakes and Roses – Josi S. Kilpack

Publication Date: Limited Release- May 5, 2020 & National Release- February 2, 2021
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Genre: Regency Romance/Proper Romance
Pages: 320
Dates Read: April 21-22, 2020
Format: Paperback ARC provided by publisher for review

GoodReads Synopsis

In the third standalone novel, Lady Sabrina finds herself falling in love with gambler and rake, Harry Stillman. But the closer they become, the more she risks him discovering a secret that could destroy everything.

A Mayfield Family Romance – Vol. 3 in the standalone series

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 alley.

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.

My Review


While this is the 3rd book in the Mayfield Family Romances, this was my very first read which isn’t a problem since it reads as a standalone. I really enjoyed this story, and I will definitely be picking up the rest of this series.

At the beginning of the story, we find Harry deep in gambling debt and drink. With a ruthless lender coming after him, he has no choice but to turn to a different kind of lender. One that will not only get him out of his financial mess, but also help him turn his life around–The mysterious Lord Damion.

Lord Damion, however, is not a man. It is our other MC Lady Sabrina, who after a terrible marriage to an abusive husband becomes a free woman of large means upon his sudden death. 

When Sabrina takes on Harry’s debts, she doesn’t plan to have any kind of interaction with him, but that all changes when she finds him in an alley after being severely beaten. She takes him in to care of him and this is when their interactions begin. 

I really enjoyed the premise of this story, as the dynamic is not typical for a Regency novel. Sabrina is five years older than Harry, plus Sabrina is the wealthy one. Not only that, but Sabrina takes Harry into HER home. So their relationship is definitely an intriguing part of the storyline.

My favorite part of this story however is that it is a story of redemption above all else. Sabrina has already grown through all the many challenges in her life previous to this, but that being said, she does go through a small transformation as well in relation to how she views men and relationships. This story is mainly about Harry though, and his growth. He turns his life around completely, with the help of Sabrina and her staff, and realizes he doesn’t want the life he was leading. Because of these details, the story was a slow-burn romance, which was very fitting.

Overall this was a really fantastic Regency era read. Very unique in its premise, and engaging. I look forward to reading the other novels in this series.

**Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and Josi S. Kilpack for the advanced paperback copy in exchange only for my honest thoughts and review!** 

About the Author

Josi S. Kilpack is the author of several novels and one cookbook and a
participant in several coauthored projects and anthologies. She is a four-time
Whitney Award winner —Sheep’s Clothing (2007), Wedding Cake (2014),
and Lord Fenton’s Folly (2015) for Best Romance and Best Novel of the
Year—and the Utah Best in State winner for fiction in 2012. She and her
Lee, are the parents of four children. You can find more information about Josi
and her writing at

Advanced Praise for Rakes and Roses:

“Uplifting…Kilpack flips the typical Regency romance script, with the heroine rescuing the hero. Kilpack’s strong, upright heroine who finds a way to claim her power in Regency society sets this love story apart. This magnetic tale will appeal to fans of emotional romance.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Excellent. Kilpack deftly integrates such topics of spousal abuse and addiction into the
compelling story line of her latest sweet love story. Fans of Mary Balogh’s traditional
Regency romances will be captivated by this quietly powerful tale of faith, compassion,
redemption, and love.”

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