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October 29, 2019

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman ~ a Review & Excerpt

by MK French

Georgiana Caversteed is a shipping heiress fed up with fortune hunters of the ton and the cousin that wants to force her into marriage. She knows widows have more freedom, so she is determined to marry a condemned man. Unfortunately, the man she winds up marrying is none other than Benedict William Henry Wylde, the Earl of Morcott's second son, who was in Newgate prison undercover, working for Bow Street. She never expected to actually see him in Society, and he is determined to court his wife so that they will remain married.

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This Earl of Mine
October 2019; St. Martin's; 978-1250305954
ebook, print (336 pages); Regency romance
This Earl of Mine is the first of the "Bow Street Bachelors" series. Of course, the set up is utterly ridiculous, but it's laid out in such a fun way it's hard to resist. Georgiana is so disillusioned by the marriage mart that she plays everything like a business venture. Ben is ready to work for Bow Street because he's nearly penniless otherwise. It's actually her idea to pay him to court her when they try to figure out a way to avoid scandal while getting out of the marriage, and it was a challenge he couldn't help but accept. They actually get along very well, with similar views on the world and working, and it's fun watching them get to know each other without meaning to. They work well together on the challenges that face them, including Georgie's cousin and the case that Ben is working on.

The supporting cast of characters is fun as well, with surprising depths as the story goes on. Ben's fellow Bow Street Runners have great senses of humor, and the camaraderie between all of them, and even with Georgie, is a treat to read. I'm sure they'll be the stars in future novels of the series.

Buy This Earl of Mine at Amazon

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1.

London, March 1816.

There were worse places to find a husband than Newgate Prison.
Of course there were.
It was just that, at present, Georgie couldn’t think of any.
“Georgiana Caversteed, this is a terrible idea.” Georgie frowned at her burly companion, Pieter Smit,
as the nondescript carriage he’d summoned to convey them to London’s most notorious jail rocked to a halt on the cobbled street. The salt-weathered Dutchman always used her full name whenever he disapproved of something she was doing. Which was often.
“Your father would turn in his watery grave if he knew what you were about.”
That was undoubtedly true. Until three days ago, enlisting a husband from amongst the ranks of London’s most dangerous criminals had not featured prominently on her list of life goals. But desperate times called for desperate measures. Or, in this case, for a desperate felon about to be hanged. A felon she would marry before the night was through.
Georgie peered out into the rain-drizzled street, then up, up the near-windowless walls. They rose into the mist, five stories high, a vast expanse of brickwork, bleak and unpromising. A church bell tolled somewhere in the darkness, a forlorn clang like a death knell. Her stomach knotted with a grim sense of foreboding.
Was she really going to go through with this? It had seemed a good plan, in the safety of Grosvenor Square. The perfect way to thwart Cousin Josiah once and for all. She stepped from the carriage, ducked her head against the rain, and followed Pieter under a vast arched gate. Her heart hammered at the audacity of what she planned. They’d taken the same route as condemned prisoners on the way to Tyburn tree, only in reverse. West to east, from the rarefied social strata of Mayfair through gradually rougher and bleaker neighborhoods, Holborn and St. Giles, to this miserable place where the dregs of humanity had been incarcerated. Georgie felt as if she were nearing her own execution.
She shook off the pervasive aura of doom and straightened her spine. This was her choice. However unpalatable the next few minutes might be, the alternative was far worse. Better a temporary marriage to a murderous, unwashed criminal than a lifetime of misery with Josiah. They crossed the deserted outer courtyard, and Georgie cleared her throat, trying not to inhale the foul-smelling air that seeped from the very pores of the building. “You have it all arranged? They are expecting us?”
Pieter nodded. “Aye. I’ve greased the wheels with yer blunt, my girl. The proctor and the ordinary are both bent as copper shillings. Used to having their palms greased, those two, the greedy bastards.”
Her father’s right-hand man had never minced words in front of her, and Georgie appreciated his bluntness. So few people in the ton ever said what they really meant. Pieter’s honesty was refreshing. He’d been her father’s man for twenty years before she’d even been born. A case of mumps had prevented him from accompanying William Caversteed on his last, fateful voyage, and Georgie had often thought that if Pieter had been with her father, maybe he’d still be alive. Little things like squalls, shipwrecks, and attacks from Barbary pirates would be mere inconveniences to a man like Pieter Smit.
In the five years since Papa’s death, Pieter’s steadfast loyalty had been dedicated to William’s daughters, and Georgie loved the gruff, hulking manservant like a second father. He would see her through this madcap scheme— even if he disapproved.
She tugged the hood of her cloak down to stave off the drizzle. This place was filled with murderers, highwaymen, forgers, and thieves. Poor wretches slated to die, or those “lucky” few whose sentences had been commuted to transportation. Yet in her own way, she was equally desperate.
“You are sure that this man is to be hanged tomorrow?” Pieter nodded grimly as he rapped on a wooden door.
“I am. A low sort he is, by all accounts.”
She shouldn’t ask, didn’t want to know too much about the man whose name she was purchasing. A man whose death would spell her own freedom. She would be wed and widowed within twenty-four hours.

From This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman. Copyright © 2019 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Publishing Group.

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 and three young children.

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  1. Sounds amusing, if far-fetched ;) Books like this one are made or broken by great characters, and it sounds like this one might be good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. The plot is definitely one that is silly and tropey and all kinds of far fetched, but it's still really fun to read. :)

  2. Sounds like a fun to read contribution to the genre.

  3. What a fun read! Thanks for sharing, and enjoy.

    1. Definitely a fun read for a dreary day. You can't help but laugh at the antics they get up to.

  4. From the cover I would have passed it up, but after reading the excerpt I think it sounds good!

    1. I have to admit, the bodice ripper covers amuse me more than anything else at this point. But I really did enjoy the actual story. :)