Ever since Catherine Evens has met Earl of Kerrick, best friend to her new brother-in-law, she has had a crush on him and new, he is the one man for her. During her first season Kerrick is also starting to see Catherine in a new light and finding he is searching out her company more and more, although he is 11 years her senior. Just when he decides to make a move, the Earl of Brantford calls in an owed favor for the War Office. Kerrick is suddenly forced to pay court to Rose, the daughter of Lord Worthington who is under investigation for alleged traitorous deeds towards the crown. It is supposed to be a brief courtship but outside forces seem determined to force Kerrick to marry another.
Publisher and Release Date: Susanna Medeiros, October 2014
Time and Setting: Regency London
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 3 stars
Review by: Claudia
Beguiling the Earl is the second book in a series but it works as a stand-alone. I haven’t read the previous book and although there were a couple of times I felt I’d missed something, that did nothing to reduce the overall impact of the story.
Catherine Evans has been in love with the Earl of Kerrick since she met him, but he has seen her only as the best friend of his sister-in-law. She hopes to change that during her first season and indeed, during some outings Kerrick starts to realize that his feelings for Catherine are more than friendship. Before anything further can develop between them, duty calls. His last order from the War Office is to spy on Lord Worthington, who is a suspect in a fraud case. To get more information on Lord Worthington and to find some evidence he is ordered to pay his addresses to Lord Worthington’s daughter Rose – even if it means having to court her and risk his growing relationship with Catherine.
One of the biggest troubles I had with this story was the plot element that has Kerrick working for the War Office. During his work investigating Lord Worthington, we never get to see him do anything of value besides a mention of searching the Worthington’s office for incriminating evidence. So Kerrick seems more a spy in name than in fact. For someone who seems to be highly thought of by his colleagues, he is surprisingly passive, and in all, he doesn’t really stand out as a character or as a hero. He is rather bland and comes across as average and not really note-worthy.
Catherine on the other hand is a practical and calm character with a no-nonsense attitude. She almost does more for the War Office – and the plot – than Kerrick when she befriends Rose and gleans information about the Worthingtons.
On the whole, the spy plot is not very extensive and very vague – there is no real depth to it and it seems more to just be a frame for a forced betrothal and a way of artificially creating tension and conflict between the main couple. Although Catherine and Kerrick are a sweet couple, there was a lack of development in their relationship and I felt I never really learned how or why they fell in love with each other.
I did, however like the fact that when Catherine works out for herself where the problem lies, she does not act rashly or get herself into a perilous situation. She talks with Kerrick and asks questions and, thank God, he trusts her enough to answer honestly. True to her character, Catherine could handle the truth and tried to support Kerrick in every way she could. This is the most beautiful thing in this book – that the couple works together to solve a problem and they trust each other enough to not let there be a big misunderstanding.
At the end, it becomes quite clear who the next couple in this series will be and this is interesting enough for me to look forward to the next book.
All in all, Beguiling the Earl is a nice read about a sweet couple who manage to get along without any big misunderstandings, but unfortunately, their relationship lacks depth, development, and any real spark between them.