Previously reviewed in this series:
Madame Ruby runs a premier pleasure house in London, where gentlemen come to indulge in their varied desires. But never with Ruby herself.
But for one night, Ruby let her hair down, and visited the compellingly attractive Captain Derek Prince as the delicate Emma Scanton for a night of unforgettable passion.
It's been months since that encounter, after which the Captain sailed away without a trace and Emma is tucked away except for visiting her grandparents on Sundays. Life goes back to normal.
Until Derek returns, falling back into Ruby's life, and her bed, like he never left. Only, he's engaged to another woman, and forces in Ruby's life are coming to a head and she must chose if she wishes to hold on to her life with her family, or become Ruby and only Ruby from now on.
As can be expected from Lavinia Kent, the story is exuberantly sexy. The teaser text includes the phrase "Eloisa James meets E. L. James in Lavinia Kent's deeply sensual Regency romance!" I can't say I agree. For one thing, Lavinia Kent has very strongly established herself as a writer of sensual and steamy Regency romance before now, and two, out of the entire series this one isn't particularly kinky (of course, I don't think E.L. James' claim to fame is particularly erotic or kinky, both of which are generally the intended implication when she's evoked).
The story is definitely charged, though I can't say I'm as convinced of the emotional connection between the two. It's left more as assumed, building as it is on the events of Revealing Ruby. Derek... is lacking in some regards, but there is development in their relationship. We also get cameos of individuals from the previous novels.
There are definitely a few times where the sex made me go "that's not how this works, that's not how any of this works." Narrative choices that were likely made to exaggerate the passion of the moment bother the detail oriented part of me. Some things really do call for even a rudimentary lube, and silk scarves do not lightly tear just because someone hulks out against them. Silk is incredibly strong, that's one of it's well established and valued traits.
The character development that takes place in Ravishing Ruby is different than the others in this series. Ruby's had a hand in all of the other stories, but for all of them there are elements of the unknown and uncertain, particularly in regards to their desires. Derek and Ruby have already met and discovered their mutual passions and desires. Instead the story focuses on who they want to be as people and where they want their lives to take them. Some unexpected twists and coincidence add twists and complications to their story, but it moves towards a happily ever after.
Advanced Reader Copy copy courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley; differences may exist between uncorrected galley text and the final edition.