The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlyle

EARL
The Earl’s Mistress by Liz Carlyle
Publisher: Avon / Harper Collins
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (400 Pgs)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Bluet

Women rarely refuse the wicked Earl of Hepplewood, whose daring exploits are only whispered about. But when his new governess answers his proposition with a slap, then stalks out, references in hand, Hepplewood finds more than his face is burning.

Isabella Aldridge has brains, bravado, and beauty—but the latter is no use to a servant. Her circumstances are desperate, and with Hepplewood’s words ringing in her ears, Isabella realizes she must barter her most marketable asset . . . her body.

But when fate sends Isabella back into Hepplewood’s arms, the earl must make an impossible choice—draw Isabella down into his sensual darkness, or behave with honor for the first time in his life.

Isabella Aldridge is desperate. Her job as a governess has ended. She has two younger sisters to support, no funds, and no prospects except for a sleazy cousin. The man she just interviewed with, Anthony Chalfont, the Earl of Hepplewood, offered her a position, but it wasn’t as governess. Angry and disillusioned, she returns to her former employer to ask advice. The woman, who is notorious in her own right, suggests that Isabella needs to marry or find a wealthy protector. Isabella is a widow, and has no desire to marry again, so she resigns herself to becoming a mistress. She contacts a broker who makes these kinds of arrangements, and soon sets off to the country home of none other than the Earl of Hepplewood. Ironically, he was so taken with her looks at their initial meeting, that he commissioned the same broker to find him a mistress with her unique violet eyes and dark hair. It turns out that he gets the real thing, not a facsimile.

The Earl, Anthony, is a complex character. There are some tragic events in his past that have changed him. Although he is still mostly a kind man, he also is dominating and controlling. And he’s determined to flee any kind of emotional entanglement. After just one night, he knows he’s in danger of feeling more than just lust for Isabella, so for his own self preservation, he sends her away, but with a small fortune in jewels. Isabella is bewildered at being cast aside. Although she had been married, it was very brief, and she didn’t have much sexual experience. One night with Anthony gave her a whole new perspective, but she accepts that it’s probably for the best, so she uses the jewels to start a small book store and set up a new home for her and her sisters. But Anthony can’t stay away.

I found Anthony to be a real hero. I love his strength, his protectiveness of Isabella. He is off the charts HOT! Isabella was so well written, as well. She is honest, beautiful, loving, and even willing to sacrifice herself to keep her family together. There was a lot of going back and forth in this book about Isabella and Anthony being together, then not together. That’s something that normally annoys me, but in this case it just worked. The author does a great job of showing us the conflict and confusion each of them is feeling. There is also a mystery, and some danger, and it all comes together perfectly. A word of warning without giving too much away – the sex in this book is not all vanilla. If you are offended by elements of BDSM, you may want to avoid it. Normally, I wouldn’t choose to read a book with those elements, but it fits the people that Anthony and Isabella are, and it works.

This is a strong book that will go on my favorites list for this year. It’s hot, it’s emotional, it’s romantic, and the story just flows beautifully. The author, Liz Carlyle, stretched the typical boundaries of historical romance with this book, and in my opinion, it’s one of her best. It all comes down to a beautiful love story of two wounded people who are perfect for each other, and deserve their well earned happy ever after. Highly recommended!

Comments

  1. It has been a while since I read historical. This one sounds like something I might like. BTW great review.

  2. Dunja, it’s a wonderful book, and thank you for you kind comment on the review. Bluet.

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