Last Rake Standing, by Jane Fresina

  • Title: Last Rake Standing
  • Author: Jayne Fresina (author website)
  • Published: January, 2011
  • Pages: 78 (PDF ebook)
  • Genre: Historical Romance
  • Standalone or series: Standalone 
  • Why I read it: When the author contacted me directly to read and review this title I was completely hooked by the excerpt!
  • Source: provided by author

Summary: (from publishing page)

In Victorian London, Emma Hale leads two lives. As Le Petite Oiseau, in corset and pink feathers, she’s the reigning queen of the music hall; offstage she’s a prim-faced theatre seamstress. For years these two women have shared one body; now they share something else—forbidden love for a man who could destroy them both.

Marcus Craven, Duke of Penhale, wants Le Petite Oiseau as his mistress, but he’s also sworn to hunt down and revenge himself on the hazel-eyed girl who once shot at him with a dueling pistol. On this winter’s evening when he finds both women in his path, he suddenly faces a dilemma.

What exactly does Marcus want? The fiery, passionate actress or the quiet “mouse” hiding in her shadow?

Perhaps this notorious rake wants them both.

My thoughts:

I love a good mistaken identity/disguise plot, I’ve adored so many from The Scarlet Pimpernel  to Eloisa James’ The Taming of the Duke and I know I’m not alone since so many great ones have been written, and Last Rake Standing should definitely be added to the list!

Reading Last Rake Standing was a thrill, not just for the edge-of-your-seat excitement of worrying about Marcus discovering Emma’s dual identities, and her super-sekrit-past-run-in with him, but also for the sultry lusty scenes. There, I said it! This delicious historical romance had quite the steamy side as neither Marcus nor Emma were shy, I didn’t know how lusty this ebook was going to be, but now that I’ve shared you can be warned – to enjoy it too! 

The story opens with a deftly described look at life as La Petite Oiseau, I really felt like I was on the stage with her, in the glaring bright lights, looking out into the dark, anonymous audience, but knowing all eyes were on her. That theme of detailed descriptions went throughout the book, whether it was characters’ emotions, thoughts, or the Victorian setting. The only thing that remained a mystery was did Marcus know about Emma’s secret identity? Did he recognize her from when she took her brother’s place years ago in a duel at dawn before leaving for the continent? Has Emma cared about him for all those years? You’ll just have to read to find out!

Emma and Marcus’ story was quite short, so while overall I enjoyed this sexy romp through Victorian England I just wish it had been a bit longer with some of the background more developed and some of the revelations more fleshed out. That said I’m looking forward to checking out some of the more full length reads from this author!

Grade: B-