Book - Rakes Wager
Harlequin Mills & Boon
Rakes Wager by Miranda Jarrett
Another wonderful historical from the reliable, articulate, entertaining pen of Miranda Jarrett. Cassia, who runs a gaming house with style, meets up with Richard, who needs a little style to turn him and his crumbling estate into something that befits his new status as a gentleman. A fun story with a touch of Cinderella and Pygmalion (reversed, since it's the guy being transformed), and even Trading Spaces, since there's some fun in fixing up his house.
Cassia and her sisters have inherited a gaming house from their father, a minister who inherited the gaming place from a reformed gamester, and the girls fix it up and make it fashionable, giving profits to charity as befits minister's daughters. Richard, a collier's son, made a fortune in sugar plantations and investmentsnow he's wealthy, but he's still a bit rough around the edges, and has a few secrets now that he's back in England. Cassia understands him as no one else does, and when Richard meets her, the pieces of his life begin to come together. Coming from humble origins and fighting his way to success, Richard may think he lacks the polish of a born-to-it lord, but he has common sense and integrity, and Cassia is just delightful, a minister's daughter who can rationalize running a gaming establishment, and who is capable of making a polished prince out of the collier's son. He needs her, and she needs him more than she will admit. Sparks fly beween these two, and opposites attract like crazy.
Ms. Jarrett creates a wonderful romance featuring two strong and believable characters in a story that is warm and touching. I found the details about gaming establishments fascinating and very well done. I've been reading romances for years, and Miranda Jarrett is one of those authors that I can always rely on for fine prose and fine storytelling.