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Thursday, June 16, 2016

REVIEW: "Beauty and the Rake" by Erica Monroe


Beauty and the Rake  (The Rookery Rogues, #3)
(Rookery Rogues #3)

Historical Romance (Victorian England)
Quillfire Publishing -- April 21, 2015
Ebook, 351 pages
Read in May 2016
Purchased

Goodreads -- Author Website

RATING: 4.25 STARS

SUMMARY
Once, she was beautiful…
Abigail Vautille dreamed of escaping the Whitechapel rookery and starting a new life, until one tragic night left her scarred and penniless. To save her family from debtor’s prison, she strikes a deal with the rogue who owns her father’s gambling vowels–if he excuses the debt, for two weeks, she’ll give him her body, but not her heart.

Once he was charming…
Inspector Michael Strickland of the Metropolitan Police has always had a way with women. Success comes easily to him, and he glides through life on his good looks and family name. But Abigail lights a passion within him he never knew existed. He sees the beauty within her, not the beast she believes herself to be.

Together, their love is beyond a fairy tale.
After a dangerous figure from Abigail’s past resurfaces vowing vengeance, things take a sinister turn. But Michael will stop at nothing to keep the woman he loves safe. When the stakes are high and the scars are more than skin deep, passion might be the key to a happily ever after. 


THEMES & TROPES
Beauty and the Beast Retelling, Cop Hero, Non-Aristocratic Love, Opposites Attract, Tormented Heroine

MY THOUGHTS 
Beauty and the Rake is a great example of an impulse buy that was worth the rush.  I adore Beauty and the Beast retellings and I saw this book mentioned as being on sale over at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.  Their deal alert post helpfully linked to Redheaded Girl's fabulous review and I knew this book had to be mine.  And, in a rare situation for me, I read it immediately rather than letting it languish on my e-reader.

Abigail lives in Whitechapel with her younger sister and their gambling addicted father.  Her entire life was focused on getting out of the slums until her plans were thrown awry when she was captured and tortured by a serial killer.  She managed to escape, but has been dealing with the physical and mental scars ever since.  Now, her life is taking another difficult turn when she discovers her father is on the brink of being thrown into debtor's prison.  Abigail decides to take advantage of this situation and convinces her father's opponent to forgive the debt in exchange for having her in his bed for two weeks.

Michael is an inspector for the Metropolitan police and is feeling disgruntled with his job and his life at the moment.  His chance meeting with Abigail and her offer to warm his bed seems like an opportunity to escape from his unhappiness for a short amount of time.  It also doesn't hurt that he is very attracted to Abigail.  Beauty and the Rake follows the two weeks that Abigail and Michael interact in his house and, because this is both a romance and a Beauty and the Beast retelling,  it showcases the growing relationship between these two complex individuals.

This is the third book in the Rookery Rogues series and, while I haven't read either of the prequels, I was able to dive right into the world and it didn't miss a beat.  Erica Monroe does a wonderful job of providing insight into the less than savory aspects of Victorian London and the setting really comes alive.  I have been trying to read more historical romances that don't focus on the aristocracy and this worked perfectly for that initiative.  Abigail and Michael both come from humble beginnings and are used to working for survival and their happiness.  This made it very easy to relate to them and their struggles.

What I liked the best about this book was the way that the author played with the familiar aspects of this type of story.  There are plenty of references to the original fairy tale and the Disney movie to make me smile without feeling like the story was following a checklist.  The connections were subtle, but fun to discover.  The most fascinating part was the way that both Abigail and Michael embodied the characters of Beauty and the Beast.  Abigail's scars make her feel like she is a monster while Michael feels guilty for being part of the investigation team that left her vulnerable to her captor in the first place.  I love it when writers play with familiar elements of tropes and give them upgrades which is definitely what happened here.

I just had a fabulous time reading Beauty and the Rake.  It was dark, romantic, and full of things that hit all my buttons.  Abigail and Michael are complicated characters who definitely deserve their happy ending and it does not come easy.  I will be reading more in this series and was super excited to see that I had previously purchased book one.  Yeah for discovering a new to me author with a decent-sized backlist!

FAVORITE QUOTE
"For a reputed rogue, you're damnably hard to seduce."
READING CHALLENGES
2016 Historical Romance Reading Challenge
2016 New To You Reading Challenge

BOOKS IN THE SERIES


A Wayward Man (The Rookery Rogues, #0.5) A Dangerous Invitation (The Rookery Rogues, #1) Secrets in Scarlet (The Rookery Rogues, #2) Beauty and the Rake  (The Rookery Rogues, #3)

6 comments:

  1. Definitely adding this one to my TBR list. Great review but the 'favorite quote' you pulled out sold me. (Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favorite fairy tale - I love it so much I wrote a retelling of it myself.)

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    1. I'll have to check out your story now! That quote just made my day. Abigail is a fantastic heroine!

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    2. Thanks! The first ten chapters are free at http://www.AbbyVegasAuthor.com (or I could send you an ARC - just let me know.)

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  2. I'm just not sure if I would like it. I don't like that he's all, "sure I'll forgive your father's debts if you sleep with me for 2 weeks." It's hard to root for a guy like that. But It must be more complicated than that, since you enjoyed it so much. Yay for impulse buys that turn out good.

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    1. It definitely is much more complicated than it first appears. She is the one who initiates the deal which, for me, makes a difference plus once they get to his house...things don't really go according to their plan. Both characters are extremely complex and "takes turns" acting as the Beast in the story which I thought was different. Definitely not a light and fluffy read though!

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  3. oh I do love authors that add something different especially if its not as popular. I do enjoy the darker HR---they aren't as common as they used to be so I always have fun reading them. I have been curious about this author for quite a while, and your review of this one is leaving me eager to pick her up!!

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