Scarlett Peckham’s The Rakess is an unforgettable titan of a romance and I think I’ll be unpacking it for a while.
Plot-wise, it’s about the meeting of the scandalous Rakess Seraphina Arden and the widower and single father architect Adam Anderson in Cornwall as Sera writes her memoirs and Adam works on a renovation. Sera wants Adam but not a relationship. She’s vehemently opposed to those and sends her lovers packing if she catches the slightest bit of heart eyes.
And Adam would like Sera and a relationship, but he’s dealing with the loss of his wife and his work and familial obligations, which are incompatible with a relationship with a scandalous woman.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself that women are all too often unjustly treated, that their bodies and their choices are unfairly judged, restricted, and controlled, that they are condemned for the same things that people often overlook in men, as Peckham writes, then you might appreciate this book. Because The Rakess doesn’t pull its punches and it offers a compelling indictment of so-called polite society—how it can make “cowards” of people—and a rousing and heartstirring celebration of bravery when it comes to love and making good decisions for ourselves. You know: the decisions that make us happy.
Please also read this book for its sisterhood of Sirens—devoted female friends who make use of their notoriety for the good of other women; D I R T Y bedroom scenes that were much enjoyed; and a tautly maintained level of suspense regarding how the leads could end up together. I’ve been needing a good grovel and this one delivers.
Though I did feel like The Rakess is a tad light in the conclusion—a couple of things felt rushed and needed more deliberation—everything else about this book sang to me. Absolutely soared.
CW: alcohol abuse; loss of newborn, loss of wife, imprisonment of a spouse in mental asylum.
The Rakess is out now. Thanks to Avon and Edelweiss for my complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.