Eva Devon’s introduces us to Miss Georgiana Bly and Edward Stanhope, the Duke of Thornfield in her historical romance, The Spinster and the Rake. While they orbit the same upper swath of society their worlds could not be farther apart. A match between the two would normally never happen, but neither Georgiana nor Edward are “normal” by the standards of the day, preferring solitude and a single life over the crushing weight they feel when surrounded by a large number of people. It’s this social disorder that brings them unexpectedly together, where they find both an attraction and a challenge in the other. But a totally spontaneous kiss, caught by Edward’s aunt, results in a betrothal that neither are prepared to handle.
The Spinster and the Rake is a fascinating emersion in the upper crust life of England in the late 1700s. For the most part the characters, setting, and story feel authentic. There were however a few moments that gave me pause, and my subsequent 4 Star review. The thought that a single kiss would force a betrothal, when you have already painted Edward as a Rake in the title, seemed a bit of a stretch, in my mind. I also felt there was some inconsistency in the main characters; reclusive and timid one moment then forthright and strong in the the next. I believe Eva was going for growth in both Georgiana and Edward, but this transition felt forced and not believable.
From the title you would expect The Spinster and the Rake to be your run of the mill bodice ripper. While it definitely has many of the appealing traits of those types of historical romances, it is actually a story with much more depth and poignancy. This is not an enemies to lovers type of story. Rather it is an example of love growing, little by little, through the process of trust; where the most intimate parts of ones being, that are shared with very few, if anyone, are revealed. Eva Devon imparts a beautiful message, woven into a wonderfully entertaining period piece; life is so much fuller and happier when you find that person who sees you as you are and loves you more for it.