cover image The Rakess

The Rakess

Scarlett Peckham. Avon, $7.99 mass market (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-293561-8

A woman more committed to her ideals than to any of her casual lovers feels her heart begin to thaw in the sexy, tumultuous Regency romance that launches Peckham’s Society of Sirens trilogy. The hedonistic Seraphina Arden is one of a trio of women who capitalize on their notorious reputations to promote gender equality. Upon returning to her childhood home to complete work on her scandalous memoir, Seraphina meets handsome, widowed architect Adam Anderson and wastes little time in propositioning him. Adam initially refuses her offer of a purely physical affair, focused on winning an influential client and securing his children’s futures, but he’s drawn to Seraphina and eventually succumbs to her brazen charms. Adam’s struggle to keep his feelings separate from their relationship and Seraphina’s difficulty accepting Adam’s kindness form the heart of the story. Seraphina’s reluctance to let anyone in stems from her painful past, and her eventual reckoning with her trauma propels this romance into heavy emotional territory. The open, exploratory love scenes sizzle with passion balanced by frank conversations about contraception and the risks of pregnancy. Peckham (The Lord I Left) never shies away from the bleak realities facing women of the era while capably making 19th-century sexual politics feel relevant to today. This rewarding love story is fierce, feminist, and full of feeling. Agent: Sarah Younger, Nancy Yost Literary. (May)