The Dark Earl
Signet, Sep 6 2011, $15.00
In 1842 Staffordshire, England, the Lichfield family is selling the contents of Shugborough Hall at auction to pay off the gambling debts run up by the patriarch Earl. Nine year old Harriet “Harry” Hamilton accompanies her mom the Duchess of Abercorn to the estate. She loves houses but especially when she sees this one as she tells herself: “I wish you were mine.” She and the owner’s son Thomas Anson meet and argue. However, he has bigger concerns as his odious father burns down his insured other estate Ranton; Thomas vows to restore his beloved Shugborough Hall to its glory when he inherits.
In 1854, Harry and Thomas know each other socially but each conceals a deep attraction to the other. Harry has suitors who fall in love and marry her sisters with her blessing. Thomas must marry an heiress or lose his rights to Shugborough Hall. He proposes to Harry who accepts. The couple is happy together until she learns his reason for a hasty marriage; though true he asked her because he loved her before they married and plans to prove he still does.
Virginia Henley is perhaps the best author over the passed decade when it comes to bringing alive the Historical aspects in a historical romance. Her latest is made fresh by the matchmaking House that the lead couple cherishes. Bringing alive the early Victorian era, Ms. Henley provides another strong tale that her grateful fans will appreciate.