Published by Harper & Appleton on May 15th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
For the past decade Harry, the Earl of Wycliff, has worked feverishly to reclaim all that his father had lost. Only one item remains elusive: the Gainsborough portrait of his beloved mother. And the impossibly young, stunningly beautiful widow Louisa Phillips holds the key to finding it. If only he can persuade her to help him . . .
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Portrait of Lady Wycliff is the first book in Cheryl Bolen’s fabulous new series, The Lords of Eton.
Harry is the Earl of Wycliff, his mother and father are both dead, and in the years since their demise, Harry has done everything in his power to earn enough money to buy all the items that his father lost to gambling. Not just bits and bobs, but estates too. It is when he is trying to purchase back his parents’ old London home that he first meets beautiful widow Louisa Phillips.
Louisa lives in the house but she is barely making ends meet. Her late husband left her nothing when he died. It was not a love match by any means, but his loss still affects her if only because of the dire straits she is left in. Harry believes that she owns the house and visits her there in order to offer to buy it from her. He is shocked to learn that not only does she not own the house, but that she has no idea of who does. Her husband never owned the house, a benefactor did, but she had no idea who that was. She does remember once seeing the man, but it would be like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to find out who he is. Regardless, Harry is determined to try and as Louisa is the only one who has any idea what the man looks like, and knows that he is a Lord from Cornwall, he hires her help. He hates that she has been left in dire straits so he kills two birds with one stone by offering her a home to live in and an annuity that will keep her and her younger sister comfortable in the future. He hopefully will find the owner of the house and buy it back, which in turn will leave Louisa far from penniless.
This story was really the epitome of opposites attracting. Louisa very much looks down on aristocrats who have had the world given to them purely because of their birth. She hates that they don’t speak up for the poor and especially hates how the penal system is run. Harry, on the other hand, is the ultimate aristocrat, oh he may have a bit of a seedy past when it comes to how he earned his fortune, but he still can’t see how the poor are suffering and how it’s his job to do something about it. I loved reading how Louisa helps to open his mind to what is going on around him. Of course the more time they spend together the more they start to realise that they are very much attracted to each other. Can they have a future together or are they just too different? What of the mysterious owner of the house, will Harry ever be able to find him and take back the family home?
There was so much happening in the story that there was never a slow moment. There was such a beautiful relationship developing between our main couple. BUT also there was a nice little relationship forming between Harry’s friend and Louisa’s sister. It was a very sweet subplot with quite an amusing scene between the two couples happening when it was time to travel back to London. Add to that what Harry finds out about the owner of his family home and the major drama that follows and you will understand how I can say that it’s a book that you don’t want to put down until you find out just how it ends.
I enjoyed every delicious moment of this book and recommend it wholeheartedly.