April 3, 2013

book review: the reluctant earl

An earl strives to uncover the truth behind his father's untimely demise, and the plot thickens when he catches a governess trying to steal information in C.J. Chase's The Reluctant Earl.

After losing her only brother and her parents, Leah Vance is left virtually penniless. She is also left guardian of her sister, who lives in an asylum. With the family coffers depleted from financing her sister's care, and with her paltry salary as a governess inadequate to cover the costs, Leah has resorted to stealing secrets from the master of her house and his guests and selling them to an unknown source. When the newly minted Earl of Chambelston arrives at his long-estranged sister's home, Leah hopes she will find something in his papers that will satisfy her contact.

Julian DeChambelle is shocked to find a young woman rifling through his items when he returns to his bedchamber for the night. Not only is he surprised by the woman's actions, but by his reaction. Instantly intrigued by her, he asks her to become a double agent for him in lieu of reporting her near theft.

Set in the backdrop of late-to-post Napoleonic England and with some Christian themes, the story carries a heavy dose of suspense and mystery as Leah and Julian try to figure out who is behind the series of events causing them trouble even as they slip into love with each other.

Both Julian and Leah were great characters. I was instantly drawn to them, and could understand each of their plights -- even if I can't exactly relate, because I'm neither a governess nor an earl. Their chemistry was instant and sweet to watch as it unfolded.

A longtime reader of historical romance, this was the first time I read a book where the focus was on a potential class uprising linked to the lean years following Britain's war with France. This instantly gave the story a unique element and I found myself curious to hear how everything followed.

I was not sure what to expect with this story. A long-time reader of romance novels, this was my first in the inspirational category. With the emphasis on the mystery and the couple, the history's historical romance nature was the dominant element in the story. For a first-time inspirational reader like me, this was probably a good way to try out a new genre.

All in all I enjoyed the hours I spent reading this book

Rating: 4 of 5

For More Information
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Author's Website

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