The Indebted Earl
by Erica Vestch
I may or may not have ended up in the doghouse with my husband when reading this story. I made the mistake of starting it at 9 pm and then stayed awake in bed with my booklight on until 4 am…on a weeknight. In my defense, it was spring break and my hubby didn’t have to work the next day.
Ever since I read The Lost Lieutenant and The Gentleman Spy, I have been eager to read the third and final installment of Serendipity & Secrets. My eagerness was not disappointed. The story followed the typical marriage of convenience storyline with plenty of twists, turns, wit, and danger. The slow-grow of Sophie’s love for Captain Charles Wyvern was a joy to watch, and the Captain’s quick fall for Sophie was so sweet. The characterization of each person in this story was delightful and entertaining–especially the trio of orphans they must raise together. I look forward to one day reading their individual romances.
One of my favorite things is the story leaves you with the desire to read an already in-print final story of the Haverly family–Cilla’s. You can find that story in The Joy to the World: Regency Christmas Collection. (All of the above links are to my reviews of those stories.)
Genre: Historical Romance, 1814, England (Regency)
Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business–or will it turn into something more?
Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life–especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero’s dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiancée and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.
When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.
Sophie is surprised to find she isn’t opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed’s elderly mother, and she’s already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she’ll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.
It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he’s come to mean to her. Now she’ll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.
What I loved: The character development of Captain Wyvern. That man has such a soft, responsible heart, but he also knows what he wants out of life. When things don’t go the way he expects, he steps up and does whatever is necessary to make things right.
Favorite Character and Why: I loved Captain Wyvern and Sophie, but my heart really latched on to Thea. Bless her soul, she is a lot like my son, and a lot like me. And Besty! Oh my, that girl was a dear! He puppy-dog following of Captain Wyvern was adorable.
Who would like this? Readers who love regency, marriage of convenience stories, stories with a touch of mystery and excitement, and readers who love a series so well connected and planned.
Rating and Why: Five stars. The story was engaging, believable, exciting, and totally had my heart wrapped around the whole plot and characters. It is a book I will enjoy revisiting several times over. And we get to see Marcus from The Gentleman Spy again. He’s still one of my favorites.
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QUESTION FOR YOU:
Have you read this series? What do you love or dislike about marriage of convenience stories?