Only an Earl Will Do by Tamara Gill
Book 1 of the To Marry a Rogue series
ARC, e-Book, 226 pages
Entangled Publishing LLC
July 25, 2016
Source: Received via Netgalley for Review
The reigning queen of London society, Lady Elizabeth Worthingham, has her future set out for her. Marry well, and marry without love. An easy promise to make and one she owed her family after her near ruinous past that threatened them all. And the rakish scoundrel Henry Andrews, Earl of Muir who’s inability to act a gentleman when she needed one most would one day pay for his treachery.
Returning to England after three years abroad, Henry is determined to make the only woman who captured his heart his wife. But the icy reception he receives from Elizabeth is colder than his home in the Scottish highlands. As past hurts surface and deception runs as thick as blood, so too does a love that will overcome all obstacles, unless a nameless foe, determined with his own path, gets his way and their love never sees the light of day…This review was previously posted at Romantic Historical Reviews.
Elizabeth Worthingham and Henry Andrews were wildly in love and she promised to wait for him to come back from his quest in America to bring back a fortune to secure his family home and then they would marry. However, things did not go quite as they planned while Henry was gone and when he returns two years later he finds her a widow and he a not-so-welcome visitor. But Henry has no idea what he did or what happened and Elizabeth isn’t telling. Henry is insistent to find out and to win her back, so what will it take and how will he react when he finds out what Elizabeth is hiding? Will their love survive?
There were a lot of elements to this story that made it more complex than many romance stories I typically read. There is the rekindling of the relationship between Henry and Elizabeth, there is the element of Elizabeth trying to keep Henry from finding out the secret, and then there is an element of blackmail and how to escape from the blackmail. Each of these elements layers on top of the others and together builds depth to this story. The relationship between Henry and Elizabeth I enjoyed through all of its twists and turns, deceptions, and whirlwind romantic moments. While you can surmise from the beginning how the end will turn out there are certainly moments throughout that make you question that notion. The blackmail storyline was good, if a little contrived. I feel like the character had to go through more work than would have been necessary or likely to blackmail the target and to foil the plan seemed a touch too easy and a little bit of a letdown; I wanted a little more drama here and this was one of the factors that brought my review down by 1 star.
There were some detailed romantic scenes – you certainly get a visual, but I didn’t get that creepy, voyeuristic feel that you sometimes can. There are not many of these scenes and it’s definitely in the later portion of the book. I felt that they were well used to increase the confusion for the heroine regarding keeping or telling her secret as well as committing the reader to their relationship – so they didn’t feel like gratuitous sex scenes, but I don’t think it would have been the same story without them.
As for the characters, I go back and forth as to how I felt about them. I liked Henry better of the two main characters. He was loyal and his confusion regarding his lack of welcome from Elizabeth was entirely understandable. He loves her and does everything he can to win her back. Elizabeth is her own worst enemy. Her lies (never mind her terrible ability to lie) have her constantly running in circles. I understand why she made the choices she did, but once they were able to determine what led them to that situation, she just kept making it worse instead of coming clean much earlier in the novel. I wanted to yell at her so many times. Elizabeth has several family members that have a certain amount of influence in the story, but I only feel that her brother had enough characterization to him to stand out. One of her sisters makes a big move during the height of the drama and I think we are supposed to see her as a sort of “modern woman” given that she has taken to wearing men’s pants and all, but I would have liked to have a little more to her. So basically, the two main characters and our blackmailer were well drawn, but the peripheral characters could have used a bit of a boost.
Overall, I enjoyed the story presented here and I will be interested in reading additional entries in this series. I am not sure if the subsequent books will follow the same characters, if they will become peripheral characters in another couple’s storyline, or if it will be entirely unrelated.
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Also by Tamara Gill:
Tamara Gill has written many books (complete listing here), but those in the To Marry A Rogue series include:
Only a Duke Will Do (Book 2 Coming 2016)
Only a Viscount Will Do (Book 3 Coming 2017)
Find Tamara Gill: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads
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