Title: Unmasking the Earl
Author: Elizabeth Keysian
Series: Wayward in Wessex #2
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 15th May
Devastated by the disappearance of his sister, the Earl of Stranraer has gone to extraordinary lengths to find the notorious rake responsible, and enters his household incognito to wreak his vengeance. But his enemy has an unexpected protector—the innocent but headstrong Miss Cassandra Blythe.
Cassie is determined to learn the art of seduction. But she is blindsided by her body’s thrilling response to the wrong man—a mysterious servant who shows up at the most inauspicious moments to spoil her lessons in love with warnings of her imminent ruin. When she learns the handsome servant’s identity and the reason for his deception, she resolves to help Stranraer, but only if he abandons his vow to destroy his enemy.
The earl is sorely tempted to give the meddlesome beauty a lesson in seduction she’ll never forget. But she turns the tables, and he gets his own lesson in forgiveness…and love.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
I think I need to take a break from historical romances, because this one did absolutely nothing for me. Mostly because of the characters. Cassandra kicks things off by acting in a very unlikely way, running around in the dark with two men and not expecting that to ruin her reputation, then meeting in secret with a rake. She’s supposed to be smart, but there were times when I wondered if she had a brain at all.
Then there’s Ned, our earl-in-disguise, looking for his lost sister. His motives may be good, but he has serious anger issues. He has arrogant and condescending moments and can be rather judgemental too, but he is an earl, so while I didn’t like those character traits they weren’t entirely unexpected. His temper, however, was a bit too nasty for me to ever like him much.
Then there are the other men. One, the object of Cassie’s affections, seems to have a refreshing view of female sexuality – until it comes to Cassie, then he’s an idiot. As for the captain… nope. I didn’t like him, at all. Both he and his lady love are welcome to each other, pretending to be noble when really they’re both being selfish.
The plot has plenty of farcical moments that I think were supposed to be funny, turning the mystery into a bit of a romp at times, but the behaviour of all involved and the modern reactions sadly didn’t work for me.
I did, however, love the sense of place and time and all the little touches that brought the English countryside in late spring/early summer to life. The birds and the wildflowers and everything that made it feel like home. That was lovely.
Sadly, that wasn’t enough to win me over. This one wasn’t for me, and I’m starting to think a break from the whole genre might be needed.
Unmasking the Earl is out May 15th.
Visit Elizabeth Keysian for more details.