Kathy's Reviews > A Rake's Vow

A Rake's Vow by Stephanie Laurens
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's review
Apr 21, 2012

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bookshelves: historical-romance
Read from August 04 to 06, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Setting: 1819, Northamptonshire

Fate – storm and beautiful woman = marriage;

Patience Debbington – (with her cat Myst), Lady Bellamy’s neice, 26 years old. Patience has run their estates – at first with her mother (dad not around), and later after her mother died – and raised Gerrard. She sees he needs a man’s influence, didn’t find any at home, so is staying with Minnie and then to London for the season with Minnie. Her father was a ‘smooth-tongued, suavely elegant gentleman’ who did not love her mother, and spent very little time at the estate. Her mother felt the opposite – she loved her father, and seemed only to love her children because they were a part of him… she glowed when he rarely showed up, and was depressed when he wasn’t there… she told the kids stories of his looks & dashing actions. And Patience decided if that is love, she wanted no part of it…. She would never marry. She had strict expectations for a man to mentor Gerrard – with characteristics opposite of her father.
Gerrard – 17 years old, Patience’s brother – he is trying to find his place in the scheme of things… loves and is obedient to his sister – and artist, who spends much of his time sketching…
Araminta ‘Minnie’, Lady Bellamy - godmother to Vane, the husband that dearly loved her died and left her wealthy… she opened her house to a host of friends and relatives… and had a special place in her heart for Vane.
Timms – Minnie’s companion/maid/confidante
Lady Bellamy’s menagerie – Edith Swithins (tatter & cousin); Agatha Chadwick and daughter Angela & Henry; Edmond Montrose (writing a play set in the abbey ruins – dramatic); the General (not really); Edgar Polinbrook ( gamester); Whitticombe and Alice Colby (siblings, he’s writing a history of the abbey, she stays in her rooms a lot)
Spencer Archibald ‘Vane’ Cynster – “always knew which way the wind was blowing and what was in the breeze” – instinctively intuitive… good looking. Leaving Devil and Honoria’s church dedication (whose roof he and the Cynster 6 paid for on Honoria’s demand in punishment for the 6 wagering on when she conceived), and a storm is coming upon them. Remembering the Cynster legend, that true love finds them in a storm – and once they give their hearts it is for a long time, Vane uneasily turns out to stay over at Minnie’s home to avoid the rain… and the first person he sees is Patience’s backside, as she is leaning forward looking for something…. And when she stands and turns, he knows he is lost.
At Minnie’s, small things are missing – things that generally wouldn’t be missed right away (small vase, some jewelry, etc)… and there is moaning and lights seen occasionally through the fog at the abbey ruins… Minnie asks Vane to stay (and Vane knows the lid is now nailed on his coffin) to help figure out what is going on. Midway, Minnie’s pearl necklace is taken – the most valuable thing so far, both in monetary as well as emotional wealth – devasting Minnie, as it was the bridal gift from her husband.
Gerrard is taken with Vane… and Patience goes to Vane and insults him by asking him to avoid her brother – he’s too sophisticated, and she doesn’t want him to learn his wastrel ways – and to place her in his debt… he ignores her for a day… but then Minnie sets her straight about Vane and the Cynster’s commitment to family, to doing right, etc. When a few of the men accuse her brother of being the thief (boyish pranks), Vane stands up for him… and Patience tracks Vane down to offer an apology.
And Vane, seeing her innocence and reluctance, starts a slow seduction – kisses… then touching… and then more touching… he reins in his passion… she hurts her ankle, and he keeps her inside, visiting her, cosseting her, and when he stops making passes at her, she is disappointed… She decides that she deserves to feel what he incites (no one else ever made her feel this way)… and she invites him into her bed. They have glorious sex, he assumes they’ll marry, she sets him straight. He leaves, but returns knowing she must have feelings for him and that he just needs to determine what is holding her back. Each time they make love, he asks her to marry him, and she says no… he eloquently asks her, but she says no – if he does not love her, she is afraid things will turn out like her parents, and she’s not willing to risk it. Eventually Vane figures things out – step by step…
Nora Roberts writes how as he relinquishes control of his passions to her, at her invitation and growing confidence, he comes closer to realizing how much he needs her… and when he questions Minnie about her father & mother, and she explains, Minnie counsels him that he needs to give over to her complete trust of his feelings before she can do the same…
It takes a bit, but finally they discover the Whitcombe and his sister are the culprits, and he had been setting Gerrard up look the guilty party… the sister is judgmentally pious, but she is a kleptomaniac, compulsively stealing and hiding things in a Indian elephant statue that when opened is full of sand for hiding things, and her brother was trying to research and locate the friar’s religious treasure, hidden 100 years ago – so all is returned, and Whitcombe learns that the first earl had found the treasure, sold it to build the estate…
And Vane finally tells Patience he loves her, and she agrees to marry him – with the special license he has procured. ahhhh

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