Published by Avon on October 25th 2016
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
How does a bookish lady bring an arrogant lord to his knees? Entice him to Scotland, strip him of titles and riches, and make him prove what sort of man he truly is.
Handsome, wealthy, and sublimely confident, Colin Gray, the new Earl of Egremoor, has vowed to unmask the rabble-rousing pamphleteer, Lady Justice, the thorn in England’s paw. And he’ll stop at nothing.
Smart, big-hearted, and passionately dedicated to her work, Lady Justice longs to teach her nemesis a lesson in humility. But her sister is missing, and a perilous journey with her archrival into unknown territory just might turn fierce enemies into lovers.
¬¬Reviewed by Monique¬¬
Lady Justice, a pamphleteer whose mission is to defend the oppressed, and Peregrine, Colin Gray, the Earl of Egremoor and member of the now defunct Falcon Club, have been at odds for years in the press. The Falcon Club’s mission was to retrieve missing persons, but now Lady Justice is in a pickle, after colourfully insulting her foe for years, she needs Peregrine’s help. Her sister has vanished, but she cannot reveal her name, or else he will know Lady Justice’s identity. As an acquaintance of Lady Justice’s is also missing, that’s the excuse Lady Justice gives Peregrine, and so they end up looking for a missing woman in Scotland, and out of Peregrine and Lady Justice, only one of them knows the true identity of the other…
The public exchange of letters between Lady Justice and Peregrine is the stuff legends are made of: every word of these letters is perfection itself, and readers of Ms. Ashe’s Falcon Club series have been waiting for this story for ages, while THE EARL can also easily be savoured as a standalone book. The correspondence is just as brilliant in THE EARL, which concludes the verbal sparring of these two characters, in spectacular fashion. I opted not to divulge the identity of Lady Justice, which makes this review a tad more complicated to write, but you will not get any spoilers from me!
As is customary, Katharine Ashe goes to great lengths to ensure that historical accuracy prevails, which make Lady Justice’s cries against injustice still more glaring. Ms. Ashe’s superlative prose is incandescent and luminous as she captures the gorgeous Scottish countryside in all its glory. THE EARL has an exceedingly complex plot, with several characters and many layers, all leading to an extraordinary romance of unfathomable depth. There are also several small mysteries, in addition to the missing women, and it is while attempting to solve them that Peregrine and Lady Justice come to acknowledge their respective weaknesses, which both had somewhat erroneously perceived as strengths. There is a race to safety that is so vividly described that I think I held my breath nearly throughout the whole scene, and there are some revelations that were, to put it mildly, not at all what I expected. THE EARL is a story about being true to who you are, but also having a good look at yourself, and that is what our two lovers discover when they stop bickering.
The sex scenes left me nearly speechless: they are so exquisite, so filled with fiery ardour and total abandon, that will make your heart flutter and your insides melt. But the romance, O the romance! I am still not sure if the words to express the wonder of Peregrine and Lady Justice’s romance exist: magnificent, sublime, exquisite, glorious, do not even begin to do justice to the love story. The emotions are articulated with such clarity, that I feel that Ms. Ashe has found the exact way to express true love for the first time in writing.
And be sure to read A Note on Women’s Rights at the end, they are utterly fascinating.
Lady Justice and Peregrine got the book they so richly deserved, which seemed to be asking too much from the author, and Katharine Ashe more than rises to the occasion with the outstanding story of THE EARL.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.