This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Signet
Released on January 6, 2015
Sophie was a character I adored when she was introduced in the first book of the series as a secondary character. She is rather a sunny little magpie with a love of music and a desire to have those around her happy. Her friends treasure her and want her to be happy too. Now that Sophie is in a jam caused by the unsuitable runaway match her sister made, May and Charity are there to help her scheme a bit to make the man of her dreams notice her. She has to land a marriage proposal from her Earl in the two weeks she has before word trickles out about her family’s scandal. It would actually help if she could avoid stumbling over her own feet and manage to unlock her tongue.
Evan lives almost a half-life as he moves through society avoiding the close contact that will encourage people to get at his personal side. He has a dark secret to protect that could ruin his family and he will protect it at all cost even his own happiness. His world gets turned upside down by the unexpected arrival of his sister and the disastrous impression and situation he keeps imposing on nice little Miss Sophie Wembley. He finds her a breath of fresh air and for once in his life he lets his guard down to make a friend only he soon realizes that Miss Sophie has more than friendship on her mind. His family secret forbids anything more so he is forced to cut off her hopes and his own even though she tries to tell him and his sister that happiness and love are worth the risk.
[quote]”Do you know, I don’t look at it that way? I don’t think I could ever regret falling in love with him.” It didn’t make sense, she knew, especially after the awkwardness of yesterday. But even so, she meant what she said.
“But he hurt you,” Julia said, confusion knitting her brow.
“Not on purpose. Anytime we fall in love, there will always be risk. Romeo and Juliet taught us that much,” she said with a fleeting smile crossing her lips. “I’m teasing, of course, but every great love story on earth started with risk.
Even the ones that worked out have no guarantees. Look at Lord Cadgwith’s brother who died much too soon, leaving behind a young wife and infant. If his widow had known his fate, would she still have married him? If she loved him, then I would think yes…The way I look at it- or at least the way I’m trying to look at it- is that even if my gamble didn’t pay off, at least I tried. At least I know that I put all my cards on the table, even if my hand lost.” pp.199-200 Sophie and Julia from The Earl I Adore[/quote]
Sophie was a heroine that I could completely get behind. This girl took the lemons and used them to garnish her cocktail in her own sweet, sunny way. She was a pleasure and joy to read her thoughts and point of view. She was tough and honorable to the core no matter what happened that was out of her control. She was facing her family’s ruin, she had a few hideously embarrassing moments, she was forced to push past her comfort zone again and again and she really did take the gamble and put it all on the line like she said in the above quote. My heart just broke for her and I wanted this dear girl to have her own slice of happiness.
Evan, too, deserved something good. He had the right motives for his actions and back in the day his reason made a sad sort of sense to forfeit any real chance of normal life and loving. If there was anything worse than the kind of scandal Sophie faced, it was the kind Evan faced. The secret is kept for much of the book though I had my suspicions early on. And just as I suspected his secret, I also suspected how the final barrier would be removed and I was right. That being said, getting to know this tender man who was made to enjoy life and live in the sun with a lady like Sophie even though he was forced to stay at hands’ length, was engaging enough to keep me from being impatient or disappointed. He came across as cruel because of the stance he had to take, but I did understand. I was glad to have his perspective trading off with Sophie’s so I didn’t end up hating him for it.
Now the real cruel players were people that weren’t villains who committed atrocious crimes so much as people that were just petty, selfish, short-sighted, thoughtless and mean-spirited. It’s amazing the evil these lesser sins can stir up. There were a couple of people that are lucky I couldn’t slip through the pages and apply my hand to the back of their heads. Let me just say, I love you, Mom. So glad you are nothing like Sophie’s mom. 😉
To wrap it all up neatly, for me, this was even more appealing than the first book in the series- which by the way can be read out of order if you don’t mind a few earlier character pass-throughs. As a rarity, I was more in love with the heroine than the hero, but their romance had me swallowing down my sadness and feeling the burn of some tears. There was humor, nice dialogue, heartbreaking and heartwarming scenes in this sweet historical romance. I think historical romance lovers will adore Sophie and Evan as much as I did.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.
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