Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Edelweiss
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.
A new historical series from an author I have enjoyed reading before (under a different name). We meet a strong willed woman setting her own future and a rakish Earl who finds he can’t stop thinking about this intriguing woman.
Eleanor Hawke has worked for everything she has; she is the owner of The Hawke’s Eye, a scandalous newspaper that follows the lives of wealthy aristo’s around London. She uses the pretense of moral education but knows she is basically trying to increase her readership and make a living. Not meeting those she writes about makes it easier, until one walks into her office.
Daniel Balfour is the Earl of Ashford; he is not only tired of reading about himself in the newspaper but is also afraid someone will find out the secret about his missing friend Jonathan. He sets out to meet the owner of the paper and is extremely surprised to find she is a female and spontaneously challenges her to walk in his shoes for a while to see what his life is really like.
For the next few weeks Eleanor is treated to some interesting adventures, something a woman would never have experienced at this time. She gets to go to a gambling hell dressed as a man, a phaeton race dressed as a woman of the evening and a masquerade ball showing a seedier side of London, all fun for her curious mind. They find they enjoy each other’s company but she knows a future is bleak for an Earl and a commoner.
This is a very enjoyable start to a new series. I like how independent Eleanor is and how she knows what she wants her future to be. With a bit of mystery surrounding the story, it is also filled with humor and romance.
Eleanor is a woman of means in a time when it is very rare as she is a writer, editor and owner of the newspaper. She is also in charge of her own self; she has had several lovers and does not have plans to marry anytime soon, I love her personality. The author also shows she has flaws, as she admits to using her newspaper with a morals cover. She is an inquisitive person and I laughed during several of their adventures when she would have a head full of questions but could not ask them because it would give her disguise away.
Daniel is a good person; he plays the rake in public but leads a very quiet life most of the time. He likes to dine alone at a favorite restaurant and often stays home. However you would not know it by The Hawk’s Eye stories, as he is a favorite subject. He challenges Eleanor many times and I like how their witty banter sustains their growing friendship and he misses her when she is away from him. I adored the scene where they play a duel with limericks and sex, yes you read that correctly, very sexy with so much fun involved.
I like the premise of the story, a ploy to divert her from seeking the truth, that he wants to find his dear friend, but it was kind of murky by the end and she did not even bat an eye when she found out he lied to her. The pace works well as we watch their relationship build into love, with a bit of mystery thrown in that helps ramp of the speed. The heat between the two intensifies as the attraction builds and the chemistry works well.
Secondary characters play important roles, they both have good friends that are protective and I am happy that we will see them again in the next book. I also am intrigued by his missing friend Jonathan, it looks like a story I want to read. All in all this is a great start to a new series featuring women of independence and the men that capture their hearts.
I give Forever Your Earl by Eva Leigh 4 stars!