Another blog tour post today – this time for fun Regency romance This Earl of Mine!
Book: This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge by St Martin’s Press. All opinions my own.
Introducing the Bow Street Bachelors—men who work undercover for London’s first official police force—and the women they serve to protect. . .and wed?
Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is done with men who covet her purse more than her person. Even worse than the ton’s lecherous fortune hunters, however, is the cruel cousin determined to force Georgie into marriage. If only she could find a way to be . . . widowed? Georgie hatches a madcap scheme to wed a condemned criminal before he’s set to be executed. All she has to do is find an eligible bachelor in prison to marry her, and she’ll be free. What could possibly go wrong?
Benedict William Henry Wylde, scapegrace second son of the late Earl of Morcott and well-known rake, is in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. Georgie doesn’t realize who he is when she marries him—and she most certainly never expects to bump into her very-much-alive, and very handsome, husband of convenience at a society gathering weeks later. Soon Wylde finds himself courting his own wife, hoping to win her heart since he already has her hand. But how can this seductive rogue convince brazen, beautiful Georgie that he wants to be together…until actual death do they part?
This book has the most ridiculous plot, and yet it manages to pull it off in a really fun and heartfelt way, with a really enjoyable and believable romance! It’s a marriage of convenience, but for reasons I’ve never seen before, and before the end of the book there’s an attempted elopement, a kidnapping, and a stolen submarine… So not your average ballrooms-and-tea society story!
You have to suspend disbelief rather a large way in order to get into the marriage of convenience plot, as Georgie’s plan is to marry a condemned man – any condemned man – so that she can tell her horrible cousin that she’s married, so he won’t keep trying to court her. It’s rather an ill-conceived one, as she’s setting herself up for a massive amount of scandal if she’s discovered, and presumably it would come to light if she ever did find someone she wanted to marry. It’s also rather naive of her to assume that her cousin would just say ‘oh well,’ and give up, but not tell anyone; obviously he doesn’t, and so a large part of the conflict comes from this. However, it’s much more fun than yet another ‘I must take a wife to come into my inheritance’ reason for a convenient marriage, and it sets the tone for the dramatic and madcap events of the novel.
Georgie is a fantastic heroine; she’s capable and witty, but though she’s very savvy about business, she’s rather naive about the murky side of human nature, which does lead her to get into some scrapes. I have a real soft spot for heroines with knives in their boots, but I also liked that she wasn’t flawlessly street-smart, as that wouldn’t have been realistic for someone with such a privileged upbringing. Benedict is just as fun – an ex-soldier with all the cynicism that brings, but with a strong sense of determination and a streak of humour. The two of them fit together so well, and their attraction is evident – I loved the moment when Georgie spots Benedict for the first time dressed as a gentleman!
This Earl of Mine rollicks along at a fine pace, and you find yourself really rooting for the hero and heroine to realise their feelings for each other and make their marriage real. It’s boatloads of fun, and the perfect kind of escapist reading! Four out of five cats!