Today’s post is all about the start to a fantastic new historical romance series: The Wicked Quills of London by Eva Leigh. I’m sharing a review and excerpt of the first book in the series, Forever Your Earl, along with a Rafflecopter giveaway of the novel plus a $25 egift card to the book retailer of your choice. It’s a win-win-win, y’all, so read on.
As I mentioned earlier this week I’d been in a bit of a romance novel funk for a good month or so. Forever Your Earl was the start of the turnaround, so I’m passing on my review of this bright, spirited book in hopes that it will make its way onto your shelf/ereader.
Eleanor Hawke is a self-made woman. She’s the proprietor and owner of the successful scandal rag, The Hawke’s Eye, infusing society gossip with her wickedly clever writing and scathing social commentary. Daniel Balfour, the Earl of Ashford is always good fodder for a story, so when shows up at her office offering exclusive access to his, um, “exploits,” Eleanor is stunned. This kind of unfettered access to one of London’s most notorious rakes could make The Hawke’s Eye a must-read for every member of the ton. Of course, Daniel has his own (read: secret) reasons for placing himself so firmly in the public eye, which Eleanor suspects but can’t quite figure out.
It’s a great set-up for getting two attractive people in the same place at the same time over and over again and watching the sparks fly. There is fantastic chemistry between Eleanor and Daniel, spurred on by Leigh’s rapid-fire, witty dialogue–think Tessa Dare with an overtly feminist twist. She tackles the class differential between Daniel (Earl) and Eleanor (commoner) head-on and weaves in overt references to male privilege using Eleanor’s sharp retorts, insightful observations, and a (thankfully) brief stint as an undercover reporter at a questionable gaming hell (I’m just not a fan of girl-in-pants stories).
Despite their difference in station the relationship between Eleanor and Daniel is clearly one of intellectual equals, which I love. If, like me, you’re getting a little sick of wide-eyed debutantes, I think you’ll find Forever Your Earl a welcome change of pace. Daniel is, naturally, a rake with hidden depths–the best and only kind of rake worth loving. His eagerness take on the spotlight is a ploy to hide his city-wide search for his dearest friend, whose post-war PTSD has sent him into hiding in London’s seedy underbelly. Daniel’s noble intentions are supposed to make us fall in love with him, but really it’s his interactions with Eleanor that prove he’s a man of substance. Eleanor is a strong woman who knows her own mind, and only men worth having are attracted to a woman like that.
There’s so much right with this historical romance novel it would be criminal to pass it up. So don’t!