It’s 2019, and if there’s one historical romance writer who could take us into the future, it’s Scarlett Peckham.
Peckham writes marvelously, and I would like to laze in her books, where everything is sumptuous and luxurious—including the words themselves. She writes romance that thrills, that clutches your heart, and that’s also composed of the kind of wry, beautifully written sentences I could see adorning the stationary of my dreams.
The darkly sumptuous The Earl I Ruined is her latest offering.
There are some things that can’t be forgiven. Is finding out that the person that you love has written and distributed a poem with salacious rumors about your sexual proclivities one of them (particularly if it has the potential to kill a political deal you’ve been working on for years, ruin you, and result in your family’s downfall as well)?
That’s the question of the hour in The Earl I Ruined.
We first met Lady Constance Stonewell, sister of the Duke of Westmead, in The Duke I Tempted. Though her brother chastised her roundly for playing fast and loose with words in that book, she hasn’t quite learned her lesson, and it leads to the stuffy Julian, the Earl of Apthorp’s, ruin in this book. But she has a plan: she’ll propose, they’ll resuscitate his reputation and save his bill, and everything will be okay.
Only he doesn’t want to marry her—this, despite (or perhaps because) he was in love with her for eight years. Also complicating the matter: for the first time in a very long time, people are laughing at her again.
Can she save Julian, and make up for this decision she made, before her brother finds out? And can Julian recognize the part he’s played in this, too?
If you’re looking for crazy-sexy historical romance, try this book. And if you’re looking for a book that’s remarkably astute about its characters and human psychology, try this book again. I love how Peckham proves that sparkling and shallow are not the same thing; how there’s a strength to Constance (and the fiercely female domain she rules) that can’t and shouldn’t be ignored.
Andddddd, I love how Constance and Julian offer us a reminder that people make mistakes. Sometimes we do shitty things; sometimes for the wrong reasons and sometimes for the right. Though I did want a more direct acknowledgement from Julian of the deeper motivations behind what Constance did, I thought that overall Peckham handled what happened, why, and its deeper repercussions, stunningly.
The Earl I Ruined gave me that beautiful redemption story that I was looking for, wrapped up in a rich scandal, and enhanced by a killer sexual attraction between two characters who deserve a second chance (or maybe third or fourth).
Give me that HEA, please.
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