Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
Lady Lydia Rothermere has spent the past decade trying to make up for a single, youthful moment of passion. Now the image of propriety, Lydia knows her future rests on never straying outside society’s rigid rules, but hiding away the desire that runs through her is harder than she could have ever dreamed. And as she prepares for a marriage that will suit her family, but not her heart, Lydia must decide what’s more important: propriety or passion?
Simon Metcalf is a rake and adventurer. But for all his experience, nothing can compare to the kiss he stole from the captivating Lydia Rothermere ten years ago. Simon can scarcely believe he’s about to lose the one woman he’s never forgotten. The attraction between them is irresistible, yet Lydia refuses to forsake her engagement. With his heart on the line, will Simon prove that love is a risk worth taking?
Sometimes an author has a hard time fitting an entire love story into a novella. This book was under a hundred pages, but it left me feeling satisfied that the story had run its course and the characters definitely earned their happy ending.
Simon and Lydia have a past together, and it’s not a happy one. Not long after the youthful friendship between the duke’s daughter and the second son of a neighbor turned into something more, the young couple was caught in a compromising situation. Lydia’s father, the duke, immediately wielded his power to send Simon away or risk his family’s ruin. Simon hated leaving Lydia to her father’s wrath, but he had no choice, and spent the next ten years traveling the world, mostly trying to forget the lovely girl who had captured his heart.
After her “almost” fall from grace a decade ago, Lydia is determined to live a life of propriety as the upstanding wife of a nobleman. Her father is long gone, and her brother Cam, the new duke, has spent the last years working hard to clear their family name of scandal. Unfortunately, part of Lydia’s plan is to marry a man she deems “acceptable” but whom she doesn’t love. How could she love anyone, when her heart still belongs to Simon?
Despite having a hard time forgiving Simon for ravishing her and then leaving her all those years ago, Lydia’s heart feels an immediate pull when she sets eyes on him once again. As soon as their eyes meet, it’s as if all of the time apart never happened. One touch of his hand during a dance and Lydia knows Simon’s claim on her heart is as strong as ever. Unfortunately for Simon (and her brother Cam who instigated the reunion between his sister and her former love), Lydia is hell-bent on becoming the staid society matron, denying the desires of her heart.
I love stories where one or both of the characters just KNOW when the other is it for them. In this case, both Lydia and Simon know that. They knew it ten years ago, and they know it now. Simon tries (ok, only a little, but he tries) to stay honorable when Lydia begs him to leave her alone. Seeing her again after all of these years, though, makes him realize how much he lost when he left her, and how much he wants to be the man who deserves her now. Lydia knows Simon is dangerous to her heart, but she can’t bear to be the focus of yet another scandal. She resigns herself to her boring, loveless, upcoming marriage while trying to ignore Simon’s presence in her life. Unfortunately history and chemistry cannot be denied for long, and soon Simon and Lydia find themselves back in each other’s arms again.
Anna Campbell has yet to disappoint me with one of her books, and this is no exception. Even though Days of Rakes and Roses is a short novella, it doesn’t leave you unfulfilled as most shorter stories tend to do. Lydia and Simon’s romance is full of history, passion and emotion. As a sucker for star-crossed lovers, I was rooting for their happy ever after from the first page, and I wasn’t let down.
I give Days of Rakes and Roses by Anna Campbell 4 stars!