From the blurb:
Ethan Silverton, the Lord of Edon, is very content with his life. He’s carefully sculpted it so that everyone thinks he’s a notorious rake. For years, he’s worked hard to build his reputation to secure his place as the most undesirable bachelor in London. And it’s worked. No decent lady will have him.
But one simple error in judgment has just sealed his fate. His intention was to dissuade a horrid mother from matching him with her equally horrid daughter. Seeing no one but Lady Catherine without a dance partner, he tells a lie. He approaches Lady Catherine as if they are betrothed, and the ploy works. The horrid mother and her daughter abandon their pursuit of him.
But Ethan’s mother spies his ploy and is so relieved that she’s found a way to marry him to a reputable young lady that she tells everyone of their engagement. To his horror, word spreads and it’s his duty to see the lie through. This is the worst thing that can happen, and no one but his mother is happy about it. Not Lady Catherine. Not her doting father. Not even Ethan. But his mother is sure it’ll all work out…eventually.
This book was a pleasure to read. My favourite element was the characterisation; such vivid and wonderful characters. I am sure we all know someone exactly like each one. The man who pretends to be hard and bad to the outside world, but inside is nothing like that at all – bringing out the protective side in any woman. The mother who understands her son well enough to know she will never get the grandchildren and family life she desires without taking extreme measures to stop her son continuing to destroy his life, and who in the process manages to give him everything that he never even knew he wanted:
“You were mentioned in the Tittletattle again.”
His ears perked up at the mention of the scandalsheets. “I was?”
“Don’t act so pleased.”
He stopped smiling and gave her a solemn nod. “You’re right. I have behaved abhorrently.” After a pause, he added, “What did I get caught doing?”
Then there is the insecure lady who dreams of a husband and a wonderful family life, but she is too scared to reach out and take it. And her overprotective father, who treats his precious daughter like she is made of cotton wool, who lavishes her with wonderful presents and shopping trips, and who would duel to the death rather than see her hurt in any way.
“What a terrible thing it is to fall under wrath of a protective father,” he mumbled as he rushed through the process of removing the fencing gear.
“I’m sorry, my lord. Did you say something?” the valet asked.
He shook his head. “Not of any consequence.” What did any of it matter? He was doomed no matter what he did. Between his mother and his father-in-law, his only means of escape was death. And given his young age and health, he feared death was a long ways off.
Just as in real life interactions, these character types make you want to shout and scream. The author throws characters together with explosive consequences. It’s obvious what each character needs to do, but you’ve no power to influence them, but have to sit back and trust that the author will lead you to a satisfying ending, as she does.
I loved the backdrop of Regency London’s society and the balls of the ton, where desirable husbands or wives are paraded, sought and found. This is a story in which love, money, reputation and banter are sprinkled about in plentiful quantities, and in which lies and deceit produce an emotional, tender and at times raunchy story of how a fake-rake was finally tamed. The author expertly explores what happens when two people who seem so very different are forced to marry each other, creating a wonderful story of love against the odds.
I very much look forward to reading the next book in this series, which the author has set up through the introduction of Ethan’s good friends Agatha Lyons, Lady of Richfield, and Mr Christopher Robinson – both intriguing characters that I can’t wait to learn more about.
A Most Unsuitable Earl is available now from Amazon; click on the book cover below to visit the store.