Friday, September 25, 2015

REVIEW: "Forever Your Earl" by Eva Leigh


Forever Your Earl (The Wicked Quills of London, #1)
(Wicked Quills of London #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Avon -- Published on September 29, 2015
eARC, 384 pages
Read in September 2015
Received from Edelweiss

RATING: 4 STARS

THEMES/TROPES
Class Differences, Writer Heroine, Masquerade Party

SUMMARY
Eleanor Hawke loves a good scandal. And readers of her successful gossip rag live for the exploits of her favorite subject: Daniel Balfour, the notorious Earl of Ashford. So when the earl himself marches into her office and invites her to experience his illicit pursuits firsthand, Eleanor is stunned. Gambling hells, phaeton races, masquerades . . . What more could a scandal writer want than a secret look into the life of this devilishly handsome rake?

Daniel has secrets, and if The Hawk's Eye gets wind of them, a man's life could be at stake. And what better way to distract a gossip than by feeding her the scandal she desperately craves? But Daniel never expected the sharp mind and biting wit of the beautiful writer, and their desire for each other threatens even his best-laid plans.

But when Eleanor learns the truth of his deception, Daniel will do anything to prove a romance between a commoner and an earl could really last forever.


FIRST LINE
"A man rich in wealth and scandal walked into Eleanor Hawke's office."

MY THOUGHTS
I received a free eARC of this book from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Forever Your Earl is the first book in the Wicked Quills of London series, written by Eva Leigh who I first discovered as Zoe Archer.  The series focuses on female writers who live and work in Regency England.  Eleanor Hawke, owner and editor of the popular scandal sheet, The Hawk's Eye, is the first heroine and her life gets complicated when she begins to tangle with the rakish earl who is her favorite gossip subject.

This book gets going when the Earl of Ashford visits the offices of The Hawk's Eye in order to talk with its owner.  Imagine his surprise when the owner turns out to be the beautiful Eleanor Hawke!  But, Ashford continues with his plan which is to have Eleanor follow him around and feature him in a column known as "To Ride with a Rake" in order to distract her from discovering a secret regarding one of his best friends.  As they spend time together, they discover how much they like one another despite their class differences.

Eleanor and Ashford were such great characters!  They come from very different backgrounds, but are both intelligent and mature.   They each had a personal journey to go on and their love story helped enhance them.  Eleanor has come from nothing to running The Hawk's Eye and thoroughly enjoys her independence.  She also has some things to say about a woman's place in society.
"I'm not much of an expert on refined female behavior, but even when I was a little girl, I was told not to run, not to swing my arms, or make my stride too big.  That"--she gestured to the alley, indicating Daniel's performance from a moment ago--"it's the diametric opposite to the way women are taught to walk.  We're told to take up as little space as possible.  Not attract attention to ourselves.  Not claim anything as our own."   
Ashford comes from privilege, but understands that there are many people who do not and he sometimes feel guilty for not taking full advantage of what he has been given.  He has never found a true cause to devote himself to and fills that void with the stereotypical rakish behavior.  But, his relationship with Eleanor forces him to use his impressive brain and do some good with his fortune.
He'd thought he'd be the one in power here, but with only a few sentences, she'd stripped him entirely of that power.  He felt oddly defenseless even though she was right.  Outside of this alley, he was always in control, given the benefit of his gender, his class. 
Eleanor and Ashford go on a variety of adventures such as phaeton racing, masquerade balls, and even a gambling hell.  These moments allow them to interact in a very fun way.  Eleanor gets to go undercover most of the time and the descriptions of them were really well-done.  I especially enjoyed the details that were put into her male disguise.  I thought it was such a creative way for an earl and a commoner to hang out together and fall more and more in love.

The only reason that I didn't rate Forever Your Earl higher is that I felt like the plot got away from the writer towards the middle.  The subplot of why Ashford was letting Eleanor follow him around in the first place went away for awhile and then took over the book at the end.  I really liked this side story and am hoping to see more of the resolution in other installments.  And, of course, I am super excited that Ashford's best friend and Eleanor's best friend are the focus of the next book in the series.

Forever Your Earl is an entertaining and wickedly smart romance that I think showcases Eva Leigh's impeccable writing and character development.  Eleanor and Ashford have some major obstacles to overcome and they do it a way that felt organic and satisfying.  Can't wait for Scandal Takes the Stage now!

FAVORITE QUOTE
"We're slow-moving targets, us writers of entertainment.  They call us hacks, panderers, scribblers.  You name an insult, I've heard it: our readers are fools; the writers themselves are imbeciles; we have no talent.  And God forbid a woman should attempt to write something that isn't moralistic tripe.  Then the insults are tripled." 
BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Forever Your Earl
2. Scandal Takes the Stage (Coming 2015)
3. Temptations of a Wallflower (Coming 2016)

LEARN MORE
Goodreads -- Author Website

WHERE TO GET IT
Amazon -- B&N -- BAM -- Book Depository -- Kobo -- Google Play -- All Romance -- Audible

2 comments:

  1. oh I adored this book, so much fun. I especially loved when she dressed like a boy, it really added some great interactions. I was really surprised in how much I enjoyed Eva Leigh's writing style. I can't wait to read the second book.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh dang! I saw this with Renee and wanted it. Yall are killing me!

    ReplyDelete

Yeah comments!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I will try to reply to your comments as soon as possible.