An Earl By Any Other Name by Lauren Smith (Sins and Scandals #1)

Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

Leopold Graham, Lord Hampton, was never a man to let propriety stand in the way of his pursuit of pleasure. Hedonism is his only desire in life—until his father’s death saddles him with debts that threaten to bankrupt the entire family. Now the only thing that stands between him and utter ruin is marriage to a proper, and preferably wealthy, young lady.

Ivy Leighton is no sweet English rose. Perhaps it’s her gypsy roots, but she would rather make a spectacle of her independent spirit than sit quietly on the sidelines. If that means that the only place she’ll ever have in society is firmly on the shelf, then so be it. But when Ivy runs into the handsome, rakish Leo who’s looking for a respectable, well-bred wife, she can’t stop thinking about the troubles they can get into. Now she just has to convince him that a life with her is really what he needs.

I’ll admit I’m kind of a sucker for romances between two people who should be off-limits to each other. I haven’t read a historical in a while so I thought I’d give this one a try. I didn’t realize it was a novella length story, so that was a slight disappointment. I’ve never read anything by this author, and while she didn’t wow me with anything new, it was a solid, if short, read.

Leo and Ivy couldn’t be more wrong for each other. Leopold Graham is an earl desperate to repair his family name. With the scandal his deceased father created (dying in bed with your mistress) hanging over his head, Lord Hampton is in need of money and respectability sooner rather than later. Ivy Leighton is a suffragette determined to spend her life fighting for women’s rights. She is no meek wallflower willing to let a man run her life, and being half-gypsy makes her a less than ideal match for a man looking to avoid scandal.

The down on his luck nobleman looking for a wealthy, respectable wife is nothing new in the world of historical romance. Leo has definitely sown his wild oats, having never had a moment’s regret over his past dalliances. The weight of responsibility on his shoulders now that his family is in crisis has made him a changed man. No longer in pursuit of the next adventurous liaison, Leo has made up his mind to propose to a perfectly normal (a.k.a. boring) young lady with a large dowry. Unfortunately, all it takes is one look at the beautiful, vibrant Ivy to know that settling for the woman he had chosen for himself would be unselfish but so wrong.

Ivy is independent in her thinking, hell bent on living her own life and paving the way for women after her. She can’t afford a distraction like Lord Hampton. Her attraction to him is as unwanted as it is undeniable. In him she sees everything she could possibly want in a man, but she knows that settling down with a traditional English lord would be setting herself up for a life of tradition and dependence on a man. Her independent streak was no match for Leo’s seductive charm, and when you add in a meddling friend and mother, Ivy had no chance of refusing him.

I loved Leo and Ivy. They were both well drawn out characters and I could easily believe the attraction between them. The only annoyance was how often I was reminded of how wrong they were for each other. I knew from the description of the book that Ivy wasn’t the type to settle for a traditional marriage, and that Leo couldn’t risk a love affair with a wild gypsy woman. The author constantly mentioned those facts, even when it was quite obvious that neither Leo nor Ivy were listening. This was an easy read with enjoyable characters.

I give An Earl by Any Other Name by Lauren Smith 3.5 stars

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