Glory and the Rake by Deborah Simmons
Publisher: Harlequin Regency
Length: Full Length (280 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia
Miss Glory Sutton has two annoyances in her life. One: the precious spa she's determined to renovate keeps getting damaged by vandals. Two: Oberon, the arrogant Duke of Westfield—the man assigned to help her find the perpetrators.
Oberon has no interest in this independent, troublesome woman! And Glory couldn't be less interested in the enigmatic rogue!
As they get drawn deeper into the mysteries of the spa, they too must reveal their secrets in order to uncover the truth. And then, perhaps, the legend of the waters will come true!
Whether Queen’s Well is magical for romance or cursed is of little consequence if Glory Sutton fails to reopen the long closed spa. Another little issue is “The Queen’s Gift” that some people make light of and others are deadly serious about. The elusive culprit keeps everyone on edge, but not all for the same reason. The Dowager Duchess is not so much concerned about Queen’s Well reopening as she is about the continual mishaps messing up her plans for her son, Oberon Makepeace, the Duke of Westfield.
“Girlish nonsense” is not for Glory Sutton. She’s the glue that keeps her family together. She sees to the finances, manages the household, and does her best to raise her younger brother Thad. Little unnerves her. She is confident and in control then along come Oberon who makes her unease and stirs up feeling she knows are impossible to give in to. He is a duke of the realm and she is a person of no nobility and moreover trying her best to be a woman of trades—if she could just get the spa open.
Oberon, emotionally turned off since his father’s death some years ago, has all but abandoned his family other than seeing they have a grand life style. His mother, not above machinations to get what she wants, sets in to stir up her son’s emotions, in hopes of his becoming a true son to her again and also give her grandchildren. Oberon, intelligent with keen instincts, is not ignorant of her scheming. His commitments and obligations in London have sharpened his skills in ferreting out secrets, in gauging people’s words, and in testing them for loyalty. He is a master at protecting himself emotionally and physically. Yet he can be witty and charming when it suits his needs.
Glory’s dream to reopen Queen’s Well, once called Aquae Philtri (water of love) seems doomed. As she and the acting magistrate, The Duke of Westfield work together to get to the source of the vandalism, housebreaking, and attempted murder, neither plans for the “magic” of the Queen’s Well waters having any influence on them. The awakening of love with lots of misgiving gets mixed in with danger, and an intriguing back-story that grips the reader’s imagination.
A few of the secondary characters enliven the plot. Thad and his unsavory friends from London, Glory’s Aunt Phillida with her insistence that the well is cursed, gives Glory cause for concern rather than giving her solid support. Randolph Petit, the duchess’s fellow conspirator, is the duchess’s cousin and friend who gives her his unconditional support even though he grumbles at times. He does have a sort of sympathy for Oberon, but not enough to thwart the duchess’s plan. Other characters like Dr. Tibold, Miss Thorpe, the reverend’s daughter, touch the main character’s lives. However, the people in the back-story—long dead—are the ones that keep the mystery and suspense bubbling. Moreover, they bring some twists and surprises to the plot that gives a “rightness” to things—some that have waited a long time to be acknowledged.
Glory and the Rake entertains in true Regency style while giving the reader a special tidbit that involves “The Queen’s Gift”—captivating reading.