If You Give a Rake a Ruby by Shana Galen

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Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery, is a celebrated courtesan with her finger on the pulse of high society. She’s adored by men, hated by their wives. No one knows anything about her past, and she plans to keep it that way.Warrick Fitzhugh will do anything to protect his compatriots in the Foreign Office, including seduce Fallon, who he thinks can lead him to the deadliest crime lord in London. He knows he’s putting his life on the line . . . To Warrick’s shock, Fallon is not who he thinks she is, and the secrets she’s keeping are exactly what makes her his heart’s desire.

Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks, 5 March, 2013
RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting:  Regency England
Genre:  Historical Romance
Heat Level:  3
Reviewer Rating:  4 Stars

Review by Susan

Three women from dubious backgrounds pose as celebrated courtesans in Shana Galen’s Fallen Ladies series.  The Prince Regent dubs the trio “The Three Diamonds”, an appellation which fosters their notoriety.  Juliette is gifted with the sobriquet “Duchess of Dalliance”.  Lily is named the “Countess of Charm”, and Fallon (aka Margaret) is called the “Marchioness of Mystery”.

If You Give a Rake a Ruby, the second book in the series, tells of the love match between Warrick Fitzhugh, the son of a prominent earl, and Fallon, the daughter of a street whore and a con artist.  Together, they uncover the illicit operations of a crime lord who is behind the plot to kill England’s elite network of spies in His Majesty’s Secret Service.  The story keeps the reader wanting to see if the pair gets their man while keeping them emotionally entangled in Warrick and Fallon’s struggle to keep their hearts safe while giving in to their desire for each other.

Galen takes the reader from the lavish ballrooms of London’s upper crust to the city’s ghettos and rookeries occupied by brothels and gaming hells.  The contrast gives the story depth as the lead characters go where they need to in order to uncover the scheme implemented by an underground crime ring.

Galen crafts intriguing backgrounds for Warrick and Fallon.  The son of a wealthy English lord, Warrick should be a privileged prig, but the author surprises the reader with his rugged nature and his loyalty to England’s Foreign Office to combat crimes being perpetrated by those whose sole intention is to commit treasonous acts against England.  Fallon may not have as lofty an aspiration, but she is equally devoted to her country, assisting her fellow compatriots and using her façade as a courtesan as a ruse to gain access into the private chambers of those set on committing treason.  She is a type of Mata Hari in the early 19th century with the beauty of a siren and the fighting skills of a martial arts expert.

To Give a Rake a Ruby refers to Warrick, who is considered a playboy among England’s ton and to Fallon, who has a liking for rubies, her gem of choice.  They are an unlikely match who make a perfect match.

Twined with elements of mystery, intrigue and romance, Galen holds the reader captive in Warrick and Fallon’s entanglement with a crime lord.  She creates an original storyline with characters whose inspiration comes from several different sources and whose journey takes readers in another direction from where Galen led them in her first book of the series, When You Give a Duke a Diamond.  Anticipate being freshly romanced in To Give a Rake a Ruby from Sourcebooks.

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