A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Rake to Rescue Her by Julia Justiss- Feature and Guest Blog

He's never forgotten her. But can he forgive her?

When Alastair Ransleigh sees Diana, Duchess of Graveston, for the first time since she jilted him, he makes her a shockingly insulting offer…the chance to become his mistress. And even more shockingly, she accepts!

But the widowed duchess is nothing like the bold, passionate girl Alastair once loved. Years of suffering at the hands of a cruel husband have taken their toll. And as Alastair resolves to save Diana from the damage of the past, their chance meeting turns feelings of revenge to thoughts of rescue…

Ransleigh Rogues

Where these notorious rakes go, scandal always follows

Julia has been kind enough to take over the blog today with her personal thoughts one 50 Shades of Grey.
Take if away Julia!


Like many of us, I’ve been bemused by the Fifty Shades of Grey phenom, though I can’t speak with any authority about it. I didn’t read the book and won’t see the movie, because the fantasy at the core of it—and the hero type—just don’t appeal to me.

They say in times of economic hardship and uncertainty, people look for security, which might explain why so many can lose themselves in a story where an attractive, commanding man mesmerizes a girl to the point that she allows him to dictate every aspect of her life. If she chooses to obey, even to the point of enduring pain, she doesn’t have to worry about anything—she will be “taken care of.”

Maybe it was growing up a tomboy, or being raised by a strong, independent mother who taught me that a woman could do or be anything. Or maybe it was spending so much of my young adulthood around military men who would be happy to order you about if you let them. But having a guy tell me I could or couldn’t do something always inspired me with the urge to do exactly the opposite.

I would have put up with Christian Grey for about 15 seconds. He’s not the only guy in the world, after all.

Wealthy, powerful and commanding--good. Sexy as sin and drop-dead handsome don’t hurt either. But when I look for a hero, I look for more—I look for a measure of compassion, a healthy dose of respect for the woman who attracts him, and the willingness to allow her a point of view, even if he (initially) thinks she’s wrong.

In my March release, THE RAKE TO RESCUE HER, Alastair Ransleigh has many conflicted feelings about Diana, Dowager Duchess of Graveston. After a courtship in which he celebrated her beauty and virtue in widely-read poetry, she publically jilted him at the ball where he expected their engagement to be announced. Refusing his entreaties to explain herself, she left him humiliated, angry, bitter and disillusioned about women in general.

Buying a commission in the army, he devoted himself to soldiering and to enjoying only the physical aspects of his relationship with women, determined to bury forever any foolish notions of love. But eight years later, when he meets Diana by chance, the attraction and desire fire again immediately, despite his best intentions.

His anger refires, too; though he’s so struck by the sight of her, he can scarcely breathe, she glances at him and walks away without a trace of emotion. He’s not even sure whether she recognizes him.

When he sees her again, he’s torn between cutting her completely, or pursuing her and forcing some reaction. When she seeks him out instead and tries to explain her long-ago actions, acknowledging blame and wishing there was some way she could make up to him for the distress and humiliation, he fires back an insulting offer to make her his mistress—and is shocked when she agrees, then once again calmly walks away.

Ashamed of himself for the offer, surprised that she didn’t immediately slap his face and contemptuously refuse, he knows he should follow her and retract it. But…the intense reaction she still creates in him forces him to admit he’s never really gotten over her. Since there is no way the real woman could match up to the idealized image of the girl he once adored, maybe having an affair with her will end his fascination and break her hold over him for good.

He gives her time to reconsider as well, but when she does not withdraw her acceptance, the need to see her eradicates all second thoughts. And though initially he rejects as unbelievable her explanation for jilting him, as he spends time with her, he becomes less and less sure she merits his righteous indignation.

Little by little, as he frees her to pleasure, he also pieces together an account of her life with the duke—details that reluctantly convince him that her initial explanation, unbelievable as it seemed, might really be true. An affair meant to quickly rid himself of his desire for her soon turns to compassion and a resolve to help her break free from the pain of the past and combat the threat to her future. If only he can so without falling under the spell of a complex woman even more compelling than the girl he once loved.

Strong, compassionate, dedicated to protect the persecuted, willing to admit error, willing to take a chance again on love and trust (and a great lover, of course)—that’s what I call a hero!

Do you agree? What type of hero appeals to you?

My Review of The Rake to Rescue Her

The Rake to Rescue Her (Ransleigh Rogues, #3)The Rake to Rescue Her by Julia Justiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Rake to Rescue Her by Julia Justiss is a 2015 Harlequin Historical publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story is emotional ,very intense, and is historical romance written the the way it should be. I couldn't put it down.

Eight years ago, Diana stunned everyone who knew her when she betrayed Alastair. He was planning to ask for her hand in marriage, but without any notice or explanation she married a Duke many years older than herself.
The only conclusion Alastair could come to was the obvious one. She threw him over a for a title and money.
Returning home to Bath where his sister resides, Alastair is stunned to discover Diana has also arrived in Bath, is now a widow and the mother of a young son, James. To his mortification is would appear his nephew has struck up a friendship with James forcing a confrontation.

Diana promised herself that if she ever got a chance to explain to Alastair why she married the old duke, she would tell him what really happened, plus she is willing to do anything she can to make things better for him. Alastair is stunned by her confession and doesn't believe a word of it, but yes, there was something she could do for him... she could become his mistress. Expecting a face slap, he is shocked into silence by Diana's easy agreement! Thinking this would be a perfect way to purge Diana from his mind and heart forever, Alastair decides to go through it.

But, when he begins to hear unseemly rumors about Diana and her marriage, when old friends beg him not to seek revenge against her, he is determined to find out the truth..
What he discovers is truly horrible and what is worse, Diana is still fighting off villains, and could even lose custody of her son....

This is a powerful story that shows the true strength of character a woman can have in the face of adversity. While so many historical romance novels today bend over backwards to make the heroine a strong, independent woman, in order to please the modern reader, it becomes so contrived, it loses something in the translation.
Here we have a strong woman who finds herself in a nightmare house of horrors, abused in every way imaginable, but finding the strength to soldier on and do whatever it took to keep her son safe. This is a person who feels deeply, who loves with all her heart, and has made incredible sacrifices for her family, all while being shamed in the court of public opinion and losing Alastair, the great love of her life. If this wasn't a high enough price to pay, Diana is quite damaged emotionally and struggles to reconnect to her son. This period of time gave women no rights, they were considered property, so Diana fought back in the only she knew how.

Alastair also suffered in those eight years, shunning any emotions in his relationships with women, and facing the harshest of military battles hoping to somehow keep his mind off Diana. In all these years, despite what he believed about her, his heart never stopped loving her. So, in spite of his reservations, and their painful parting of ways, Alastair rises to the occasion to rescue the woman he has always loved, and always will.

Diana's situation was so frustrating, since she was pretty much at the mercy of men and had little recourse. She could fight back, but the odds were not in her favor. This adds a level of intense suspense that was nearly unbearable.

But, as powerful as her enemies were, they were not match for the power of love. Alastair may have been a rogue, but I think those days are behind him now, as he is transformed by love into Diana's hero... and mine.
What a great story, and so refreshing because it is a departure from the light weight stories featured in so many regency period romances. I loved that the author stayed true to the period in the use of language and customs, which is another thing newer regencies have all but tossed away. I am really impressed with this book! I highly recommend it!

About the author:

 Julia Justiss grew up breathing the scent of sea air near the colonial town of Annapolis, Maryland, a fact responsible for two of her life-long passions: sailors and history! By age twelve she was a junior tour guide for Historic Annapolis, conducting visitors on walking tours through the city that was a hotbed of revolutionary fervor. (Annapolis hosted its own tea party, dispensing with the cargo aboard the "Peggy Stewart," and was briefly capital of the United States.) She also took tourists through Annapolis's other big attraction, the United States Naval Academy. After so many years of observing future naval officers at P-rade and chapel, it seemed almost inevitable that she eventually married one.

But long before embarking on romantic adventures of her own, she read about them, transporting herself to such favorite venues as ancient Egypt, World War II submarine patrols, the Old South and, of course, Regency England. Soon she was keeping notebooks for jotting down story ideas. From plotting adventures for her first favorite heroine Nancy Drew she went on to write poetry in high school and college, then worked as a business journalist doing speeches, sales promotion material and newsletter articles. After her marriage to a naval lieutenant took her overseas, she wrote the newsletter for the American Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia and traveled extensively throughout Europe. Before leaving Tunis, she fulfilled her first goal: completing a Regency novel.

Children intervened, and not until her husband left the Navy to return to his Texas homeland did she sit down to pen a second novel. The reply to her fan mail letter to a Regency author led her to Romance Writers of America. From the very first meeting, she knew she'd found a home among fellow writers--doubtless the largest group of people outside a mental institution who talk back to the voices in their heads.

Her second goal was achieved the day before her birthday in May, 1998 when Margaret Marbury of Harlequin Historicals offered to buy that second book, the Golden-Heart-Award winning novel that became THE WEDDING GAMBLE. Since then, she has gone on to write fourteen novels, three novellas and an on-line serial, along the way winning or finalling for historical awards from The Golden Quill, the National Reader’s Choice, Romantic Times, and All About Romance’s Favorite Book of the Year.

Julia now inhabits an English Georgian-style house she and her husband built in the East Texas countryside where, if she closes her eyes and ignores the summer thermometer, she can almost imagine she inhabits the landscape of "Pride and Prejudice." In between travelling to visit her three children (a naval officer son stationed in Washington, DC, a textiles and design major daughter who cheers for University of Texas at Austin, and a mechanical engineering major son also at UT Austin) keeping up with her science teacher husband and juggling a part-time day job as a high school French teacher, she pursues her first and dearest love--crafting stories.

To relax, she enjoys watching movies, reading (historical fiction, mystery, suspense) and puttering about in the garden trying to kill off more weeds than flowers.


  1. I am in total agreement with everything here! Ms. Justiss' opinions, and the review. The Rake to Rescue Her was my first Julia Justiss book, and I was bowled over! It's a perfect historical romance, no revisionism of any kind. Had I been Ana, I would have told Christian something like: "Whatever", and moved on. I'm sure everybody will get this wrong, but here goes: sometimes I really wonder if there are so many women who want to be bossed around. I just don't understand. But like Ms. Justiss, I was raised in a family of strong women.

    1. I agree with you. I don't know many women who like to be bossed around, so this 50 shades trend is a mystery to me. I came up in an age where women fought long and hard for their rights, so it disappoints me to see young women so fascinated with the series.

  2. Loved this review. And for the author, like you, I also haven't read 50-Shades for personal reasons. I'm looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for the share.

  3. Thanks for your comments Lily, and for stopping by The Book Review today. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.


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