The Bachelor Earl
The Bachelor Earl is the prequel novella to Darcy Burke’s The Untouchables series. I have not read that series yet, but did not find it difficult to follow the story in this novella.
Eugenia Aldwick, the Dowager Duchess of Kendal, decides to slowly re-enter society following two years of mourning for her beloved husband, and chooses a small house party her cousin is throwing as her first event. Unbeknownst to Genie, the party is meant as a sort of matchmaking retreat: only eligible gentleman and widows are invited to attend in the hopes they’ll find love (or at least an affair). There, Genie meets (again) Edmund Holt, Earl of Satterfield. In their youth, Edmund was infatuated with Genie but never said anything until it was too late and she’d married someone else. Now, twenty years later and still single (which, it is strongly implied, is because he has never stopped loving Genie), he sees the house party as a chance to woo her – which he does, until she informs him she was unable to have a child in the entire two decades of marriage and therefore cannot give him the heir he needs. Edmund suggests an affair for the duration of the house party instead, and Genie agrees. It’s not long, though, before their feelings become involved and it’s clear some sacrifices must be made for the couple to find happiness.
I really loved the idea of an older heroine, even if her inability to have children was brought up a lot. I also liked that Genie had loved her first husband, as often in historical romances featuring a widow/widower, that’s not the case. While I liked Genie well enough, I didn’t really see what Edmund found appealing about her beyond the fact he’d been attracted to her previously. I was very nervous the entire time I was reading this that there would be a miracle baby (after all, it could’ve been an issue with her first husband) but I was glad Ms. Burke avoided that cliché.
As far as a diversion for a few hours goes, this novella will do the trick. And readers of The Untouchables series will appreciate seeing Genie and Edmund fall in love. Those that haven’t read the series will also enjoy this title, as it is still a pleasant romance.
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