Today I’m giving away a digital copy of The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham because I loved it and I think you will too. Comment to enter to win.
The winner is SONDRA GARCIA
Congrats Linda! Please email me at contact at smittenbybooks dot com to collect your book. Also, don’t forget to include the title in your email and the retailer you’d like it from. You have 3 weeks claim your prize.
Release Date: Dec 11, 2018
Series: The Secrets of Charlotte Street
Heat Level: Hot
What an absolute joy it was for me to discover a historical romance author whose writing surpassed all my expectations. After reading The Earl I Ruined, I immediately put Scarlett Peckham on my author-to-watch list. Watch this space. She is definitely going places.
Okay, let’s get to the story, which is just as amazing as the prose. The story is set in 1754, a century I’m not used to reading about. The heroine is Lady Constance Stonewell, the sister of the Duke of Westmead and the unfortunate victim of some untoward things she wrote about him in a poem which ended up in a gazette is Julian Haywood, the Earl of Apthorp.
Unfortunately for Constance and Julian, the things she wrote about him not only have the ability to ruin his “Lord Bore” reputation of moral rectitude but also derail the bill he has coming to a vote in Parliament. This vote about waterways is extremely important to him for the sake of the citizenry and one he hopes will help restore his fortunes. The fact is Julian is broke and hasn’t been good with his family finances. You’ll see that when you meet his mother and sister. Now with rumors painting him a veritable sexual degenerate, his future is bleak. No decent woman will have anything to do with him now.
That’s where Constance comes in; and is she ever a joy. I say that with fondness. I adored Constance as flawed a woman and heroine as she is. She doesn’t mean to do and say horrible things, she’s simply forthright to an agonizing degree. And when she realizes the damage her poem has wrought, she’s determined to rectify the situation—by offering her hand in marriage. You can imagine how Julian responds to that after she has just confessed to being the author of the poem that’s dragging his reputation through the mud. But alas, this is a romance so in an effort to save Julian’s reputation and his bill, a faux romance you will get.
Constance and Julian are one of those couples who are imperfectly perfect for each other. She’s a mass of contradictions whose emotions runs deep. On the surface she’s this in your face English beauty, unwilling to back down from any fight or crumble under the weight of a slight, but underneath she feels the nick of the cuts and the pain of rejection. The way she treats Julian, whom she nicknamed ‘Lord Bore’, has everything to do with the pain of rejection. What she discovers about herself is that she’s not nearly as smart as she thinks she is. Certainly not when it comes to Julian.
I loved Julian. He’s another one whose emotions run deep and who reveals only his superficial self to the people around him (society people). The fun in this story is watching as the real Julian is revealed, especially to Constance. It’s the peeling of an onion, layer after layer is stripped away and the man she thought she knew turns out to be not what she thought at all and her opinion and feelings about him change (or maybe they don’t). Julian in turn discovers the Constance (I believe) he dare believed existed. The one he yearned for for years and years. Now if only he can bring himself to trust her.
As I stated in the beginning, the writing is a dream. I devoured every word and ended up with a wicked case of prose envy at the end of the book. The pacing is pitch perfect, the story is engaging and exquisitely plotted and each and every one of the characters are as fully rounded and complex as they need to be. For instance, Julian’s sister’s backstory is one I was both delighted and surprised by and I appreciated the way it tied seamlessly into another storyline.
And you may think that because the entire story is based on Julian’s alleged licentious behavior, you get examples of it in spades. Not precisely, although the love scenes are fan flutteringly hot as is the buildup. I certainly could have stood another one of them. 😉 All in all, The Earl I Ruined was a lovely introduction to the writing and storytelling talent that is Scarlett Peckham and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.