The Earl of Redgrave had abruptly broken off his engagement to Lady Abigail four years ago, marrying another woman and retreating to the country with her. After four years, his wife died in childbirth along with the baby. In need of an heir, the Earl returns to London to seek out another wife. In spite of himself, he is drawn to Lady Mary, Abigail's younger sister. Though Mary has no intention of getting to know him, they often meet at the orphanage where they both assist, or in social circles. In spite of himself, Redgrave is drawn to Mary, and soon can't imagine being married to anyone else.
I am a huge fan of Regency romance novels, and admittedly I don't know all the details of the time period. Still, it's a lot of fun to imagine the grand homes and balls, the gowns and the sights of London and the English countryside in that period. There is a distinct pattern that these novels take, and The Earl's Return is no different. There is a conflict between our hero and heroine that has to be overcome before they get together, and the couple certainly has their share of them here: a manipulative former father-in-law, a menacing ex-suitor, reputations to maintain, and family alliances. Mary is a very likable heroine, sure of her own feelings and needs and eager to help others. Redgrave is a tarnished sort of hero, but he does have a moral code that he follows to the best of his ability. They move within the noble circles of London and try to follow its constraints, even when it doesn't always suit them.
All in all, a very fun and enjoyable read in this genre.
Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.
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