When thirty six year old Robert Holkham,The Earl of Marcham, decides to leave his decadent ways and find a wife, it’s no wonder that he finds none of the beauties in the neighborhood appealing. What does an eighteen to twenty year old have in common with a grown man? Begetting an heir might be fun, but what about the daylight hours? Robbie wants a companion, someone to grow old beside, someone who makes him happy. He is sick of being chased for his title and his money. He’s tired of the scheming mamas and their daughters. It’s past time for him to retreat to his country estate, Holme Park, cease his London ways of gambling and wenching, settle down and begin a family.
Enter Miss Georgiana Blakelow, a twenty nine year old spinster who would rather read books than dance. Someone who can barely see through her thick glasses, who stuffs her chestnut hair inside a thick cap, who wears loose fitting dark clothes that make her look even older than her real age – A women who askews love and vows never to marry. This same woman has a bone to pick with Holkham. Her father had gambled away Thorncote (the estate right next to Holme Park) to the Earl in a card game. How can Marcham put the siblings out from the only home they have ever known? Has he no heart? If only he’d lend her some money to fix up the estate, then she could pay him back from the proceeds. But a bet is a bet, and a voucher is a voucher, so Georgiana and family have three months to settle their affairs and find a new place to live.
Luckily a lot can happen in three months – An Earl can fall in love, even with a woman who hides her beauty behind a ridiculous get up. Yet, the disguise is for a reason and Miss Blakelow can’t afford to fall in love with anyone, especially not a Holkham. Unfortunately, the harder Georgie resists the Earl’s attentions, the more alluring she becomes, and the more time she spends with Robbie, the harder he is to resist. It’s all a game of cat and mouse.
The dialogue is clever (at times a bit naughty and suggestive), the characters come alive, the supporting players contribute a significant role to the plot development, and the reader has a lot of fun watching the romance develop between such an unlikely match. The reasons for Miss Blakelow’s disguise is convoluted and, at times, confusing, but the ultimate love story remains intact. Despite the Earl’s reputation as a rake and Georgiana’s supposed ruined reputation, there isn’t much sex besides a few stolen kisses. In the middle of the book there is a bit of a drag where some of the plot could have been cut, but this four hundred plus page novel was swiftly read. The Bluestocking and the Rake by Norma Darcy is an entertaining Regency Romance, sure to delight fans of this genre.
Four stars for a fun romp.
I would like to thank Montlake Romance and Netgalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.