I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Loving the Earl by Sharon Cullen
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Published by Loveswept, Random House Pages: 290
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: The Reluctant Duchess
Having vowed never to wed again, widowed viscountess Claire Hartford is about to do the unthinkable: travel unaccompanied across the continent in search of a lover. Her adventure begins sooner than expected, when she meets a magnificent cloaked stranger on her ship’s gangplank. He is Lord Blythe, a man whispered about in London’s ballrooms and drawing rooms, a scandalous rogue hell-bent on seduction.
Nathan Ferguson curses the day he agreed to look out for his best friend’s wayward sister. The charismatic earl is traveling to Paris to uncover the truth behind his father’s death, but his desire for Claire threatens to be his undoing. From France to Italy, on a journey of passionate discovery and danger, Nathan is honor-bound to protect her—from himself most of all. What can he offer Claire? Only love, as he sets out to prove to the woman of his dreams that she belongs to him—body, heart, and soul.
There are so many romance authors out there that I am always reading one that I haven’t ever read. This is my first book by author Sharon Cullen, but it won’t be my last. I enjoyed Loving the Earl enough to read more of her books if I get a chance.
Loving the Earl, isn’t unique to the romance genre, but it was still an enjoyable romance. Claire, Countess Chesterman, had a horrible marriage to a beast of a man. He was seen to be one of the most respectable men, but at home he was nothing more than a wife beater. Now he is dead and Claire has decided that she is going to have an adventure and find an Italian lover. It has more to do with her insecurieties built up by a horrible husband who told her she was unlovable and disgusting. So she is first going to go and visit Paris, France and then from there to her friend in Venice, Italy.
Claire is ready to board the ship when her maid decides she doesn’t want to go and runs away. This leaves her unchaperoned, but she is determined to have her adventure so she gets on the ship anyway. She runs straight into Lord Blythe and realizes it is one of her brothers rakish friends.
Nathan, Lord Blythe, doesn’t recognize Claire at first because she looks different than he remembers. He was on his way to France anyway when his friend ask him to make sure his sister gets to France safely. He doesn’t want to do it but he does it anyway and then he finds out that she is without a chaperon and makes his duty to either see her safely to Paris or send her back to England. What he wasn’t looking for was for Claire to get under his skin, she was infuriating but at the same time impressive.
Claire has quite a few mishaps on her adventure, her bag with her letters of recommendation are stolen among some other things that happen. She is still determined that she can be independent and doesn’t need to be chaperoned by Lord Blythe. He is a rogue, he gambles, drinks and he is everything she thinks is very improper. But as they travel together she soon realizes that he might be improper, but he never once has been horrible to her. She realizes that Nathan puts up this rough exterior but on the inside he is kind.
Claire is looking for a lover and when Nathan finds out he offers to be that lover but Claire doesn’t want that. Claire has set off to find an Italian lover not another English lord. Nathan can’t believe that this spunky countess that can be so irritating could start to get to him in ways no other woman has before. He doesn’t want to want her but he does and he will do everything to convince her that he is the only lover she needs.
There is a bit of a mystery surrounding the death of Nathan’s father, which is why he was on his way to France in the first place. It’s sort of a side plot in the story and lends a little mystery and danger to the story. I enjoyed both of the main characters in the story which makes the book more enjoyable. Claire is naive but spunky and I had to give her credit for that as she really wanted to be independent. Nathan, is sexy and sweet even though he tries to put on this rough exterior. Over all it was a typical romance but I still enjoyed it. For those who like steamy romances I would say that the last half of the book was a little steamy, so if you like that kind of thing then you will like this novel. (I would give it three out of five on a heat index, but only the last half of the novel. That is my opinion someone else might not think it that steamy)