on January 16th 2018
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The Brides of St. Ives The picturesque seaside town of St. Ives is home to all manner of treasures . . .
It’s not every day a young woman is offered ten thousand pounds for a few month’s work—especially the plain, shy daughter of a tin mine owner. The only thing special about Harriet Anderson is her extraordinary memory for even the smallest, most obscure detail. So when she’s asked by a gentleman to help restore his once magnificent ancestral home, she simply can’t refuse, no matter how scandalous the position. The money will mean freedom from her callous parents, and a life of independence. Harriet doesn’t imagine dreaming of anything more . . . Augustus Lawton, Lord Berkley, cares about only one thing: restoring his beloved Costille House to its former, historically correct, glory. His late wife had taken great vindictive delight in transforming the old castle into a modern Victorian nightmare. Harriet’s remarkable memory will be invaluable in repairing it—and in helping him solve his wife’s murder. Yet as they work together, Augustus finds that besides her uncanny gift, Harriet possesses other priceless qualities. And as the castle’s beauty is gradually revealed, he can’t help noticing, so is hers . . . Praise for the novels of Jane Goodger “Fun, delightfully romantic—and sexy.” —Sally MacKenzie on The Spinster Bride
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Earl Most Likely is the second book in The Brides of St. Ives series by Jane Goodger.
Harriet Anderson is considered plain and unmarriageable by her parents. They spend all their time and effort trying to get their ‘pretty’ daughter, Clara, married to a member of the aristocracy. Harriet is often overlooked. She does get fed up with it, and all she wants is to one day have her independence, a place of her own, and a lovely garden for her sister to enjoy when she visits.
Augustus Lawton, Lord Berkley has a proposition for her that will give her that independence. He had an arranged marriage that went sour after the consummation of the wedding. His wife, having done her duty, told him she hated him and would never lie with him again. Augustus (Gus) did the only thing he could, he left her and went to America for a couple of years. When he finally returned home realising he had to give the marriage a go, it was to find that she had changed his beautiful ancestral home into something garish and modern. That same night she fell to her death leaving Gus with the eyesore that he couldn’t stand to look at.
When he discovers that Harriet has a fabulous gift of photographic memory he asks her if she had seen his home before his wife made the changes. She had, and she could remember exactly what the place looked like, what items were in it and where they went etc. He is thrilled at the prospect of getting his home back to its former glory and offers Harriet £10,000 to oversee the work. An amount that could see her buying her beautiful cottage by the sea that she had always envisioned. She could finally have her independence. She jumps at the chance and accepts Gus’ offer.
Neither of them expects to feel an attraction to each other, especially Gus who at first thought that Harriet was the plainest of women. The more time he spends with her, the more he realises that she is anything but plain in both looks and personality. He wants to be with her more than anything but knows, as she does, that he must marry well, and that marriage to her is out of the question. He does the next best thing though and offers for her to be his mistress. She refuses but does have a suggestion of her own. Something that will allow them to give rein to their feelings, but without marriage or the tawdriness of her being ‘paid for’ as a mistress would be. Can our couple possibly have a future together, or will expectation for Gus to marry his ‘own kind’ force him to leave Harriet to her independence once he pays her for the work on his house?
I loved Harriet. She could have been very bitter about the way her parents treated her, and she could have been extremely jealous and nasty to her beautiful sister Clara. She wasn’t though, she was as accepting as she could be about her parents, and she loved her sister with all her heart. When she first started working for Gus I was a bit put out by his arrogance. Even when he found himself attracted to her he was shocked that he could feel anything for the ‘plain commoner.’ I just wanted to smack him when he was thinking that. But I guess he was just a product of his upbringing, and thankfully it isn’t long before he truly appreciates just how wonderful Harriet is. I loved watching their relationship develop, and I especially love the way the story ended. I was worried there for a bit, but thankfully the author gave the story that happy ever after it needed.
I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series which is Clara’s story.
I voluntarily reviewed and advanced readers’ copy of this book.