The Wicked Heir by Elizabeth Michels and The Earl by Katharine Ashe

The Wicked Heir (The Spare Heirs, #3)The Wicked Heir by Elizabeth Michels

Barbara’s Rating:  5 of 5 stars

Series: Spare Heirs Society #3
Publication Date: July 4, 2017

I rarely give 5-star reviews, but this one definitely deserves it. I haven’t read the other books in the series, but you don’t need to read them in order to enjoy this book.

First, I’ll mention the Spare Heirs Society. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. Since I hadn’t read the first two books of the series, I assumed that it was a group of gentlemen who had banded together to help each other succeed financially in life by advising each other on investments, etc. Not so, although they do some of that kind of thing. To me, they sound sort of like a benign mafia. They do help the downtrodden by providing protection to places that are generally preyed upon – like gaming hells and brothels, etc. The members are paid a stipend and those who need it are even offered a place to stay in the ‘headquarters’. I’m thinking that maybe after this book they may head toward more aboveboard, totally legal enterprises. I hope so.

Fallon St. James is a
control freak. We don’t really learn a lot about his background other than his deceased father was a drunken lout as is his brother (the heir). Evidently the brothers never see or talk to each other. Fallon is the head of the Spare Heirs Society and he devotes his entire being to the organization. He is always planning, meeting, etc. in furtherance of the Society – it is his whole life and he doesn’t know how to make room for anything else. He sleeps little and eats little because those are wastes of time he could be spending working for the Society. So when he meets Lady Isabelle Fairlyn and she decides they will be friends, he has no idea what to do with her.

Lady Isabelle Fairlyn has only been a ‘Lady’ for about four years. Before that, he father was an unlikely heir. Isabelle is definitely a Pollyanna – she only sees the good in everything. She lives in books and stories of romance and love. Her head is definitely in the clouds and she ‘falls in love’ every other month. Because of the contentious relationship between her parents, she absolutely can’t abide conflict and therefore, her version of love means that there will always be agreement, sunshine, butterflies and unicorns. Yes – she does sound immature, but I don’t think she really is – I think she just has no idea of what love really is because she hasn’t seen it.

When the villain sets his sights on Isabelle with an eye to ruining her, her family and the Spare Heirs because of an old grudge, Fallon has to save her. When he finds her unconscious and nearly dead along with a ‘confession’ letter about missing artwork from the museum he takes her to his home (which is also the SHS headquarters). He has to keep her locked up in order to keep her safe and protected – so – of course he locks her in his bedroom. Why – well – nobody other than him can provide her with the protection she needs. Well, I told you he was a control freak!

As they spend the next month in close proximity to each other, they get to know each other and really care for each other. Fallon, however, can’t see a future for them together because of the Spare Heirs. Plus, he’s afraid of her finding out about the Heirs and what they really do. The read, the solution to the troubles and the road to love are all wonderfully done with the excellent writing of Elizabeth Michels. I definitely recommend the book.

“I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

The Earl (Devil's Duke, #2; Falcon Club, #5)The Earl by Katharine Ashe

Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Falcon Club #5 and Devil’s Duke #2
Publication Date: October 25, 2016

This is a cross-over book and finishes the Falcon Club series and is book #2 in the Devil’s Duke Series. I haven’t read any of the books in either series, but that didn’t take away from reading this book. It did make me curious about the Devil’s Duke, so I may read the next book in that series. I rated this book 3-stars because I so thoroughly disliked Lady Emily Vale (Lady Justice). I loved Peregrine (Colin Gray, the Earl of Egremoor) and I liked the story-line, but I just disliked Lady Emily. Some reviewers have described her as a feminist, but I see her as a hater and very mean spirited.

Peregrine and Lady Justice have had a long-standing feud because they are on such opposite sides of every issue. I see Peregrine grow and adjust some of his views, but I don’t see the growth with Lady Justice. I can’t picture a HEA for them (although they got one) because I can see her being unyielding and him having to do all of the yielding. I can’t picture him happily doing that forever.

Lady Justice’s sister is missing and she wants Peregrine’s help in finding her – but – she’s not willing to be honest with him and let him know she’s Lady Justice. He assumes Lady Justice is actually a man and that really sets her off. Anyway – she needs him so she tries to hoodwink him into doing an investigation. Then, at the meeting they set up, she recognizes him as an old childhood friend of hers who she now hates. So, she tries to cancel the request for help – but Peregrine goes forward with it anyway. *** BTW — the hate her is her main driver – and when the reason is revealed it is so very, very, very lame.

Lady Justice heads to Scotland (from London) with only a maid/companion and a coachman. That is so unacceptable. She does many, many, many things that are totally unacceptable for the period and I can’t see how she isn’t scorned and shunned by society. That part of the story just doesn’t work.

Then, when she gets to Scotland and runs into Peregrine, they are mistaken for a pair of highway men who have murdered someone. They take off on a cross-country chase and spend much time together. She still doesn’t tell him who she is until he finds out at the very end because it is the only way they can get out of the situation they are in.

I won’t tell you more of the story – you’ll just have to read it for yourself if you are interested. There was a set-up for the next book in the Devil’s Duke series and I may give that one a try.

I like strong women in my books, but I didn’t like this one. I’ll hope the next heroine is more likeable.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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