Abigail Vautille is yet again forced to pick up her
father at a gambling hell; they are suffocating under his
debts, but this time, it's even worse: he lost more money
than they would ever be able to repay and to Inspector
Michael Strickland, no less. Abigail has suffered
disabling injuries at the hands a villain, she is unable
to work, and with no money left, there is only one way to
keep her little sister from going hungry and to keep a
roof over their head. Michael Strickland is a known rake
and when Abigail, desperate, offers him her body for two
weeks to repay her father's debts, Michael accepts.
However during that time, a murderer has escaped the
police and he is seeking revenge against Michael and
BEAUTY AND THE RAKE is the third instalment in the superb
Rookery Rogues series, and while the story has
ties to the previous books as it focuses on Abigail and
Michael, and Ms. Monroe provides sufficient background.
Abigail, although extremely fair of face, is far from
being physically perfect, while Michael is devastatingly
handsome, and it is one of the reasons that make the
story so compelling. Michael has money, Abigail is
extremely poor but her principles are strong, whereas
Michael toes the line between right and wrong: he drinks
too much, he gambles, and does not take his police work
that seriously. However dire her circumstances, Abigail
remains the strong, feisty girl she has always been even
though she is horrified at what she must now do to
survive; there is no other way, but she will not be
pushed around by Michael. Michael, who used to live most
hedonistically, comes to admire Abigail's survivor's
spirit and his attitude towards her changes, his respects
for her grows into more.
Ms. Monroe gives the classic fairy tale a very personal
twist with characters that are incredibly complex, yet
not perfect; nothing is ever black or white in BEAUTY AND
THE RAKE. The author doesn't make excuses for her
characters: it is how they are, and Ms. Monroe doesn't
shy away from realities that might offend our modern
sensibilities. Abigail's story is poignant, but BEAUTY
AND THE RAKE is not melodramatic in the least; it's easy
to relate to Abigail and her desperate situation. In the
beginning, Michael appears and acts like your typical
rogue, but as events happen and he comes to know Abigail
better, he realises where he had erred in the past.
Ms. Monroe's extensive research and accuracy of detail
takes the reader right back to 1832, among the middle
working class and the lowest of the low, those "creatures
of malcontent", which I find refreshing because it gives
us a good look at how real people lived in the Regency
era. The characters are very nuanced, there is a fabulous
suspense where a few surprising twists occur, and there
is of course a fabulous love story with some very sexy
bits. Erica Monroe demonstrates yet again her superb
writing abilities, her profound understanding of human
nature, and gives us a wonderful historical romance that
is wonderfully different from anything out there!
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
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
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
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.