The Beastly Earl by Monica Burns
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Reckless Rockwoods #5
Release Date: December 24, 2019
Almost three years after the fire that claimed her brother Caleb and her husband Devin, Louisa Morehouse nee Rockwood, Viscountess Westbrook, has decided to go to Callendar Abbey for some time alone to center herself. She leaves her two sons with her brother Sebastian, Earl of Melton and sets off for the remote Scottish estate. Her trip is without incident, until she sets out to the Abbey from the train station. A storm spooks the horses and her driver is hurt, she takes a horse and rides out on the moors hoping to find help. She is thrown from her horse and injured, she would have died if not for her brother Caleb’s urging to get up and move. She goes as far as she can and finally collapses, but Caleb assures her that “he” is coming for her.
“He” is Ewan Colquhoun, the Earl of Argaty. Ewan returned from the Sudan a almost a year ago a changed man, physically and emotionally. He lost an arm and an eye in the wars and has become a bit of a hermit, he is angry and bitter, not just about his injuries, Argaty Keep is not a haven for him, but he accepts the responsibilities of the earldom and tries to tolerate his nasty, hateful mother and ignore his late wife’s son. When his steward tells him that a horse has shown up in the stables and they believe the rider is lost on the moors, Ewan grudgingly sets out without his eye patch or a glove to cover his prosthetic arm to find the missing rider. He finds Louisa and brings her back the Keep, he tends her injuries and nurses her through a fever. He thinks she is lovely, but believes she was repulsed by him on the moors and once she is well, stays far away from her. But Louisa is not going to be brushed off, she has the gift of sight (an dara sealladh, a trait shared by many in the Rockwood family) and is sure she needs to be at the Keep – she convinces Ewan to hire her as governess to his son Ross, she doesn’t tell him exactly who she is and she concocts a story of going to the Abbey for a position of a companion, a position she lost when Lady Matilda learned she had children. She implies she needs a position and asked him to let her sons Charles (Viscount Westbrook) and William “Wills” join her.
Louisa originally believes that she was sent to help Ross, but as time passes, she thinks Ewan might be the real person she was meant to help. She is attracted to the surly man and when they finally give into their mutual passion, it is beautiful and it seems like their HEA is a forgone conclusion. But what fun would that be? Secrets and lies will have Ewan pushing Louisa away and a gothic twist may keep them apart forever.
I really enjoyed this installment of the Reckless Rockwell series. The story is well written, paced well, has wonderful characters, lots of secrets, really evil villains, some nail biting scenes, a bit of comic relief, a little heartache, some steamy love scenes, a dash of the paranormal thrown in and an incredibly romantic epilogue. I really appreciate that the author prefaced the story with her author notes, it explained many things in the story that might have confused a reader if the notes were left to the end AND she provided a glossary of Scottish/Gaelic terms – also helpful. I do wish there had been a little more background on the Rockwood “gift”, but even without that information, I found this to be wonderful book that I am happy to recommend, it is the fifth book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me.*