Diane Gaston is one of those authors that when I’ve finished one of her books, I ask myself why I haven’t read more. It’s not for a lack of want. It’s the usual too-many-books-not-enough-time business that I’m sure a lot of you suffer from too. But I so enjoy Ms. Gaston’s writing and her characters, and I really liked the storyline in this book too, something I haven’t read before.
Cyprian Sloan is trying to regain his reputation. He’s been a high-caliber rake for a number of years and he’s tired of the gaming hells and everything else that goes along with being a rake. So slowly but surely he’s making inroads to being accepted by the ton once again. His father and brother have something to say about that at every turn, but Cyprian doesn’t give up. He’s run into an unexpected roadblock, however, by the name of Morgana Hart. He knows she could be his downfall into the depths of debauchery again, but for the life of him, he can’t get her off his mind, nor stay away from her.
Trying to keep one of her servants from throwing herself into the world of prostitution, Morgana decides to teach the girl how to behave as a courtesan so she can be her own woman, choose her own destiny as much as possible, though she has find a real lady of the evening to teach the fundamentals between a man and a woman. Before she knows it, though, three more girls from a local brothel show up at her home wanting to be part of Morgana’s “school.” And she thought she’d seen the last of the man who’d helped her free her maid from the clutches of a man determined to kidnap her for a local madam, but suddenly he’s bought the house next door and is embroiled in her scheme just as surely as she is.
This is actually a fun book to read. The now-and-then banter between Sloan and Morgana is done very well, showing Morgana’s independence and intelligence at the same time. They have their different views on what she’s doing with these young ladies and that makes for a lot of fun too, especially a night at Vauxhall Gardens. There is mystery and suspense to be had also, danger getting too close a time or two. I enjoyed all the characters, including the three girls who wish to become courtesans and I liked how each of their stories turned out.
This is only my second book by Ms. Gaston, but I will definitely be reading more as they come along in that old TRB mountain.
The stakes are high in Cyprian Sloane’s latest game–to reform his reputation as a wagerer, womanizer, and worse–and thumb his nose at the father who’s always despised him. The prize is nearly in hand when Sloane encounters seemingly respectable Morgana Hart, a baron’s daughter, who engages in fisticuffs in Hyde Park and embroils him in her scheme to train young women to be courtesans. The lively and lovely Morgana proves the biggest risk of all, even more dangerous to Sloane’s quest for respectability than the violence of Regency underground threatening to close down her Courtesan School. Morgana makes Sloane long to be the rake again–with her.
Read an excerpt.