Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review & Giveaway: The Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft

Heidi Reads... The Earl's Betrothal by Karen Tuft

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Out of the war and into another, Captain Lord Anthony Hargreaves finds the politics of romance to be as uninviting a battle as the one that nearly cost him his life in Badajoz, Spain.

Wounded both mentally and physically from the Peninsular War in 1812, Anthony returns home to find that his older brother has died, placing Anthony next in line to inherit the estate. But he’s not ready for such responsibilities. And when Anthony’s dying father pleads with him to marry and produce an heir to preserve the family title, it nearly sends Anthony over the edge; nevertheless he dutifully faces a long line of hopeful young ladies who await him. No one grabs his attention, though, like Amelia Clarke, his mother’s stunning companion, who is off-limits for the earl. But when Anthony unwittingly puts Amelia in a compromising situation, he dedicates himself to protecting her reputation.

But the horrors Anthony faced while away from home have left him feeling broken and tormented. And Anthony finds himself drawn to Miss Clarke, the only one who can chase away his demons, but he must overcome the hostility of a society driven by class, a jealous duke bent on revenge, and himself—for could Amelia ever really love a haunted man?

My Review

If you're in the mood for a Regency sweet romance with depth- in characters and in content, then The Earl's Betrothal is a book I recommend for you! Amelia is kind and compassionate, feeling grief not only for her own losses but the more recent losses of the family she now serves. I admired the strong foundation of faith that sustained her and helped her stand up in the face of society's disdain.

Anthony struggled with the darker aspects of war- the abuse of the citizens of Spain by his own soldiers, especially the women who suffered at their hands in the aftermath of battle. He has a soft heart for the women in his life and Amelia's presence in the family allows her to slip right under his defenses and offer what he needed most- acceptance.

I particularly enjoyed Anthony's friend Lucas, who shared wartime experiences with him and was in the unique position of providing support simply by knowing what he had been through and encouraging him to work toward forgiving himself.

The story doesn't follow a typical timeline for the developing relationship which was a bit refreshing, and kept me on my toes to see what twists would keep the plot moving forward. There are pleasing details of some fashion and dresses, balls and society gatherings, but it never distracted from the drama- instead the author used them as opportunities to develop and show the personalities of her cast.

Without revealing any spoilers, one particular twist in the story seemed out of place and incongruous with the rest of the book, adding a level of melodrama I didn't think was necessary.

Overall, the exchanges between Amelia and Anthony as they seek to protect each other are the best parts that stand out and had me reading swiftly to reach their next interaction :)

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