The reigning queen of London society, Lady Elizabeth Worthingham, has her future set out for her. Marry well, and marry without love. An easy promise to make and one she owed her family after her near ruinous past that threatened them all. And the rakish scoundrel Henry Andrews, Earl of Muir whose inability to act a gentleman when she needed one most would one day pay for his treachery.
Returning to England after three years abroad, Henry is determined to make the only woman who captured his heart his wife. But the icy reception he receives from Elizabeth is colder than his home in the Scottish highlands. As past hurts surface and deception runs as thick as blood, so too does a love that will overcome all obstacles, unless a nameless foe, determined with his own path, gets his way and their love never sees the light of day…
Elizabeth hid a repulsed shudder over Lord Riddledale, who stood pompous and proud across the floor, the ever-present scowl on his face no surprise. No doubt her stepping out with another gentleman other than himself had put him out of countenance. She turned back to her sister. “I cannot summon any remorse for annoying Riddledale. As for Lord Dean, I’ll be sorry to hurt him, but no, I will not marry him no matter how much his heart breaks over my decision.”
“Could your feelings change in time, do you believe?” Victoria asked.
Elizabeth shook her head. “No.”
She swallowed the familiar lump which formed in her throat every time she thought of him, the man she refused to name, even in her own thoughts. “I’m not the loving kind. I don’t believe it’s healthy to rely on such feeble unstable emotions when someone is entering the marriage state. Men and their need to be adored, looked up to in awe, can go hang. Lord Newland’s name protects me now. I have no need to marry again.”
Victoria threw her a dubious look. “I believe there is nothing purer and good than love, especially if you are fortunate enough to have it in a marriage.” Her sister sighed, the sound tinged with sadness. “You promised Papa you would try.”
“I am well aware of what I promised Papa, but he did not stipulate marriage is what I should try. I’m friendly and affable. That is enough.”
Publisher and Release Date: Entangled Publishing LLC, July 25, 2016
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by: Heather C.
Elizabeth Worthingham and Henry Andrews were wildly in love and she promised to wait for him to return from his quest in America to bring back a fortune to secure his family home. However, things did not go quite as they planned while Henry was gone and when he returns two years later he finds her a widow and he a not-so-welcome visitor. But Henry has no idea what he did to cause Elizabeth to break her promise, or what happened while he waw away, and Elizabeth isn’t telling. Henry is intent on finding out and winning her back, so what will it take and how will he react when he finds out what Elizabeth is hiding? Will their love survive?
There are a lot of elements to this story that make it more complex than many romance stories I typically read. There is the rekindling of the relationship between Henry and Elizabeth, there is the Elizabeth trying to keep Henry from finding out her secret, and then there is a blackmail plot. Each of these layers on top of the others and together builds depth to this story. I enjoyed the relationship between Henry and Elizabeth through all of its twists and turns, deceptions, and whirlwind romantic moments. While readers can surmise from the beginning how the end will turn out, there are certainly moments throughout that make you question that notion. The blackmail storyline is good, if a little contrived, and the way it is eventually foiled seems a touch too easy and a little bit of a letdown; I wanted a little more drama here and this was one of the factors that brought my review down by 1 star.
I liked Henry better of the two main characters. He is loyal and his confusion over his lack of welcome from Elizabeth is entirely understandable. He loves her and does everything he can to win her back. Elizabeth is her own worst enemy and her lies (never mind that she’s a terrible liar) have her constantly running in circles. I understand why she made the choices she did, but once the couple is able to determine what has led them to their situation, she just kept making it worse instead of coming clean much earlier in the novel. I wanted to yell at her so many times. Elizabeth has several family members that have a certain amount of influence in the story, but only her brother is sufficiently stongly characterised as to enable to him to stand out. One of her sisters makes a big move during the height of the drama and I think we are supposed to see her as a sort of “modern woman” given that she has taken to wearing men’s pants and all, but I would have liked her character to have been more well-defined. The two main characters and the blackmailer were well drawn, but the peripheral characters could have used a bit of a boost.
I am not sure if the subsequent books will follow the same characters, if they will become peripheral characters in another couple’s storyline, or if it will be entirely unrelated. Overall, I enjoyed Only an Earl Will Do and I will be interested in reading additional entries in this series.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tamara Gill is an Australian author who grew up in an old mining town in country South Australia, where her love of history was founded. So much so, she made her darling husband travel to the UK for their honeymoon, where she dragged him from one historical monument and castle to another. A mother of three, her two little gentleman’s in the making, a future lady (she hopes) and a part-time job keep her busy in the real world, but whenever she gets a moment’s peace she loves to write romance novels in an array of genres, including regency, medieval and time travel. Tamara loves hearing from readers and writers alike. You can contact her through her website, and sign up to follow her blog or newsletter.