This Earl of Mine

St. Martin’s Paperbacks. (Bow Street Bachelors, Bk. 1). Oct. 2019. 336p. ISBN 9781250305954. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250305961. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Shipping heiress Georgiana Caversteed is tired of fending off fortune hunters, most notably her odious cousin Josiah. As a way out, she will marry a random convict the day before his hanging—instantly gaining the freedom of widowhood. Unfortunately, the chosen criminal is actually Benedict Wylde—the younger brother of a penniless earl working undercover to expose a plot to rescue an exiled Napoleon. When Georgie and Benedict meet for the first time at a ball the following week, a new arrangement is made, but even that will have to be revised when real feelings start to develop. In this first book of a series that will eventually focus on Benedict’s friends, Bateman (The Devil To Pay) mixes a marriage of convenience with fake dating while exploring class differences. Georgie and Benedict have instant chemistry, and their growing respect as they get to know each other adds depth and emotion. Several secondary characters (including a humorous subplot with Georgiana’s younger sister and the vicar’s son) further complement the layered and well-crafted main story line.
VERDICT Bateman applies subtle twists on favorite tropes in a story filled with humorous banter and unexpected plot turns. An exciting series opener.
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