Another excellent Netgalley Find! Seriously, if you are looking for a way to find new authors without the incredible expense of purchasing new books. If you want to dip your toes into the book review world, Netgalley is the way to go. I have found many treasures there.. Books that I might just glance at but never buy.. If You Give A Rake A Ruby by Shana Galen is one such book.
Set on the edges of the ton, that grey area that says if you are rich enough, pretty enough or have enough money you can get away with just about anything. Otherwise you have to work for it and deal with the consequences and the fallout. Shana Galen weaves a wonderful story about three women, scooped out of poverty into the life of the demimonde Sponsored by an amazing couple they create a place where desire rules and yet, really they live a life of carefully crafted half-truths. innuendo and downright lies.
Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery has dragged herself up from the gutter. A common thief's daughter and yet she refused to become the whore her father wanted her to be. She refused to be sold into Regency England's form of slavery for women. She escaped and was found by the Countess Sinclair. A woman of amazing integrity who was willing to allow the ton to believe her husband was keeping mistresses, in order to give these girls the social cache they needed to succeed. Fallon is now one of the most desired women everyone wants her and yet when push comes to shove it seems no one has had her. She has managed respectability by pretending to be a leading Courtesan. What a way to find your respectability but it has worked for her. She is finally secure and comfortable in her life until as fate would have it a man gets in the way.
Warick Fitzhugh has been disowned by his father for daring to become a spy. Considered a less than honorable career and yet Warick's honor demands he serve. This is a man who sacrifices his all for no other reason than it is the right thing to do. He is not a classic hero, shoot he isn't even all that good looking, but he has charisma.. Warick has to find the traitor who is selling the names of his spy team to the enemy. He has no choice, the queen herself has asked for his help and this task leads him right to Fallon's door. and when Warick and Fallon meet both fall hard.
Ms Galen writes an intricate dance between the ballrooms of the ton and the life lead by the damned. Together Fallon and Warick discover that even they can be deceived by those who are masters at slight of hand. Yet slowly they unravel the puzzle of who the traitor is and who is working for him. Discovering that both of them actually have to face their pasts before they can discover a future is very well done. Amazingly enough their histories intertwine into the present. While they may never have met each holds a piece of the puzzle.
Another interesting twist in this story is Ms Galen's use of PTSD.. we forget that all wars have warriors and there will always be some who have suffered PTSD. There was just no fancy name for it back then.. It was just accepted or hidden away. However that particular time and place demanded it be dealt with. But that doesn't mean it didn't exist. I love when an author makes me think of things like this. This is one reason I have always adored Historical Fiction.. it brings history to life! And reminds us that they were human.
This book works well as a stand alone although it is the second book in Ms Galen's Jewels of the Ton Series. The first being When You Give a Duke A Diamond. The characters from that book were referenced often and it probably should be read first (I know I suggest you start a series at the beginning, whoda thunk it?)
This was an enjoyable read and I think if you are a Regency Romance lover you will enjoy this book.
This review is based on the ARC of If You Give A Rake A Ruby provided by netgalley and is scheduled for release on March 1, 2013