Publication Date: August 2013
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Format: Trade Paperback, 265 pgs
Source: Personal Library
I love Anne Stuart's books, no matter if they are historical romance, Regencies, paranormal or romantic suspense. I always find myself getting hooked to the worlds she created; and most often the characterizations intrigued me, be it a feisty heroine or a dark, tortured hero.
Never Kiss a Rake is her latest historical and it is the first book of the Scandal at the House of Russell series. This series feature three Russell sisters and how their life took a turn after the death of their father, who was a shipping magnate.
Bryony Russell, the eldest daughter in the family, decided to infiltrate the house of his father's business partner in disguise as a housekeeper. After seeing the cryptic note her father had left, she wants to find out if Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, is innocent or guilty of her father's death. She has every reasons for this investigation, after all Adrian Bruton seems not to be affected from her father's so-called fraud as he continues to live quite an enjoyable life.
Truth be told, the charming rake isn't at all happy with his marriage life. His beautiful wife knew about his secret past and she uses this to trap him in a hate-filled marriage. To spite his wife, he hires Bryony as their new housekeeper for his wife despises anything that is ugly. She couldn't stand the sight of Bryony as Bryony bears some smallpox scars on a side of her face.
Bryony, on the other end, doesn't care what anyone thinks of her other than finding the truth. And once she has gathers the evidence she'd move on and say goodbye to the Bruton's household.
However, the longer Bryony stays in the household the more she finds herself attracted to the irresistible, charming rake for she notices beneath his wicked charms, there is a hidden depth of character which he doesn't show to the world. Whether it is a pretence or not, Bryony is determined to unravel the truth until a murder in the household shook her world and soon she would be the ultimate target of all.
Reading Never Kiss a Rake was an enjoyable experience to me, as Anne Stuart has once again captivated me with her interesting characters and an adventure filled plot. However, as much as I enjoyed the exchanges and the chemistry between the protagonists, the story didn't wow me like some of her other books, especially her Ice series which leave me with a lot of anticipation. Don't get me wrong, I do like the writing of this book but I just got the tiny bit of feeling that Anne Stuart might have written such story before and therefore the feeling wasn't as great as compared to reading her earlier books the first time. On top of that, I felt that the conclusion was a bit rushed.
That said, I still look forward to reading the other installments of this series. Never Trust a Pirate is the next title of the series and I'm hoping that it'd give me some surprises, and not to mention a sizzling romance with a pirate hero to boot.