Monday, October 7, 2013

Loving the Earl by Sharon Cullen

Having vowed never to wed again, widowed viscountess Claire Hartford is about to do the unthinkable: travel unaccompanied across the continent in search of a lover. Her adventure begins sooner than expected, when she meets a magnificent cloaked stranger on her ship’s gangplank. He is Lord Blythe, a man whispered about in London’s ballrooms and drawing rooms, a scandalous rogue hell-bent on seduction. Nathan Ferguson curses the day he agreed to look out for his best friend’s wayward sister. The charismatic earl is traveling to Paris to uncover the truth behind his father’s death, but his desire for Claire threatens to be his undoing. From France to Italy, on a journey of passionate discovery and danger, Nathan is honor-bound to protect her—from himself most of all. What can he offer Claire? Only love, as he sets out to prove to the woman of his dreams that she belongs to him—body, heart, and soul.

Well-written and engaging, this delightful historical romance pulled me in from the first page. Claire is a wonderful heroine- recovering from an abusive marriage and determined to take control of her own life for the first time. Nathan was a good foil for her- a jaded earl who scorns Society's rules but is nevertheless conventional enough to watch out for his friend's sister as she travels across Europe. Though there are points where I think the story was glossed over (especially as relates to revelations about Nathan's father at the end of the novel), perhaps reading the others in the series would add greater detail. Nevertheless, this was a great read even as a stand alone, and does inspire me to read more by this author.

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