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To Marry an Earl

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Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes. When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?


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Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes. When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?

30 review for To Marry an Earl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sally Britton

    To Marry an Earl, a gorgeous upcoming Regency novel, is an enchanting tale of unrequited love. Katherine Cartwright is a believable and sympathetic heroine, fighting against a world that doesn't value her as an individual, and fighting her heart when she begins to fall in love. This novel is a wonderful addition to a beloved genre. Readers will fall in love with the author's work and find deep satisfaction in the way she draws the threads of this story into a most gratifying conclusion. To Marry an Earl, a gorgeous upcoming Regency novel, is an enchanting tale of unrequited love. Katherine Cartwright is a believable and sympathetic heroine, fighting against a world that doesn't value her as an individual, and fighting her heart when she begins to fall in love. This novel is a wonderful addition to a beloved genre. Readers will fall in love with the author's work and find deep satisfaction in the way she draws the threads of this story into a most gratifying conclusion.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    Historical romance isn’t my typical genre, but I’ve been reading more and more fantasy romance lately and I’ve been dying to try HR. I was looking for a fun, light romance read when I picked this up. It wasn’t as humorous as I usually like my romance to be, but it was cozy and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy every time I picked it up. I should also stress that this book is CLOSED DOOR, so if you’re looking for a steamy, spicy romance this book isn’t for you. This book is dual POV and I think Historical romance isn’t my typical genre, but I’ve been reading more and more fantasy romance lately and I’ve been dying to try HR. I was looking for a fun, light romance read when I picked this up. It wasn’t as humorous as I usually like my romance to be, but it was cozy and left me feeling all warm and fuzzy every time I picked it up. I should also stress that this book is CLOSED DOOR, so if you’re looking for a steamy, spicy romance this book isn’t for you. This book is dual POV and I think the author used this to her advantage really well, both in keeping the tension up and in helping us to understand the thoughts and actions of the main couple. However, the development of the supporting cast was comparatively lacking. I would have liked some more characterization of James’s friends and Julia. I’m rating four stars because this book mostly accomplished what I wanted from it with a basic, feel-good romance. I also love the arranged marriage trope so that part was nice, even if this wasn’t a traditional arranged marriage. However, it didn’t have any deeper, meaningful commentary to bring it to the next level. It was also lacking the hilarious banter I love and wasn’t quite as steamy as I would like. Nevertheless, it was fun and entertaining. Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for a review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becca (beccas_bibliophilia)

    I love Karen. She was one of my first friends when I joined Bookstagram and ever since reading her novella last Christmas I’ve been dying to get my hands on her full length novel. I was not disappointed. At all. This combination of marriage of convenience and friends to lovers was un-put-downable (that can be a word right?). I loved Kate’s hesitance and James’ patience. Both of their characters were *chefs kiss* Not to mention the actual kissing scenes... talk about to die for! In addition to all o I love Karen. She was one of my first friends when I joined Bookstagram and ever since reading her novella last Christmas I’ve been dying to get my hands on her full length novel. I was not disappointed. At all. This combination of marriage of convenience and friends to lovers was un-put-downable (that can be a word right?). I loved Kate’s hesitance and James’ patience. Both of their characters were *chefs kiss* Not to mention the actual kissing scenes... talk about to die for! In addition to all of that, To Marry an Earl also had that dash of suspense and sprinkle of mystery that I so enjoy in regency novels. This book was a 10/10 for me! Now if I can just get my hands on Pursuing Miss Hall... Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marilee

    Such a charming regency romance! I love second chance romance and this one had the extra twists of mistaken identity and an arranged marriage. Kate is dumfounded when her father announces he is basically selling her off in marriage to the highest bidder. James is not only an old friend of Kate but has been in love with her for years. Since he recently inherited an earldom, he is now on her social level and makes a deal with her father. So much happening at the house party - mystery, suspense, an Such a charming regency romance! I love second chance romance and this one had the extra twists of mistaken identity and an arranged marriage. Kate is dumfounded when her father announces he is basically selling her off in marriage to the highest bidder. James is not only an old friend of Kate but has been in love with her for years. Since he recently inherited an earldom, he is now on her social level and makes a deal with her father. So much happening at the house party - mystery, suspense, and of course, romance! I was intrigued by Henry, Julia, and Lucas and really hope they get their own stories some day. 4.5 stars for this wonderful debut novel and I am excited to see more from this author! If you enjoy sweet regency romance, then this is definitely one you need to read! I received a complimentary copy of this book but a positive review was not required.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Books and Socks Rock

    I really loved this book. This book is beautifully written by debut author Karen Thornell. It has an arranged marriage, second chance romance, mistaken identity and a house party plus suspense and swoon. Kate's father has arranged a marriage for her to the new Earl of Bowcott. She doesn't know who that is and is sent to the Earl's home for a house party. Oddly enough, the earl stipulated that he get to know Kate before they wed. Only she arrives at the Earl's home and he isn't there. Guests are a I really loved this book. This book is beautifully written by debut author Karen Thornell. It has an arranged marriage, second chance romance, mistaken identity and a house party plus suspense and swoon. Kate's father has arranged a marriage for her to the new Earl of Bowcott. She doesn't know who that is and is sent to the Earl's home for a house party. Oddly enough, the earl stipulated that he get to know Kate before they wed. Only she arrives at the Earl's home and he isn't there. Guests are arriving but she doesn't want to be the hostess to these strangers. Out on a ride she meets someone from her past, its unsettling at first, until they ignite their friendship once more. Secrets and pain get in the way but feelings grow to more. This is a sweet clean romance and Thornell sets it up for more books to follow the group of friends. I can't wait to read more!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shifra ♕

    Clean Regency Romance Synopsis: From afar it may seem that Miss Katherine Cartwright, the daughter of a Viscount has it all: Status, an estate, and great beauty. Looks would be deceiving, as behind her cool facade she hides a troubled home life, curtesy of her verbally abusive and drunkard father. Kate has watched him suck the life out of her shell of a mother, and with that example for a marriage she has resolved that love is the thing of fairytales and marriage an institution she would do away Clean Regency Romance Synopsis: From afar it may seem that Miss Katherine Cartwright, the daughter of a Viscount has it all: Status, an estate, and great beauty. Looks would be deceiving, as behind her cool facade she hides a troubled home life, curtesy of her verbally abusive and drunkard father. Kate has watched him suck the life out of her shell of a mother, and with that example for a marriage she has resolved that love is the thing of fairytales and marriage an institution she would do away with altogether. As a result, Kate is not like other marriage minded society girls, she would rather live off her dowry or be a governess. I guess you could say that and kinda liking horses make up the brunt of her personality. Kate was deeply hurt when the only friend she ever had, James, a neighbor gentlemen's son left without so much as a goodbye three years prior. James Fenwick inherited an earldom by surprise only a year prior. When the talk of the town is Lord Harcourt looking to marry off his beautiful daughter to the highest bidder, James decides to intercede and win the bid. James knows Kate is not eager to be betrothed, and in his reasoning thinks she should get reacquainted with him before the pressure of their impending marriage smothers any chance he may have at earning her forgiveness. And how does he go about reestablishing trust? Why, with an elaborate ruse of course! He passes himself off as a fellow guest and also embroils all his staff and actual guests in the falsehood. A capable master he sounds! James and Kate will astound you as they are able to metaphorically stumble over any flat surface. But wait theres more! Half way through this Regency romance a mystery subplot comes barreling in to spice up the lot! A threat to harm Kate and even at times James is presented if the betrothal is not severed. With a houseful of guests and a failed suitor there are several suspects. Though really only one with a plain motive. What Charmed: ♡ Kate’s troubling home background; as someone who grew up in a similar situation I was happy to see some representation. ♡Premiss- the concept of an estranged friend pretty much biding for your hand out of nowhere is a first for me. What Marred: ✗I found the character relationship forced & underwhelming, despite the promising set up of them being childhood friends they were not interesting, lacked chemistry, and were utterly pulseless. Romance full of platitudes/ hackneyed tropes, felt more like book was going though a check list, sticking to a schedule, rather than an organic, tangible progression. ✗No line in prose or dialogue stood out. ✗Kate is passive protagonist, she doesn't actually do anything. I did not witness her go though any growth/ hero's journey. She wasn't challenged, and on that note neither was James. Beyond her origin story of an abusive father, she is not interesting to follow and her personality is a blank space. ✗James. He I found bland, not clever by a half, and prone to let problems either fester or pull harebrained schemes that exacerbate the lot. ✗The antagonist was of the ridiculous 1 dimensional sort, that tell you their whole backstory and reveal their plans like a bond villain. Can't we get some interesting realistic antagonists, with depths, and a smart compelling schemes? The little threatening notes thrown in to end betrothal felt like that lazy gimmick oft featured in tween media like 'A' from PLL or Gossip Girl. ➳ This is the regency and thus certain customs are adhered to. One such is not being on first name basis with anyone outside immediate family, close friends, and perhaps a betrothed in small company. But two gentlemen Kate literally just met ask her to call them by first name? And she accepts both and allows one the same liberty? That I found beyond the pale! The Brass Tacks: I was excited by the premiss and yes, if I am honest, the pretty cover art, but I feel the story itself lacked force to propel it and I was fairly underwhelmed throughout. A story should have more to it: emotion, a message, characters who jump off the page- at least one of those. This was, I am sorry to say, a staid read. A lot of aspects showed promise, but were not exploited to their best advantage. There should have been more conflict, passion, personality, tension, but it wasn't well developed. A lot of small problems appear, but they are never dire, no true consequences are presented to challenge the characters as they solve themselves. The courtship is a snooze fest and so are the ill developed cardboard cutouts we get as leads & supporting characters. ꙳ Spice Scale rating: Chaste Bell Pepper 🌶 /5 ꙳ I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Steel

    I stayed up past 1am two nights in a row reading this book. I LOVED it. This book was absolutely lovely. I’m in love with James and his charming sweetness. He also had some super swoony lines that I re-read ten times. I love Kate and her sweet personality and how she relatable she felt. I love Henry and Lucas. Such great side characters and good chemistry. The plot was engaging and the writing was beautiful. I received a copy of this book in advance. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A clean regency romance full of lively characters and mystery. I found this quite entertaining and loved how the became reacquainted with each other. The thing that drove me nuts was how easily they kept doubting their feelings for each other. Every other day they didn’t know what to do or how to feel. It was silly really. Having said all that I know that I will definitely read another by this author. I hope this was helpful. Thanks Covenant Communication via Netgalley.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...)

    The path to true love does not run smoothly for Katherine and James! Giving in to their fears makes for a rocky romance, with miscommunication and deception coming between them. I loved that James stepped in and rescued Katherine, but his vulnerability shows when he hides the fact that he is the earl whom she will wed. His justification that they could rekindle their friendship before revealing it to her was thin, and thankfully his friends pointed out the flaws in his impetuous plan. Learning t The path to true love does not run smoothly for Katherine and James! Giving in to their fears makes for a rocky romance, with miscommunication and deception coming between them. I loved that James stepped in and rescued Katherine, but his vulnerability shows when he hides the fact that he is the earl whom she will wed. His justification that they could rekindle their friendship before revealing it to her was thin, and thankfully his friends pointed out the flaws in his impetuous plan. Learning to trust James is understandably difficult for Katherine after all she has been through. Ironically, it is the threatening notes meant to break them apart that are the catalyst for creating a stronger bond. I enjoyed their moments together when they could interact like old friends, allowing their genuine selves free rein. The climax was a bit melodramatic for my taste, but the happily ever after was just as sweet as I could hope. Looking forward to reading more from this author. Disclosure statement: A complimentary copy of this book was provided from a tour group, publisher, publicist, or author, including NetGalley, OR was borrowed from the library, including OverDrive, OR borrowed from Kindle Unlimited, OR purchased. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are unbiased and my own.

  10. 4 out of 5

    rufflethepages (Ruth Callon)

    You know all the hype about cuddling up with a book, blanket and hot chocolate? Well To Marry An Earl is that book in the triad of the perfect book day equation. Sure it's a simple life buuuut listen, it's bliss. I know you feel my words deep in your soul. Karen Thornell was given a great talent to show the world what a "James and Kate" love trope is. Unconventional engagement, house party, honor bound secrets, odd relatives, and earned trust. Whew and there's more! Yet I am not about to spill m You know all the hype about cuddling up with a book, blanket and hot chocolate? Well To Marry An Earl is that book in the triad of the perfect book day equation. Sure it's a simple life buuuut listen, it's bliss. I know you feel my words deep in your soul. Karen Thornell was given a great talent to show the world what a "James and Kate" love trope is. Unconventional engagement, house party, honor bound secrets, odd relatives, and earned trust. Whew and there's more! Yet I am not about to spill my very favorite part. *Bouncing my eyebrows up and down with this information* 😏 I completely enjoyed this story. Pre-order this debut novel. It's like she has been writing for years. This is my honest opinion of an ARC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    4.5 stars for this debut regency romance novel! This was a sweet and funny regency read! There were many scenes that had me chuckling throughout this book. It kept me interested and wanting to find out what would happen next. There is a mix of friends to lovers, mistaken identity, mystery, and some danger. I’m excited to read more by this author.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna (The_Reading_Pantry)

    Karen Thornell has succeeded in writing an engaging and entertaining story. There was even a bit of suspense mixed into the storyline to keep its reader guessing on what would happen and who the villain of this story would be. I was constantly on the edge of my seat anxious to see what would happen next. I did have a couple questions at the end that I wish were answered. Other than that, it was a very fun read and now I’m excited to read other novels by Karen Thornell. The whole story plot was r Karen Thornell has succeeded in writing an engaging and entertaining story. There was even a bit of suspense mixed into the storyline to keep its reader guessing on what would happen and who the villain of this story would be. I was constantly on the edge of my seat anxious to see what would happen next. I did have a couple questions at the end that I wish were answered. Other than that, it was a very fun read and now I’m excited to read other novels by Karen Thornell. The whole story plot was reasonable and realistic. Sometimes you read a book where the conflict seems to be out of the blue and blown out of proportion. Kate’s fear was reasonable due to the past that she had. Even though I was super angry with some decisions characters had made, the ending made up for it!! I’m very much hoping that Karen has plans to continue this as a series. Henry needs a love story!! So do Julia and Lucas! I received a complementary advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. This in no way affected my opinion. It was a great read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Julie Carpenter

    Two childhood friends, Kate and James, separated by Kate's father are reunited in a somewhat unconventional way. And their reunion is completely unknown to Kate. She's at the country estate of her betrothed, whom she doesn't know who he is, and believes that James is attending the house party. They start to rekindle their friendship, all the while James knows he is Kate's betrothed and that she doesn't know that. I really liked James's character a lot. I loved how he stepped up when he learned th Two childhood friends, Kate and James, separated by Kate's father are reunited in a somewhat unconventional way. And their reunion is completely unknown to Kate. She's at the country estate of her betrothed, whom she doesn't know who he is, and believes that James is attending the house party. They start to rekindle their friendship, all the while James knows he is Kate's betrothed and that she doesn't know that. I really liked James's character a lot. I loved how he stepped up when he learned that Kate's father was auctioning her off to the highest bidder. He truly loves her but is so worried about what happened in their past that he doesn't dare tell her right away that he is her betrothed. Yikes! That's not going to turn out well. ;-) But I will say that I loved all the guests at the house party. Well, almost all of them. Some of them were just kinda mean and selfish. But the kinds house guests were pulled into James's deception but didn't approve and encouraged him every step of the way to tell Kate. Kate was a sweet character. One who really had to learn to rely on herself for pretty much everything. Her father was very unkind and cruel. Her mother was just trying to survive emotionally and that meant that Kate wasn't given the love and care that she needed. Add to that a best friend who disappears and she realizes that she can't trust anyone. With the knowledge of who James really was, I loved how that gave the reader a different perspective while reading of their rekindled friendship and budding romance. Of course this pulls at Kate because she realizes she still cares for James but she is not free to give her heart to him. Never fear, all is revealed, and all is fixed. But of course it isn't done in a day. It takes time and building of trust and friendship. One of my favorite ways of James working to make amends was their carriage rides back to the manor after church services. *sigh* So many fun scenes. I laughed several times throughout and enjoyed my time reading this book. Be warned, there is a bit of a mystery and trouble in store for these two characters. See if you can catch all the little hints. I figured it out right away, other readers said it was a big whodunnit surprise at the end of the book! Duh, duh, duhhhhh!!! Content: Clean. Some mild moments of peril and a father who is angry and emotionally abusive. I received a copy from the publisher, Covenant Communications, via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions in the review are my own. Happy Reading!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Okay, this is a lukewarm review. However, this is my personal opinion and is not a reflection on the book itself. It's a good book for a book of its genre. But I've found that lately I'm getting more and more harsh on books in this genre (e.g. clean Regency romance). I don't know if that means I should stop reading it or what, because ... I did still enjoy reading this book. And I would do it all over again, though I wouldn't reread it. The characters were decently well-developed. I really liked J Okay, this is a lukewarm review. However, this is my personal opinion and is not a reflection on the book itself. It's a good book for a book of its genre. But I've found that lately I'm getting more and more harsh on books in this genre (e.g. clean Regency romance). I don't know if that means I should stop reading it or what, because ... I did still enjoy reading this book. And I would do it all over again, though I wouldn't reread it. The characters were decently well-developed. I really liked James's friends and their families and saw a lot of potential there! I also thought it was set up well. Though I realllllyyyy wanted the book to go in a different direction (covering some of their early marriage instead of being entirely about their betrothal period, short as that period was), the direction it went in was fine until about the middle when it started to go off the rails (more on that later). I was personally bored by the longer descriptions and the long periods of Kate just *thinking* which I felt were much overdone and often redundant. However, I can see how a lot of readers might really enjoy this. To me, it just felt like a bit much, fluffy and unnecessary, and I had a hard time not skimming it. That said, the plot was again intriguing, and there were some very pretty things about the author's writing style and the way she portrayed certain situations. There were even times where she made choices that were unique to her, and I really appreciated that! However, there were just some things about this book that drove me crazy! First, in my opinion, the way love is represented in a lot of romances these days is just off. And I'm wearing out on it. In addition, the way the heroine and hero viewed love was quite cliché (and unrealistic). Especially the heroine, who, like most heroines, seems to view love as some unstoppable force that she must resist despite the hopelessness of it all. I'm terribly tired of that "I won't fall in love no matter what" heroine who eventually "succumbs." I dislike it for being cliché, I dislike it for portraying love as something it isn't, and I feel like it's a harmful stereotype, too. There are people in this world who make themselves too hard for any kind of affection or feeling to penetrate. Inspirational movies and books make it seem like these people don't exist, or if they do, they just need a little drawing out ... but nope. As someone who struggles with letting myself feel emotions, as well as practically express love for others, every day, I acknowledge that they are NOT unstoppable ... and yet I need to have them. I need to accept that I need to have them. I can't just sit around and wait until the action of love happens or until I start feeling loving toward someone because I inevitably will. And yes, yes, I am taking this WAY too seriously. I got married last month, and that's made me really serious about love in a way I haven't been before. xD It'll fade in time, and I'll be able to enjoy romances without any side-effects. However, right now ... well, no reflection on the book, but I am rather done with it. Second, there was a big "plot twist" at the very end of the book that I hated, and I'd promised myself that if it happened, I would rate the book 3 stars. Otherwise, it would've gotten 4. I'll dive into that in the spoiler section, but basically, it was again not the book's fault so much as my fault. I was done with the cliché, and the book can't help that. The Spoiler Section: (view spoiler)[Basically, at about 50% through, the heroine starts receiving mysterious threatening notes telling her to end the engagement. I thought this was weird, as she has no power to do so, but the book never really addresses that, sooo? Whatever. Based on some not-so-subtle foreshadowing, plus the lengths to which the book went to try to "misdirect" me, it was pretty easy to figure out who was sending the notes and why ... sort of. Even when it was revealed why, it didn't make sense as yet another cliché popped up at that point - the "insane, money-hungry mother who does random but easily defeatable things" cliché. Which is one I'm done with, too. (Surely not every villain in these kind of books must be simply insane, so to justify their random choices and lack of true motivation, and so also to make them easier to defeat? But this genre seems to think that's the only kind of villain!) Anyways, these notes keep coming, and eventually, they threaten the hero's life. Heroine is worried but somehow doesn't manage to quite communicate this with Hero so to cause artificial drama. At the ball, Hero gets a note, this time threatening Heroine, so he publicly breaks off the engagement. He decides to NOT take time to explain to either his friends or to Heroine what he's doing, even though in less than a sentence he could've told a friend what was up and told him to tell the Heroine. But I digress. Heroine is upset and just decides to wander out into the garden in the middle of winter wearing a ballgown with the Obvious Villain. Obvious Villain literally doesn't even have to try to get her out there - Heroine basically just follows. (Why are heroines so stupid?) Heroine, who is an excellent horsewoman and not encumbered by a heavy pelisse, is then overpowered by Obvious Villain (an old lady) and then proceeds to get away but TRIPS AND FALLS like an ABSOLUTE IDIOT who has NEVER BEEN ON A HORSE A DAY IN HER LIFE. Like, I laughed aloud when that happens. How?! Is she really that helpless? Yes. Yes, she did. She gives herself a concussion and then just LAYS THERE throughout the next scene, doing nothing. Such a strong woman. Anyways, Villain has a gun and is going to just shoot Hero when he comes looking for Heroine. Why does she think this will work? Because she's insane. That's the only reason she thinks that 1. she can actually shoot him and 2. it will lead to her son inheriting and then actually better her situation (as there is no way they wouldn't know it was her because SHE IS THE OBVIOUS VILLAIN). To be fair, due to Heroine's incompetence followed by Hero's stupidity, this almost works. Excepting that of course nothing would come of their deaths because everyone would know it was Villain. But I digress. So Hero comes out, is stupid, and then eventually, after some more artificial drama, they disarm Villain, Heroine is carried up to her room (not wounded, sire, but dead ... sorry, I couldn't resist), and everything comes out and all is restored. After like three pages. I just ... I know I'm being overly harsh. I KNOW IT! And I'm sorry to those of you who loved this book. I'm the one who's in the wrong here. But I'm just done with the clichés and the kidnappings and the stupid heroines who lose their brains just long enough for the plot to happen. Also, the incompetence, and the lack of intelligence, and I just ... I'm done. I'm done. That is it. (hide spoiler)] In summary, this was a disappointing book for me. However, I don't regret reading it, and I think it was all right - if a bit on the cliché side. Definitely read this book if you love Regency romances! It's not Christian, but it is clean, and it's a perfectly fun read with a lot of engaging characters and an intriguing plot! ~Kell

  15. 4 out of 5

    Emily Cronk

    What a book, y'all. This was such a sweet love story. I loved how protective, patient, and kind James was towards Kate, even when she struggled to trust him because of her past. They were the cutest couple and it was exciting to see how everything worked out for them. I loved how the story kept me guessing about what would happen next. Also, I hope there are stories for Lucas, Henry, and Julia in the future. They were such supportive friends to James and Kate and great side characters. Take note, What a book, y'all. This was such a sweet love story. I loved how protective, patient, and kind James was towards Kate, even when she struggled to trust him because of her past. They were the cutest couple and it was exciting to see how everything worked out for them. I loved how the story kept me guessing about what would happen next. Also, I hope there are stories for Lucas, Henry, and Julia in the future. They were such supportive friends to James and Kate and great side characters. Take note, Karen 😉

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shley

    Karen Thornell weaves a beautiful and intriguing romance. I loved the characters, and the premise is so fun. A man engaging himself to the woman he's been in love with for years without her realizing it's him is my kind of story. And the genuine way the love interests overcome their personal fears and weaknesses and help each other grow makes this a story I'll remember for a long time. Karen Thornell weaves a beautiful and intriguing romance. I loved the characters, and the premise is so fun. A man engaging himself to the woman he's been in love with for years without her realizing it's him is my kind of story. And the genuine way the love interests overcome their personal fears and weaknesses and help each other grow makes this a story I'll remember for a long time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Karen Thornell

    James and Kate's love story is available now, and I'm so excited for you to read it! These two sweet characters taught me so much about love and trust, and, of course, writing. I hope you enjoy their story! James and Kate's love story is available now, and I'm so excited for you to read it! These two sweet characters taught me so much about love and trust, and, of course, writing. I hope you enjoy their story!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    ‘Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes. When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns tha ‘Katherine Cartwright knows through bitter experience that true love is fiction and trust should not be bestowed easily. Now, after two unsuccessful London Seasons, her atrocious father has decided to marry her off to the highest bidder to pay for his gambling debts, ridding himself of the daughter he never wanted. A profitable deal is struck, and Kate is packed off to the home of her betrothed, an earl she has never met. Or so she believes. When James Fenwick, the new Earl of Bowcott, learns that the girl he’s loved since childhood is being sold off like chattel, he’s determined to step in and save her. He makes an offer her father cannot refuse and insists on a proper engagement. But when Kate meets James again, her old friend cannot bring himself to admit it is him whom she is to marry. Soon, an intricate charade and a past that cannot be escaped jeopardize James’s chance at rekindling their friendship, to say nothing of winning Kate’s heart. Can love truly conquer all, or was this a match doomed from the start?’ ___________________ 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 stars. To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell is a stand alone historical romance and is a clean romance. I was hoping to like this book and, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very intriguing. The premise of them being childhood best friends reunited after years apart had great potential, but kind of fell flat. There were several points that felt promising, but they didn’t go anywhere terribly exciting. The pacing was very slow, the first 75% of the book is essentially horse rides, getting caught in the rain, and stilted conversations.There was nothing unlikable about the main characters, they just weren’t interesting. They consistently questioned their feelings and intentions, which got repetitive. And although we spent a lot of time with these characters, I just didn’t feel connected to them at all and I wasn’t invested in what happened. My biggest complaint was probably the villain. They were cartoonish, to the extent that they even took the time to explain their master plan before acting, giving the heroes time to thwart the sinister plot. What a shame, it really dampened any plot-strengthening that the danger may have added. It was also a bit ridiculous that neither of them picked up on who might be trying to prevent their engagement. I think this book was not for me, as it appears that others quite enjoyed it. Personally I found the book to be boring and I won’t be reading more by this author. _____ I would like to thank Covenant Communications and NetGalley for sharing an eARC of To Marry an Earl by Karen Thornell with me. This is my honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Erica Kerr

    I loved how there was something going on at all times! It kept me on my toes wanting to know what was next and also thankful for multiple solutions in one book! Enough going on to keep you interested and enjoying the book yet subtle enough not to be a stressful or intense read. I enjoyed watching Kate learning how to trust when she’s had so much weighing against her. With the parents she has and other life events, even including James, she struggles to open up. James has to be the sweetest man! I loved how there was something going on at all times! It kept me on my toes wanting to know what was next and also thankful for multiple solutions in one book! Enough going on to keep you interested and enjoying the book yet subtle enough not to be a stressful or intense read. I enjoyed watching Kate learning how to trust when she’s had so much weighing against her. With the parents she has and other life events, even including James, she struggles to open up. James has to be the sweetest man! He might have made mistakes but he admits it and tries to make things right. His heart is so big. The love story was paced fantastic and it was beautiful watching love grow! The side characters were a great mix and I hope to see more of his friends in upcoming books?!? I easily disliked the people who didn’t treat Kate well and loved the friends. Overall this was a beautiful laid back book that is perfect for snuggling up in a warm blanket and surrounding yourself in the regency world of house parties and crazy engagement situations.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Angeline

    4.5 stars I have been eagerly waiting to read Karen Thornell’s newest book! I found her through the bookstagram community and I was so excited to read To Marry an Earl! It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I started truly reading I was hooked. The storyline was really engaging and the characters were lovely. I felt bad for Kate, Katherine Cartwright, her father seemed like an impossible man who made life horrible for her. She was desperate to find a life that she could call he 4.5 stars I have been eagerly waiting to read Karen Thornell’s newest book! I found her through the bookstagram community and I was so excited to read To Marry an Earl! It took me a little while to get into the book, but once I started truly reading I was hooked. The storyline was really engaging and the characters were lovely. I felt bad for Kate, Katherine Cartwright, her father seemed like an impossible man who made life horrible for her. She was desperate to find a life that she could call her own, however her plans were once again disregarded when her father married her off to the highest bidder, an earl. Things start to look up when she is reunited with her old friend James Fenwick. But as she spends time with him, she finds herself falling for this man. However when the truth around her engagement comes to light will their relationship last? Will Kate be able to trust James after all he had put her through? Kate was an interesting character, she was trying to protect herself from more hurt. However, she also found herself falling for James and that made her conflicted because she wasn’t sure how she felt about him. He had hurt her before, so she was wary. I liked reading about her growth as she learned to trust herself and gain confidence. I learned to like her more and more as I read more about her. I also liked how she was a strong character, as she learned to overcome the obstacles that were thrown into her life. I liked James from the beginning but I also wanted to bash him over the head. He made so many silly mistakes with Kate, but he was trying his best. I liked how James tried his best to care for Kate and put her first. He truly did love her in his own way, but he was struggling to figure out how to show her because of how tentative she was. He was trying to learn how to love Kate and figure out what it meant to be an earl. He was kind and willing to help those around him. The side characters were also fun, I really liked James’s friends Lucas and Henry. I hope that they get their own books! Julia was also sweet. These characters really helped make the book. I loved reading about their interactions. The servants were sweet, especially James’ cook. James and Kate had to learn how to make a relationship work with each other. They also had to learn to work through the truth. To Marry an Earl was a lovely book! I would definitely recommend it, especially to those who like regency romances! I can’t wait to see what else Thornell writes. To Marry an Earl is a clean Regency romance. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher through Netgalley. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, a positive review was not required.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    All beautiful Katherine wants to do is escape her home life. She has a father who despises her and a mother who is distant. No one has ever really loved her and everyone leaves. She is so close to being able to claim her freedom, and spinsterhood, until her father, who is deep in debt, decides to marry her off to the highest bidder. James has loved Katherine for years, but his previous social standing made her completely out of his reach. Now, after inheriting an earldom from a distance cousin, All beautiful Katherine wants to do is escape her home life. She has a father who despises her and a mother who is distant. No one has ever really loved her and everyone leaves. She is so close to being able to claim her freedom, and spinsterhood, until her father, who is deep in debt, decides to marry her off to the highest bidder. James has loved Katherine for years, but his previous social standing made her completely out of his reach. Now, after inheriting an earldom from a distance cousin, he can consider marriage and his ling lost dream of Katherine. After hearing of her father's offer and seeing the types of men who are trying to :purchase" her, he makes a rash decision and makes an offer her father could not refuse. Being engaged to a man she does not know and then finding our he is someone she thought she could trust is one thing, learning to trust him again and learning to trust herself is something completely different. I loved being part of Katherine and James's love story. I would love to read the stories of James' friends!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    To Marry an Earl is an exciting, entertaining story of Kate, a young lady that has never known love. Her father does not care for her at all, and her mother cares, but lives in fear of her husband. Kate is basically given to the highest bidder, and the young man that wins her hand happens to be her dearest friend from years ago. James was her closest friend until he left without a word. Now, three years later, she discovers that he is the earl she has been betrothed to. She has promised herself To Marry an Earl is an exciting, entertaining story of Kate, a young lady that has never known love. Her father does not care for her at all, and her mother cares, but lives in fear of her husband. Kate is basically given to the highest bidder, and the young man that wins her hand happens to be her dearest friend from years ago. James was her closest friend until he left without a word. Now, three years later, she discovers that he is the earl she has been betrothed to. She has promised herself to never fall in love with anybody because of all the pain she has endured in the past. As the wedding day approaches, she begins to receive threatening notes to end her betrothal. Her walls begin to crumble, and in spite of herself, she begins to fall in love with James. She doesn't want to end her betrothal. The night before the wedding at a ball, James receives another threatening note, and he announces to all that the betrothal is off. Kate doesn't understand what is happening, but the author of the threats talks her into going out into the gardens. A very exciting ending to a great book! Loved it!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A new author with promise! I enjoyed so many things about this book. The characters were great. The story line was good. Her understanding of English regency time was good. I really like a book with lots of dialogue that shows you what is going on with everyone this had a lot of tell you going on. I felt like I didn't know the other characters at all. Her mother, the aunt and the father had more lines at the end of the book then threw the whole book. You learned about everyone threw her Point of A new author with promise! I enjoyed so many things about this book. The characters were great. The story line was good. Her understanding of English regency time was good. I really like a book with lots of dialogue that shows you what is going on with everyone this had a lot of tell you going on. I felt like I didn't know the other characters at all. Her mother, the aunt and the father had more lines at the end of the book then threw the whole book. You learned about everyone threw her Point of View instead of forming your own opinion. This is something learned and developed. She did better with the main characters with this. The end drama was a little off, it didn't seem to work. BUt the end kiss was great! The romance was well done. This is a proper romance with a bit of violence at the end and some kisses.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily Flynn

    I did not see the end of that mystery coming. I had a few guesses but no solid clues as to the who behind it. That never happens. I mean it could have seemed obvious but the motives and manner in which it was carried out didn't scream whodunnit. That being said, I really enjoyed Kate's journey. She needed to learn how to trust given the treatment of her by her father and her mother who was scared of her father. She really didn't have friends and had no one to depend on. I loved the interactions I did not see the end of that mystery coming. I had a few guesses but no solid clues as to the who behind it. That never happens. I mean it could have seemed obvious but the motives and manner in which it was carried out didn't scream whodunnit. That being said, I really enjoyed Kate's journey. She needed to learn how to trust given the treatment of her by her father and her mother who was scared of her father. She really didn't have friends and had no one to depend on. I loved the interactions with her and James. I wished he would have been a little more forthcoming, but he has his friends to get after him over that. I felt like the story moved fairly quickly and loved the development of the main characters. This is definitely one I am going to add to my collection. I received an eARC through the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest review.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lucinda

    3 1/2 elevated to 4 (the cover is a solid 5). I haven't read this author before and the cover drew me in (so pretty). It's a story of second chance as the main characters knew each other as children and teenagers. Kate has an overbearing, cruel father and a mother who won't stand up to him. After two unsuccessful seasons, her father won't pay for anything more for Kate and decides to sell her to the highest bidder. James, who's recently become an earl, hears of Kate father's announcement and mak 3 1/2 elevated to 4 (the cover is a solid 5). I haven't read this author before and the cover drew me in (so pretty). It's a story of second chance as the main characters knew each other as children and teenagers. Kate has an overbearing, cruel father and a mother who won't stand up to him. After two unsuccessful seasons, her father won't pay for anything more for Kate and decides to sell her to the highest bidder. James, who's recently become an earl, hears of Kate father's announcement and makes an offer for her. The rest of the story goes through the difficulties James and Kate face, including learning to trust and be friends again, and mysterious threatening notes. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alisha

    I came to the end of this story with a smile on my face because it was just so sweet. I enjoyed it very much in spite of the fact that the plot included tropes that are not my favorite, such as the hero hiding his identity for a while, and an unhinged baddie intent on ruining the couple's happiness. Although I prefer less well-trodden plotlines, the main characters in this were so lovable and innocent that they drew me in and had me rooting for them. I thought the writing was good too, and look fo I came to the end of this story with a smile on my face because it was just so sweet. I enjoyed it very much in spite of the fact that the plot included tropes that are not my favorite, such as the hero hiding his identity for a while, and an unhinged baddie intent on ruining the couple's happiness. Although I prefer less well-trodden plotlines, the main characters in this were so lovable and innocent that they drew me in and had me rooting for them. I thought the writing was good too, and look forward to more from this author! Thanks to NetGalley and Covenant Communications for this digital review copy!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Marinda

    In a literary world abounding with regency romance titles, Karen Thornell's writing is a breath of fresh air. To Marry an Earl is a lovely story with relatable characters, beautiful settings, and a well-paced plotline. The relationship between Kate and James had me smiling and cringing. Did I stay up late to finish this novel? Yes, yes I did. In a literary world abounding with regency romance titles, Karen Thornell's writing is a breath of fresh air. To Marry an Earl is a lovely story with relatable characters, beautiful settings, and a well-paced plotline. The relationship between Kate and James had me smiling and cringing. Did I stay up late to finish this novel? Yes, yes I did.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Gosh, I enjoyed this book! This comes as no surprise to anyone who either knows my reading preferences or follows along on GoodReads or social media, but I read (and enjoy) a lot of Regency and Victorian romance books. As such, I find it so refreshing when a book can surprise me by its twists and turns—and this one did! The trope mashup was so much fun. First of all, I really like James. He may have done a few things that earned an eyebrow raise or an eye roll from me, but I still loved him. I r Gosh, I enjoyed this book! This comes as no surprise to anyone who either knows my reading preferences or follows along on GoodReads or social media, but I read (and enjoy) a lot of Regency and Victorian romance books. As such, I find it so refreshing when a book can surprise me by its twists and turns—and this one did! The trope mashup was so much fun. First of all, I really like James. He may have done a few things that earned an eyebrow raise or an eye roll from me, but I still loved him. I rather found myself feeling as I imagine Lady Cheltenham did: quite fond of the boy but also wanting to shake him a bit to remind him of his sense. He is far too impulsive by half but he really is sweet and genuine. I found myself a bit frustrated with Kate a few times. But here’s a big caveat: I also understand some of her behaviors stemmed from her trust issues! She became hesitant to trust others because of the way she was raised and I do not blame her for that. When you have a deep-seated psychological issue like that, having one person do something right will not automatically override one’s reticence to trusting in general. In fact, I believe her issue was not that she couldn’t believe in love but that she couldn’t trust. (There. Now I’m analyzing a fictional character’s psychological hangups. You know I’m a reader now.) So while I got frustrated with how back and forth she was about trusting James, I also felt like it was believable. I liked her character strength and determination to make the best for herself, even without the support of others in her life. The cast of side characters in this one was spectacular, particularly Julia, Henry, and Lucas. I loved them! Karen, we’re going to get their stories, right? Right?? The little mystery side plot was so great! It was fun for me to do a little whodunnit thinking while simultaneously enjoying my swoony romance. Did I have an inkling who was behind the mystery? Yes. But I also had a couple other speculations so it was quite fun to see who it actually was and how everything played out. Okay and the epilogue! Karen, you write amazing epilogues that always make me smile. Loved it! All around, I think this was a wonderful story! I would have liked a cast of characters list at the beginning (like Karen’s novella had) to help keep everyone straight. I did have to remind myself a couple times about titles and rank and whatnot to keep from getting confused. I also could have taken another 50 pages to get even more romance. But I’m happy. I loved what I did get and I’m really looking forward to reading what Karen releases next. Note: terrible father; attempted murder **thanks to the publisher and author for an advanced copy with the option to review. This love is purely my own. Quotes I loved: James cursed again. He was developing an unhealthy habit of profanity that afternoon. “I have always loved autumn in this post of the country. Try color on the leaves are so striking, painted such beautiful hues.” -Kate’s Mother The very landscape seemed on fire with the combination of the colored leaves and the last few streaks of sunlight. But then he remembered that she was going to kill him when she found out. Or, at the very least, wish to kill him. Kate was likely too kind to truly commit murder. “What would you say to life as a runaway, Betsy?” The whole farce had Kate wanting to feign an illness. Or five. Kate rotated her head from side to side, taking in the simple but artfully done hairstyle. If she swooned from stress, at least she would be presentable while doing so. “…I do not wish for love. It is only a made-up sentiment, better left to poets.” -Kate The feeling of being on a horse was the closest she imagined mankind would ever come to flying. But on horseback, it was as if every sensation came loose, whipped about in the wind. Joy, sadness, anger. They were all free to run their course without consequence. It was exhilarating. …was there ever such a thing as too many flowers? In all his imaginations of how he’d tell Kate they were betrothed, soaked to the bone and shivering had not made the list. Mr. Fenwick…tumbled to the earth. He caught himself on his hands, but the mud was too wet, sending his arms siding out from beneath him. And his face directly into the ground. He stood with open hands on hips, glaring at the mud, then scrutinizing his horse. “I feel rather bad climbing atop you with all this mud, but being that you were the one who decided to veer into a tree, my sympathies are not long-lasting.” “I maintain that your mount is the faster one, bred from racehorses, I believe.” He grinned at her. “You may maintain whatever you wish as long as we both know the truth.” Her laugh was like leaves tossed in the wind. Light and buoyant. And gone before he could appreciate it. “Faster again, it seems,” Kate said, laughing. . . . “This time I think we owe that to your head start!” James countered, chuckling as he slid from Admiral’s back. “Yes, but I am riding sidesaddle, and I think that deserves some sort of admiration.” Perhaps one of the grooms would lend him a shovel. He needed it for the hole he’d created himself. . . . Once he acquired the shovel he would be sure to give himself a good bruising on the head as well. “Was I that obvious?” “Only as obvious as a starved man who was just handed a roast duck,” Henry chuckled softly. Years ago, she had decided to control her own happiness—to not allow anyone far enough into heart to have the ability to hurt her. “Marry a man only to have to speak to him and his friends? The horror.” -Kate Lately, it seemed Kate had no more control over her thoughts than she had over the weather, and no one could control England’s weather. James had just stepped into the corridor and was watching her with that look that made her feel simultaneously overheated and jittery. He would never tire of hearing her say his name. It was likely a rather unmanly feeling, really, to be brought to one’s knees by the sound of one’s own name. She laughed then. Truly laughed. A beautiful sound that James had not heard in three years. In that moment, James decided he would spend the rest of his life attempting to make her laugh. This mister’s eyes are brown like . . . dirt. His hair is black, unlike his shirt. His feet have boots. His head a hat . . . And some may say his . . . chin . . . is flat. -Kate’s love poem But Kate did so only to not hurt his feelings. It had nothing to do with the enjoyment she felt around him. And it certainly had nothing to do with his deep-brown eyes, the way his head fell back when he laughed, or the thrill of warmth that was quickly making itself comfortable in her midsection. “My mother often said she did not know true happiness until she knew the feeling of being loved by my father.” -James But lately, as she’d become more and more trapped in her father’s household and in his decisions for her, she had developed a fear of never finding the freedom she so desired. So she built her own walls before others could, striving to find freedom within them. But they were walls. Freedom was forever elusive. Kate had chosen the safer route, but it was quickly appearing to be a much less enjoyable one. “I have a feeling I will love whatever you paint, regardless of your talent.” He spoke sincerely, his wife smile still aimed at her. “Or, at least, I promise to always pretend that I do.” “I accept gratitude in the form of gifts.” -Kate Warmth bloomed the spot, from his hands out his touch Kate did not know. Or, she might have, but she would admit to nothing. Kate was dangerously close to falling in love with James Fenwick. And she refused to let that happen. She was turning into a milksop. Hasn’t she agreed with herself just an house before that she would close her heart off to James? Emotions were more work than they were worth. “I have determined what my final question will be.” Kate smoothed out her dress as she took her seat, get eyes crinkling at the sides as he met her eye. “I assume you desire to know how I get my hair styled so well, yes?” “I always believed I was too hard to care for.” “Never believe that, Kate. You are easy to care for, and those who have made you feel otherwise, myself Included, do not deserve you.” His eyes grew dark as he brought his hands up to cradle her face, a question in his expression accompanying the light touch. He paused for the space of a breath. Or an hour. The moment seemed to stretch long. And then he lowered his head. Softly, ever so softly, his lips brushed against hers. She giggled at the thought. Giggled. Kate nearly sighed at her own senselessness. She was becoming a regular schoolgirl. But she could not help herself, really. If any woman deserved to be a little silly, it was one who had only just been thoroughly kissed by the handsomest, kindest man of her acquaintance. His hand covered hers, squeezing lightly in an action that freed a wave of warmth in her midsection that did not fully dissipate even once he’d released her to sit at the table. “Kate, trust and love are never easy. And no one could blame you for feeling wary of them. But we do not always have a say in matters of the heart, and you already love him. You will break your own heart if you do nothing now. And though there is always a chance that trusting your heart to someone will result in some bruises and cracks to the unsuspecting organ, it is far more likely you will find joy unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. After all, joy is not often found without sacrifice. Perhaps for you, that sacrifice will be letting go of your past and choosing to invest in your future.” As he watched, the young lord smiled at Kate and chuckled lightly something she said. James fervently wished the man would choke on something. Was she braver enough to fight for what she wanted even if James did not want it? “I have loved you for years, Katherine Cartwright. I should very much like to love you forever if you will allow it.” “We could have waited” “If you could have waited, then it would seem I love you far more. For I could not.” He chuckled. “This is not an argument you will win.” She raised a brow. “Then you do not know your wife very well.” “I had thought autumn to be breathtaking here, but it seems spring is giving that season some healthy competition.” James chuckled. “Yes. It really is stunning.” Kate gave him a cheeky smile to cover her blush. He was gazing steadily at her, not the rolling hills around them. “How did I ever live without you, Kate?” “I am not sure, but you must have been terribly lonely,” she quipped, kissing him on the cheek. “I cannot race Nutmeg, but I will certainly face you to some of Cook’s lemon tarts.” James laughed, his smile lighting up his face. “And that is a race I will let you win.” Kate quirked an eyebrow. “I would win regardless.” Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Jones

    A daughter sold to pay debts. A woman bought because of love. You will not want to put this book down. The pace is steady and the suspense and missteps leave you thinking ‘just one more page then I’ll stop’. Kate’s father, Viscount Harcourt, is a drunk and a gambler too far in debt. The only thing he has left is his daughter who is marriageable age and has actually turned down suitors, usually at his demand. With his debts coming due he decides to sell her off to the highest bidder. Kate had neve A daughter sold to pay debts. A woman bought because of love. You will not want to put this book down. The pace is steady and the suspense and missteps leave you thinking ‘just one more page then I’ll stop’. Kate’s father, Viscount Harcourt, is a drunk and a gambler too far in debt. The only thing he has left is his daughter who is marriageable age and has actually turned down suitors, usually at his demand. With his debts coming due he decides to sell her off to the highest bidder. Kate had never expected this in fact her plan was to remain a spinster and live off her dowry, which unbeknownst to her, was already gone thanks to her father. But she has no say, she is to be sold into marriage. James, Kate’s childhood friend and recent, unexpected Earl of Bowcutt, hears of the plan is determined to save her. Approaching her father, he offers more than the others bidders and wins a betrothal to Kate. But discomfort over being an earl leads to lies and evasions weakening Kate’s trust. She has been hurt before and she doesn’t want to be hurt again. James now needs to set about building trust and relationship with the woman he loves. But when notes threatening harm to Kate and James begin to arrive priorities change. The hunt to find the author and stop them before they can act upon their threats becomes top priority. I received an early copy and this is my honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Crystal (Books Are Sanity!!!)

    Thornell writes a beautiful regency romance that had me hooked right from the very start. Kate was thrown into unknown circumstances with her betrothal to the highest bidder. Unbeknownst to her it is her childhood friend James! Side note: James is just everything! *Sigh* He is handsome, kind, and thoughtful. We all need a James in our lives! Thornell beautifully weaves a captivating tale of friendship, love, and heartache. This was a well rounded story with both POVs from Kate and James. It help Thornell writes a beautiful regency romance that had me hooked right from the very start. Kate was thrown into unknown circumstances with her betrothal to the highest bidder. Unbeknownst to her it is her childhood friend James! Side note: James is just everything! *Sigh* He is handsome, kind, and thoughtful. We all need a James in our lives! Thornell beautifully weaves a captivating tale of friendship, love, and heartache. This was a well rounded story with both POVs from Kate and James. It helped me understand what each one was thinking and why they did what they did. The mystery element was what really had me reading until the very last page! I love a good mystery and Thornell had me guessing up until the very end. Bravo for a wonderful regency romance that all fans of the genre will enjoy! I received a copy of this book for free; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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