Earl of Oakhurst by Madeline Martin

Earl of OakhurstBarbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Wicked Earl’s Christmas
Publication Date: 11/12/19

This was a delightfully, lovely and romantic read. A marriage of convenience morphs into a wonderful love story between two extraordinary people who both deserve all the best life has to offer. As with any book by this author, the story is well written and compelling and the research is impeccable as always. We also had a small visit with Alistair Johnstone, Earl of Benton, and his lovely heroine Emma Thorne who is now expecting their second child.

James MacKenzie thinks he is an unlucky man. Several years ago, he was in love with Lady Judith Eaton – or at least he thought he was in love – then, when his uncle died and his popinjay of a cousin, Gilbert, inherited the earldom, Lady Judith quickly announced her engagement to him and calmly walked away from James. Since then, James hasn’t been back in England and he certainly doesn’t want to return now. There is no help for it though – as the new Earl of Oakhurst it is his responsibility to move back and take up the reins. He knows nothing of being an earl, but his lovely grandmother will quickly remedy that. According to her, one of his first duties will be to marry – and quickly – and Lady Judith is still available. NO WAY.

Lady Penelope Keats is (was) a diamond of the first water and has had many, many suitors – well, she had them as suitors for a while. As soon as she showed them her intelligence and her keen interest in the healing arts, they ran the other way. She knows she can never marry because no gentleman would allow his wife to work At St. Thomas’ hospital – even as a volunteer. Yet, now, in order to continue volunteering there, she has to be married. Where can she find a husband who will allow her to continue her pursuit of medical knowledge?

When Penelope and James meet, they quickly discover that they can be the answer to each other’s dilemma. They form a pact – they’ll marry with no strings attached. Neither wants love or children, so it will be a perfect alliance. That works – until they share their first kiss – then each wants more, but won’t share that with the other.

It is a lovely read and it was so much fun to watch these two negotiate their way through their families’ expectations, strange goings-on at St. Thomas hospital, and their original marriage agreement. You’ll love the secondary characters – we’ve actually met Penelope’s mother before (she is a matchmaker) – and James’ grandmother is a delightful addition to the story.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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