He's on the hunt for a bride . . .
Adam Faramond, Earl of Rothbury, needs to find a wife—immediately!—or his beloved grandmother will leave him penniless. But Adam, an unrepentant rake, would reform for only one woman, the woman he's lusted after—and loved—for years. It's rather unfortunate, then, that Miss Charlotte Greene would never consent to be the blushing bride of a rogue . . . or so he thinks.
Charlotte believes that the earl, the only man whose touch leaves her trembling, would never want a woman like her. Weary of her wallflower ways, Charlotte decides that a friendship with the earl just might give her the excitement she desires. Keeping their true feelings hidden, she and Adam plan a sham ceremony to placate the dowager. But when the "marriage of convenience" takes an unexpected turn, will Charlotte and her wicked earl finally reveal their irresistible, unforgettable love—and delight in a lifetime of passion?
PUBLICATION DATE: September 1, 2009
READ: September 2011
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: Regency England
SERIES: Devine and Friends #2
HERO: Adam Faramond, Earl of Rothbury
HEROINE: Charlotte Greene
SENSUALITY RATING: Warm
To Wed a Wicked Earl is the second book in Olivia Parker's series that started with At the Bride-Hunt Ball. I was recommended At the Bride-Hunt Ball from esteemed historical author Julia Quinn and thoroughly enjoyed it. To Wed a Wicked Earl blows Parker's debut completely out of the water. I laughed, I cried, I did everything that proved to me that this was a great read.
We first meet Charlotte Greene when she is at a ball for the conclusion of the bride-hunt. The bride-hunt (from the previous book in the series) is a scheme by the Duke of Wolverest to find a bride for his younger brother. Charlotte is one of the front runners for Tristan Devine's hand in marriage despite the fact that she is considered to be a spinster and a wallflower. After Tristan makes his decision, Charlotte is left standing on the dance floor while all the other "rejected" ladies are consoled by new dance partners. She is saved by one of London's most famous rakehells, the Earl of Rothbury.
Adam Faramond, Earl of Rothbury, has earned a reputation for drinking, gambling, and seduction. But, what makes Adam so unique from other rakes in historical romance is the fact that he has been in love with Charlotte for almost six years. He has spent much of his time dealing with a reputation he hates in order to hide his true feelings from the rest of London society. But, he cannot help himself when he discovers that Charlotte is almost embarrassed at his best friend's ball.
After the short dance, Adam and Charlotte have a friendly conversation that leads to a variety of other meetings. These encounters allow Charlotte to decide to become friends with Adam rather than attempt to court him. She strongly believes he is too fashionable for someone like her, but finds that she enjoys his company. Adam, on the other hand, uses this as an opportunity to be near Charlotte without revealing his love for her. This begins a slow, but sweet romance that grows from friendship to lovers.
Charlotte and Adam are both great characters that go beyond their early stereotypical roles of spinster and rake. Charlotte has become a wallflower mostly due to her shy nature. But, she does not let her shyness overtake her life. She is pretty though she is described as having the kind of beauty that grows over time. Plus she has a sense of humor even regarding herself.
Adam definitely goes beyond his rake persona. While he does drink, gamble, and seduce women, it is obvious how much he is going through the motions. His mother abandoned him when he was young and left him to the machinations of his father and uncles who were notoriously sinful. He was forced to go along with their schemes and developed a sense of unworthiness. He has been in love with Charlotte for many years, but feels like he is not worthy of her. His only desire is for her to be happy and he is determined to do that even if it means losing her to someone else.
Most of the book deals with Charlotte's slow discovery of Adam's feelings for her. The scene where she finally gets it is very sweet and original. Also, Adam must realize that the only person who has the right to say whether he is worthy is Charlotte.
There are a few interesting secondary characters such as Charlotte's supernatural-loving mother and Adam's best friend, Tristan, who is determined to help Adam court Charlotte. But, my absolute favorite was Adam's French grandmother who has a reputation of crazy behavior and disillusioned conversations. Her schemes are some of the most hilarious moments in this book. Similarly to her grandson, don't let the grandmother's reputation precede her. There is definitely more to her than meets the eye.
The only thing that is keeping me from giving To Wed a Wicked Earl a perfect rating is the ending. Everything was going smoothly for the couple. There were some obstacles to overcome, but they were done in a realistic fashion. Then, there was a strange melodramatic scene involving one of Adam's ex-mistresses. There was little foreshadowing of this piece of action so it felt abrupt. It also ended rather quickly and without much hassle. I strongly believe the book would have been great without it.
All in all, I loved this book. The unrequited love from the hero is probably my favorite romantic trope so I was super excited to read this one. And it did not disappoint. There were funny moments, sweet moments, sad moments, and definitely romantic ones. Adam and Charlotte are a great couple whose story I recommend for fans of light historical romance.
"He did not blame them. Because in truth, that's what he did, what he was. Seduce and dominate. Charm and manipulate. A user of women. How they would scoff, Rothbury mused bitterly, if they knew that he was secretly in love with the silly little chit, spectacles and all."
"By some miracle, Charlotte's polite smile never wavered. It was a proud moment for her. After all, it wasn't every day that a little old lady told you right to your face that your bosom was as flat as a flounder."
1. At the Bride Hunt Ball
2. To Wed a Wicked Earl
3. Guarding a Notorious Lady
4. Tristan's Story (Upcoming)
To Wed a Wicked Earl's Goodreads Page
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Olivia Parker's Website