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Book Review, Entangled Publishing, Fake relationship, Historical, Opposites Attract, Regency, Romance, Series, Unrequited Love

The Rake and the Rose (Once Upon a Wallflower #3) by Eva Devon


For as long as pamphlet writer Rose Digby can remember, certain men of the ton gallivant about town with their own set of rules. Whether it’s gambling, drink, or women, these playboys of London suffer no consequences. When someone she holds dear falls prey to a rake of the highest order Rose is determined to expose them all. But she needs a way to enter their world undetected…

Alexander Markby, the sixth Earl of Derby is her brother’s closest friend and is positively rife with roguishness. Too much money, too much time, and much too well-endowed…with good looks (obviously). He’s the perfect cover to help Rose infiltrate his world. He has just one rule. In the name of “protecting” her—she must pose as his mistress. The very idea!

Now Rose will have to become what she loathes. She’ll have to flutter her eyelashes, flatter the Earl of Derby, and pretend to be completely, utterly, and totally smitten with him. But it’s for a good cause. Because there’s nothing more dangerously charming—and completely ruinous—than a rake. No matter if he’s friend, foe…or hiding a secret that will shake the foundations of Rose’s world.

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Book 3 in the Once Upon a Wallflower Series opens with the words “I could marry your sister…” followed by a confirmed rake rightfully getting socked in the jaw by the sister’s brother. A promising start to an enchanting story where said rake promises to leave his best friend’s sister alone and then proceeds to break his word.

The story revolves around Alexander Markby, the sixth Earl of Derby, and Rose Digby, a writer who advocates for the rights of the impoverished and downtrodden. While Alex and Rose share a desire to help people, they have very different approaches to achieving their goals. Alex uses his wealth and prestige to support artists and their work, while Rose writes pamphlets to raise awareness about social issues.

When Rose wants to infiltrate an exclusive club to expose the nefarious behavior of certain members of the upper classes, she turns to Alex for help. He reluctantly agrees, but only because he wants to protect her. As Rose delves deeper into the club’s inner workings, she realizes that her preconceived notions about the upper classes and Alex in particular may not be entirely accurate.

While I generally enjoy Eva Devon’s books, I struggled with this one. Rose is portrayed as cruel and insensitive towards Alex, constantly insulting and belittling him. Alex, on the other hand, is a generous and kind-hearted person who secretly helps Rose and her brother pursue their dreams over the years after their family was thrown off his family’s estate. Despite Alex’s unwavering support, Rose remains stubbornly opposed to the idea of being with him other than as a tool for her research.

Ultimately, while the book had its moments of charm and the poetry and readings were lovely, it was not my favorite of Ms. Devon’s works. That being said, I appreciated the author’s depiction of the need for a feminine movement in the Regency era.

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of historical romance novels and enjoy stories with strong heroines and a touch of social commentary, you may enjoy The Rake and the Rose. While the repetitive nature of the story and the treatment of certain characters may be frustrating, the book still manages to deliver a satisfying HEA.

Thank you to Ms. Devon for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectations of a positive review.

Once Upon a Wallflower

The Beast and The Bookseller (2023)
The Duke and the Dressmaker (2023)
3 The Rake and the Rose (2023)


Rake and the Rose

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USA Today bestselling author, Eva Devon, was raised on literary fiction, but quite accidentally and thankfully, she was introduced to romance one Christmas by Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory Novella, The Present. A romance addict was born. She devoured every single Lindsey novel within a few months and moved on to contemporary and paranormal with gusto. Now, she loves to write her own roguish dukes, alpha males and the heroines who tame them. She loves to hear from her readers.

Follow Eva on Twitter and Facebook.

Entangled Publishing

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