I apologize. I got lost in holiday madness and it’s taken a while for me to catch up, but here’s my next review of another scandalous historical.
People see what you want them to see. This is my favorite line from Bethany Bennett’s West End Earl. A heroine in trousers always entertains me and West End Earl does not fail. Fate has not been kind to Ophelia Hardwick. She has endured the death of both parents, an abusive uncle, and the accidental death of her twin brother. When, at age 13, her uncle, greedy for her fortune, tries to marry her off to the highest bidder, she flees. Through sheer determination, grit, and a little bit of luck, she manages to make her way as a man in service to Calvin, Earl of Carlyle. After ten years in hiding, she is about to come into her fortune when she can stop the masquerade and live as herself. But her uncle is still trying to have her killed. When Cal comes to the rescue after his land steward has been viciously attacked, he discovers his right-hand man is really a woman. What started as friendship quickly heats up. Calvin does everything possible to keep Ophelia’s secret and her life safe—everything except the most important thing: confide in her. So much love, so much romance, all tucked up in the beautiful Regency package.
Here’s the publisher’s blurb: While most young ladies attend balls and hunt for husbands, Ophelia Hardwick has spent the last 10 years masquerading as a man. As the land steward for the Earl of Carlyle, she’s found safety from the uncle determined to kill her and freedoms a lady could only dream of. Ophelia’s situation would be perfect – if only she wasn’t hopelessly attracted to her employer.
Calvin, Earl of Carlyle, is determined to see his sister married this season. And he’ll do it with the help of his trusted right-hand man. But when he finds out his man is a woman, and that her life is in danger, his priorities change. Their attraction is passionate, all-consuming, and if they aren’t careful, it could turn downright deadly – for both of them.