Title: The Reckless Love of an Heir
Author: Jane Lark
Series: Marlow Intrigues #7
Genre: Historical Romance
Available: 28th July
“You are reckless, proud, spoiled and everything I dislike!”
For Lord Henry Marlow, the future Earl of Barrington, life is for living before he accepts his duty. No wager is too risky or challenge too dangerous – until a racing injury forces the Barrington heir to return home and prepare for his destiny. But the one thing Henry will not do is bow to his parents’ wishes and propose to his childhood friend and neighbour, beautiful Alethea Forth. And he’ll not put up with her disapproving sister, Susan, either, no matter how much he enjoys their verbal sparring…
Kind-hearted, bookish Susan Forth has always thought Henry arrogant and self-centred, and has never hidden her dislike of the rogue! But this injured, vulnerable Henry reluctantly brings out her natural compassion, and a shocking desire for the man who is expected to marry her sister! A stolen kiss leads to a forbidden passion – and for the first time in her life, Susan knows what it’s like to be reckless – with a man who is finally learning to care.
But when tragedy strikes, their secret love is all that holds them together – and could tear their lives apart…
Source: ARC from HarperImpulse via NetGalley
The Marlow family are back, and this time it’s the spoilt Henry who is about to meet his match, in an opposites attract, forbidden romance that ties itself up in so many knots of angst and possible betrayal that it was hard to see how this could ever be resolved. Yet, at the same time, it’s a steady moving romance between two people who have known each other all their lives, yet never before realised how perfect they would be together.
I liked Susan. She’s a little judgemental and quiet, but she has her reasons for seeing Henry in such a bad light. She loves her sister, even when Alethea seems to do little to deserve it, and she’s compassionate to wounded things. She’s capable and bookish and a lot more interesting than she lets on. It’s no wonder that Henry becomes intrigued by her, and in doing so wants to know more.
Henry is exceedingly spoilt though. He’s a pampered, oldest son whom everyone adores, even though he has done very little to earn such devotion. He has no interest in getting married, doesn’t care that he’s stringing Alethea along, and likewise doesn’t care that his growing feelings for Susan could prove exceedingly damaging to her place within her family. Yet despite all that, he is fun and mostly good natured, and once Susan starts pointing out his faults, he does start to rethink his selfish existence.
Still, it’s very difficult to see how this will all be resolved without something else happening. So, it does. I won’t go into details, but it was a believable way to change everything and turned this otherwise slow-moving but kind of sweet romance into something much more emotional. And that’s the thing about Jane Lark’s historicals, just when I’m settled into reading a fairly enjoyable, if a little dull, romance something comes along to kick me in the heart.
If I’m honest, though, I’m never going to be Henry’s biggest fan. I appreciated how he changed and grew in this book, but he does still have a way to go to fully reform. I also can’t help getting annoyed at the incorrect use of titles that still plague this series (Lord Henry, the earl’s heir? No! He would either have a courtesy title of viscount or baron, or he’d be the Honourable Mr Marlow, and his sisters would be ladies). The sheer weight of relatives on the Marlow side can be a bit overwhelming and confusing too. There are so many of them, and the men have very similar names, and even though I’ve read other books in the series, I still get a bit lost when trying to keep up with them all.
So it’s not perfect. Fans of the series will likely enjoy it, as we get plenty of glimpses of old characters, of both generations. Newcomers can likely muddle along well enough too, as long as you don’t get too invested in keeping Henry’s relations straight. On the whole, it’s an enjoyable read, with two unlikely people falling in love and struggling with their feelings under difficult circumstances. It’s enjoyable, emotional at times, and easy enough to read. If you’re looking for a historical romance that’s high on the angst and dilemma factor, then immerse yourself in the Marlow world and give this a try.
The Reckless Love of an Heir is out July 28th!
Visit Jane Lark for more details.