In Bed With The Earl by Christi Caldwell

In Bed With The Earl by Christi Caldwell
Lost Lords of London book 1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (383 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

To solve a mystery that’s become the talk of the ton, no clues run too deep for willful reporter Verity Lovelace. Not even in the sewers of London. That’s precisely where she finds happily self-sufficient scavenger Malcom North, lost heir to the Earl of Maxwell. Now that Verity’s made him front-page news, what will he make of her?

Kidnapped as a child, with no memories of his well-heeled past, Malcom prefers the grimy spoils of the culverts to the gilded riches of society. Damn the feisty beauty who exposed the contented tosher to a parade of fortune-hunting matchmakers. How to keep them at bay? Verity must pretend to be his wife. She owes him.
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The intimacy of this necessary arrangement—Verity and Malcom thrust together in close quarters—soon sparks an irresistible heat. But when the charade ends, the danger begins. Will love be enough to protect them from a treacherous plot devised to ruin them?

One was born to privilege but raised in the sewers to look out for number one. The other was conceived out of wedlock but raised to see the value in family. They have more in common than what’s on the surface and it was a joy to watch them discover new pieces of themselves.

Malcom’s tragic backstory shaped who became on so many levels. He did his level best to convince himself that no one mattered to him but himself. That’s the way it had to be for “tophers”, sewer treasure hunters. I know the stories of London during the Regency era and it wasn’t pretty. Even the pretty parts of London carried the stench and grit of those who survived in the London underground. Malcom was one of the lucky ones. I had hope for his future when he showed some backbone, even as a young man, early in the book. It foreshadowed how his personality would develop for the good and the stubborn.

Verity Lovelace is an honestly refreshing female lead. She doesn’t play games and try to make the reader, or Malcom for that matter, guess at what she’s thinking. She just says it. She doesn’t accept that as a female that she doesn’t have a place in a man’s world. If this were a true story, she would have been a source of pride for the early feminist movement. Not because she tried to make Malcom less of man, just that she wasn’t afraid to fight for her position and value as a working and intelligent woman. The story rings true in that her fight would not have been a popular one during the Regency era. I can say with complete honesty that I never saw the twist towards the end. It made me a little sad but just added to the layers of the story.

Speaking of Regency romance era books, I had to smile when three patronesses of London society made a cameo. I’ve loved this romance era for as long as I can remember and these three ladies never failed to make an appearance in those first books that whet my appetite for London’s Lords and Ladies. That was a fun little surprise!

In Bed with the Earl has some fantastic intrigue sprinkled throughout the story. As Malcom begins to recall memories long pushed down, I could see him developing and becoming who he was meant to be but still holding tight to the man who created a family from the sewers. Those men who he rescued and kept close were terrific secondary characters.

This was a wonderful first book in a new series. I look forward to reading more by Ms. Caldwell. Her writing voice is easy to follow and the story feels complete.

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