Title: The Earl’s Return
Author: Callie Hutton
Series: Marriage Mart Mayhem #7
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 22nd Aug
London, 1819. Four years ago, Darius, the Earl of Redgrave fled London two weeks before his wedding to Lady Mary’s sister and married another woman. Now a widower, he has returned to seek a new wife.
One woman catches his eye . . .
At first, Lady Mary doesn’t recognize the handsome lord as the cad who ran out on her sister. After giving him the cut direct in a London ballroom, she finds herself running into him everywhere she goes, and fighting a forbidden attraction. Not only has Mary sworn off men, Redgrave is so very wrong for her. But she cannot stop thinking of his kisses. Redgrave means to stay away from Mary but it is impossible. Passion between two people who can never be together is a dangerous game.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
My reaction to the last book in this series, The Highlander’s Accidental Marriage, was somewhat fierce, but I liked the sound of the blurb so I thought I’d give this series another try. I’m glad I did, because this is a light, enjoyable Regency with a sweetly forbidden romance and a bad boy who isn’t really so awful after all.
I liked Mary. She’s a little bit older than the other debutantes, is rather sensible and has her own reasons for ignoring marriage. What I most liked about her is that she’s fair. When Redgrave proves to her in lots of tiny ways that he isn’t so monstrous after all, she’s willing to give him a chance. Yes, he humiliated her sister, but since it ended with her sister being ridiculously happy, bearing a grudge isn’t necessarily worth the effort.
I liked Redgrave too. He has his reasons for what he did (iffy though they may be), and although he actually seems to be the one who suffered the most, I appreciated the fact he doesn’t whine and pout and offer up a mountain of excuses about why life is so unfair. He needs an heir, which means he needs a wife, so he sets off to try and do something about it. The fact that Mary is the only woman who catches his eye, makes things a little tricky, but I did like the way he admires and sees Mary for who she really is. He pays enough attention to know when she’s distressed or unhappy, even when those who should know her better don’t notice.
I spent most of this book wondering how on Earth these two would succeed, and I have to admit to a little scepticism regarding some of the things that lead to this point. However, it was nice to see Redgrave have a chance to prove himself, rather than some desperate actions being taken and tantrums being thrown. I could have done without Mary’s sudden attack of the sillys, and I’m not convinced everything would have been forgiven in some quarters quite so quickly, but it didn’t make me roll my eyes too much.
Overall this was good. It’s light enough and easy enough to make for a pleasant Regency read. There’s romance, a touch of heat, a little intrigue and plenty of will-they-won’t-they-get-a-chance suspense to make it enjoyable. I’m glad I decided to give this series another try, and maybe I’ll get around to catching up with some of the others some day.
The Earl’s Return is out August 22nd!
Visit Callie Hutton for more details.