An epic romance filled with verbal and visual imagery that leaves nothing to speculation. That’s the best way to describe Jenn LeBlanc’s six-part historical romance book with illustrations. Yes, you heard correctly, there are pictures. The story centers around two brothers, Gideon and Perry. One is a Duke and the other a Viscount. Both have their own flaws, and holdups leading different lives as they’ve overcome the loss of their parents and the absence of true love.
Parts 1-4 center on Gideon, The Duke of Roxleigh, whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of the mysterious Francine. She’s been shipped to the past from the 21st Century; think Kate and Leopold…sort of. Bottom line is this unconventional lady, who wishes underwear was in existence in the 1800s, is here to stay and plague Gideon with the deepest emotions he’s ever experienced; which is a challenge for a man bent to the will of propriety.
Parts 5 & 6 are all about the Rake, Viscount ‘Perry’ Trumbull. He’s the carefree brother, determined to stay single forever. That is until the beautiful and scarred Lily appears in his carriage, begging for asylum and for release from her nightmares. The two share a whirlwind entanglement, leaving both starved for each other and wondering how on Earth they can be together when society deems they should live apart.
Both brothers are equally fascinating. They lost their mother at a young age and grew up with different beliefs to guide them. But I absolutely love their loyalty and protective natures! Their female counterparts are the complete opposite of them. As Francine is a modern women placed in a different situation, and Lily is a member of the servant class suddenly vaulted into high society. This story is chock full of excitement and emotion. The emotional experiences of all the characters are what I enjoyed the most. Though some may feel that there’s a ton of internal dialogue, I think it’s perfect. You feel as if you know each of the main characters intimately. As if you’re sharing not just the experience, but every emotional affect the experiences have on the characters.
Of course there are plenty of steamy scenes, tension, and a villainous duo that had me pulling my hair out. Really, I wouldn’t have been nearly as nice as our heroes, but that’s why they’re the heroes and I’m a reader. By the end of the story I was enthralled by Perry and Gideon’s male cousins, who I hope get illustrated tales of their own in the future. So you can catch plenty of excitement and romance from the main group, but the secondary cast is a force of itself as well.
Honestly for a self-published work The Rake and The Recluse stands in a class of its own. I will warn potential readers—this is an epic piece of fiction, and by epic I mean lengthy. So be prepared to read for a bit, but the entire story is worth it. If you’re a romance fan, and enjoy a visual aspect to your reading experience buy this now!