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Never Kiss a Rake (Scandal at the House of Russell #1)

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  749 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Anguished by death. Driven by revenge.

Bryony Russell and her two sisters are left destitute by the disgrace and unexpected death of their father, a wealthy shipping magnate. He left a cryptic note, and Bryony is determined to find the real villain and clear her father’s name. In disguise as a servant, Bryony infiltrates the home of her father’s business partner to find pro
Paperback, 265 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Montlake Romance
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Duchess Nicole
"Oh, my love," he said softly, "you terrify me."

Oh, the wonderful world of an Anne Stuart novel...

Despite the fact that Stuart's typical ultra gamma hero was lacking a bit in his gamma-ness, this was still a fantastic story. Bryony, the heroine, is in search of the man who killed his father, stole his money, and left his daughters not only destitute, but shunned from society due to the cloud of suspicion hanging over their family name. The Earl of Kilmartyn was his business partner, and due to
Anne Stuart is in a league all her own, so when reading a book written by her, it almost requires it’s own rating system. Never Kiss A Rake, while certainly not her best work, is still written by this master storyteller and therefore is still well worth your time and money.

Never Kiss a Rake is the first book in the highly anticipated trilogy featuring the Russell sisters. Their father has been accused of stealing money from the company that he had part ownership of. A shadow of shame has been ca
Robin (Bridge Four)
Anne Stuart has become my go to for a quick romantic read. I like other novels in this genre but most of the books I’ve read by Stuart have been roughly 250 pages. Just enough for me to get to know the characters, have a little fun with the story, indulge in a sex scene or two and then move along without too much filler and fluff to spoil my appetite.

Bryony is the eldest daughter of three in the Russel family. After the disgrace and death of their father who is thought to have stolen money from
Beanbag Love
I had a sudden craving for historical romance and, lo and behold, an Anne Stuart trilogy was advertised on my Kindle. I decided to try it.

Now, I’ve only ever read one other Anne Stuart book, but I do like her writing. I think she creates improbable, but satisfying stories and I figured I’d be getting something I could at least enjoy for a few days.

I was right, but only just. The premise of the series is that three sisters – heiresses to a shipping magnate’s fortune – are ruined and thrown to the
Updated 2 Oct 2013 to include link to separate review at All About Romance

Never Kiss a Rake is the first book in a new historical trilogy from Anne Stuart which features the three Russell sisters, Bryony, Maddy and Sophie.

Their father, a renowned and wealthy financier, has died suddenly and in mysterious circumstances, leaving them destitute. Based on the scrap of a note she has found, the eldest sister, Bryony, believes her father was murdered and that it is likely that one or more of his busin
2.5 Stars. Now going into this review I want to say I have nothing but mad love for Anne Stuart and some of my most treasured books in my collection have her name on them. But I didn’t love this book and I really wanted to. I didn’t think that Bryony or Aiden were particularly likable characters. Bryony, more for her attitude about her pox scars and how it affected her perception of herself. I mean, I felt that drug on too long in the book. Aiden, who is married btw, for his part was a one dimen ...more
28yo scarred heroine takes the job as the housekeeper for Irish lord Hero & his beautiful wife.

She wants to investigate his involvement in her father’s death and the huge fraud scandal that put the blame on her father. She doesn’t anticipate the inimical relationship he has with his wife nor his interest in her. Heroine doesn’t find much opportunity to look for evidence as she gets busy with household matters and Hero seems to be home more than usual. Her fascination with him also distracts
Lelyana Taufik
Buddy read with Dhini and Funzee

Adrian, Earl of Kilmartyn

He's a passionate, sexy like hell Irish man, but he's having the most unhappy marriage. With the most beautiful Lady in London as a wife, he should be happy, but yet, he felt trapped with a loveless , unfaithful, bitchy wife for 10 years!

Until he met his pretend housekeeper, Bryony!
And the spark begin, the fire between them they can not resist.

She tasted of the redemption he could never have, the fiery hell he was heading for. She taste

this review was originally published at Dear Author

Dear Ms. Stuart:

In 2010, you released two enjoyable historical romances in yourThe House of Rohanseries(not to be confused with the Kings of Rohan). The two books,RecklessandRuthless, featured classic Stuart heroes: gorgeous, sexy men with power and wealth who nefariously seduce spinster heroines whom they then fall deeply, irrevocably in love with. My favorite of the twoRohanbooks isRecklesswhose hero, Adrian, is a sinfully magnetic rake.
Jacob Proffitt
This was a pretty by-the-numbers Victorian romance with most of the roles going as you'd expect. The not-yet-thirty virgin enters the house of someone she suspects of ruining her father—someone titled, rich, and world weary. Naturally, sparks ensue. And intrigue. All the latent trust issues spark about and, of course, the two are inevitably drawn together in the end.

Add a plot that was, at best, serviceable and you have a book that meets expectations without really trying for better. The biggest
This is my review of the AUDIO version

Never Kiss a Rake is the first book in a new historical trilogy from Anne Stuart which features the three Russell sisters, Bryony, Maddy, and Sophie. Their father, a renowned and wealthy financier, has died suddenly and in mysterious circumstances, leaving them destitute. Based on the scrap of a note she has found, the eldest sister, Bryony, believes her father was murdered and likely that one or more of his business partners was responsible.

You can read the
Suzanne the Mighty (Under the Covers Book blog)

Miss Bryony Russell is determined to clear her disgraced father's name and proof that his carriage accident was no accident at all but murder. Left with only a cryptic note from her father, she decides to infiltrate the house of his business partner, Adrian Bruton, Earl of Kilmartyn, the only person who wasn't left penniless from her father's supposed fraud. But posing as his housekeeper is harder than she expected, especially when she feels a helpless attraction and connection, one he seems to
Booklover, Indianapolis
(Sep) 2.5*

I really love Anne Stuart. I think her Gamma heros are great, her heroines usually don't annoy me, and most of what I've read I've really liked. So it pains me a bit to give this book less than stellar marks. It's not that it was bad, necessarily, it just wasn't good.

The storyline is pretty similar to a lot of her other historicals - not very pretty but strong will heroine infiltrates hero's house to try and figure out if he was involved in the mysterious ruination and subsequent deat
Carrie (Rotten Banana)
Reviewed at Red Hot Books

Anne Stuart is one of my favorite authors who has been at the game since the 70’s. I love her because she writes such deliciously dark unrepentant anti-heroes unlike any other. Never Kiss a Rake is the first book in a historical romance trilogy about three sisters who go into service in the households of very bad men in order to discover who was responsible for their father’s downfall and death.

After finding a mysterious note left
Sep 02, 2013 Tin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Disclosure: I received this review copy through Netgalley. Thank you to Anne Stuart and to Montlake Romance for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.

* * *

Bryony, Maddy and Sophie Russell are the daughters of the disgraced shipping magnate, Eustace Russell, who died under mysterious circumstances after he was found guilty of embezzlement and caused a nationwide panic, which almost toppled the banking industry.

Now orphaned, penniless and with nowhere else to go, the sisters are plotting
Jo  (Mixed Book Bag)

Backstory: Three sisters, a father who they think was murdered, stolen money, and three suspects.

Trope: Pretending to be a servant to gain entrance into a household.

Plot: Bryony goes to work for Adrian Bruton, one of the suspects and her Father’s former partner. He has problems and a secret but not the one she is looking for. Someone wants him framed and her dead. Add a wife who is holding a secret over Bryony and hates Adrian.

Writing: The story moves smoothly and builds to a satisfying conclus
Lea's Audiobooks Hensley
My comments from AudioGals' discussion:

I finished listening over the weekend. I thought Xe’s choices in performing were perfect especially when it came to the use of accents/non-accents. I did wish Kilmartyn sounded a little less rakish in the first third of the book but Xe was performing the written word faithfully. After all, rake was part of the title and, true to Anne Stuart, she doesn’t hesitate to make her heroes sound a bit too sleazy if it fits her purpose.

After the House of Rohan series
May Mostly Romance
Sorry to say that I'm quite disappoint in this book. Except for the fact that the hero married someone else at the beginning of the story, almost all components are what I love in romance.

A hero with dark past & reputation, who ruthless enough to seduce his own housekeeper. But somehow I cannot connect with the characters both the hero and the heroine. Bryony, the heroine, disguises as a housekeeper with intention to find the truth about her father's death. But throughout the book I barely
M.V. Freeman
I read this book via Audio-- and it was delicious. Yes. Delicious-- and I will tall you why-- The narrator Xe Sands did a beautiful job with the accents and characters...but I digress.

Never Kiss a Rake follows the story of Bryony Russell, scarred from small pox is the eldest of three daughters of shipping Magnate who died mysteriously. He left behind a scandal and an odd note implying he'd been set up, and telling them not to trust anyone.

Destitute and determined to find out who may have kille
Note to self:

This is 1st book in new series and pretty unexciting with little steam. Try next book and hope it is better.

Narration was done in American accent with H dialog in Irish (very slight accent) and dialog of h in British accent (very slight to no accent). The secondary characters were very good. The narration was very fast except when the H was speaking.

Book-Grade C & Narration Grade C+

Alisi ☆ needs to stop starting new books ☆
My reaction when finishing this book:

There's just so much NO going on that I need at add:

So, the bad (it's all bad):

1) Relationship - What relationship? There was no relationship. Hell, he was still married and she thought he killed her father. If that wasn't bad enough, how about the part where his wife is murdered?

All that aside, there is no relationship. No courting. No nothing. The time they spend together is very small and fraught with the frantic (annoying) thoughts. The sex scenes are ju
I won this book through Goodreads First Reads. I was excited to get it, because normally I love Anne Stuart. This book, however, no. Just no.

Here's my notes as I was reading the book:
pg 50: I find this instant sexual fascination of Adrian Burton with his new housekeeper to be completely unbelievable
pg 166: omg, this book has me rolling my eyes over and over again
pg 236: Probably not a promising sign when they're having sex for the first time, and the main thing I can think is, god, he's an ass
Elis Madison
It’s always a treat when Anne Stuart comes out with a new historical. The Rohan series reveled in sinister, tormented heroes and naïve-to-the-extreme ingénues. This one is a radical change, but it’s great in a new and different way.

The Russell sisters have been left orphaned, penniless, and with a sullied family name that renders them (at least the two who could have hoped to marry) ineligible to gentlemen of their former social class. All because their father, a successful but rather unlikeabl
This is a solid 3.5star book. It had all the signs of being different and interesting, but somehow makes a mess of it with mystery murder subplot. It's as if this storyline was added just to get the heroine into the house as the housekeeper, and it was half-heartedly completed to get certain inconvenient people out of the way.

I really enjoyed the hero, and he managed to be unabashedly sexy and gamma-hero like. Byrony, was a contradiction and her motives however explained didn't feel legit. I'm n
Bryony, poses as a housekeeper in Adrian's home to determine if he murdered her father. Adrian is married to a hateful woman, but he is still married, I was uncomfortable with Bryony being intimate with Adrian while his wife still lived in the house. The story and characters are nothing extraordinary, I feel like I've read this story before. Adrian is a handsome, womanizing rake who falls in lust with Bryony at first sight. Bryony has low self esteem due to small pox scars on her face, her mouth ...more
Shabby Girl ~ aka Lady Victoria
If I could pick one word to describe this book it would be disappointing. I absolutely love Anne Stuart, I adore her books, but this was just so ordinary.

To be honest if the hero hadn’t been so bent on being a bad boy and ruining our heroine, I wouldn’t have even have thought it was Anne Stuart.

To me, it just wasn’t anywhere close to her usual standard. *Big sigh* Not that I think it was bad … it was just … I don’t know … ordinary. I will still get her next one and hope it is a bit meatier tha
Alissa Tsaparikos
This novel can be considered a historical romance as well as wickedly fun and entertaining. When I first read the title I was definitely intrigued. There's nothing I like better than a good romp with the old-school bad-boy trope of the rake. And let me just say, I was not disappointed. This story had all the makings of what pluck a romance out of the myriad of typical, overdone, and cliched bad writing and sets it apart as something truly worth reading.

Romance so often has a bad rap for not bei
Interesting story, murder mystery, romance,Ictorian rather than Regency, first in a trilogy about 3 sisters whose father, dies in a carriage accident, is killed, murdered, that is part of the mystery. Heroine was pox marked at 12 on one side of her face, and after that her mother shunned her, told her she was ugly, and her family hid her away, so of couse she thought she was ugly. However "hero" takes one look at her in a mosy houskeepers outfit and is interestede. She is pretending to be a hous ...more
The strength of this book was the characterization and their interactions. I really like the way this author presents male characters, who end up falling for the heroines in spite of themselves.

That's true in this book, as Kilmartyn is in a loveless marriage with an evil, blackmailing wife (who fortunately is seldom on the page). Neither is faithful to the marriage and Kilmartyn is supposedly a rake. Now when the hero is a rake this puts an extra burden on the author, in my opinion. I need to k

Check out my other reviews at Little Miss Bookmark!

When I first received this book last year I tried picking it up and I just couldn't get into it. So I decided to put it down and try it again another time. Unfortunately, it just kept getting pushed back further and further on my reading list because I was really kind of dreading picking it up again. What happened if it was just not a book for me? What if I wasted my time on it? Well, thank the heavens, that isn't what happened. I ended up reall
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Anne Stuart Fans: Scandal at the House of Russell series 13 25 Sep 30, 2014 12:49AM  
  • A Tryst with Trouble
  • How to Master Your Marquis (A Princess In Hiding, #2)
  • What an Earl Wants (The Redgraves, #1)
  • A Bride by Moonlight (Fraternitas Aureae Crucis, #4)
  • Sins of a Ruthless Rogue (Sinners Trio, #2)
  • A Man Above Reproach
  • My Beautiful Enemy (The Heart of Blade Duology #2)
  • Fool Me Twice (Rules for the Reckless, #2)
  • Masquerading the Marquess (Lords of Intrigue, #1)
  • The Seduction of Samantha Kincade (Dangerous Men, #1)
  • When She Said I Do (Worthington, #1)
  • The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (MacKenzies & McBrides, #6)
  • The Captive (Captive Hearts, #1)
  • Lord of Wicked Intentions (The Lost Lords of Pembrook, #3)
  • For the Love of a Soldier
  • Seduction & Scandal (The Brethren Guardians, #1)
  • Nothing But Velvet (Litchfield, #1)
  • When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London, #1)
Anne Stuart is a grandmaster of the genre, winner of Romance Writers of America's prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, survivor of more than thirty-five years in the romance business, and still just keeps getting better.

Her first novel was Barrett's Hill, a gothic romance published by Ballantine in 1974 when Anne had just turned 25. Since then she's written more gothics, regencies, romantic sus
More about Anne Stuart...

Other Books in the Series

Scandal at the House of Russell (3 books)
  • Never Trust a Pirate (Scandal at the House of Russell, #2)
  • Never Marry a Viscount (Scandal at the House of Russell, #3)
Black Ice (Ice, #1) Ruthless (The House of Rohan, #1) Cold As Ice (Ice, #2) Reckless (The House of Rohan, #2) Ice Blue (Ice, #3)

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