When the Earl Met His Match by Stacy Reid
Tracy’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Wedded by Scandal, #4
Release Date: September 14, 2020
When the man she loves betrays her, Lady Phoebe Maitland and her parents are trying to force her to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, she turns to the man she berated for advertising for a wife and asks him to save her and her unborn child.
Hugh Winthrop, Viscount Huxley and heir to the Earl of Albury, has a lot on his plate. His father is dying and expects Hugh to wed, but warns him never to love a woman, Hugh’s mother was never faithful to the earl and Hugh is most likely not his child, nor are his younger siblings, but the earl loved him without question and accepted him as his own – even though Hugh is a mute and has been since birth. Hugh decided to spare himself the inconvenience of a season and just advertise for a wife – his ad generated several plausible matches and an ongoing correspondence with Phoebe, who was outraged that Hugh would advertise for a wife. So when she shows up at his home and asks him to marry her – he has to check his emotions, he is wildly attracted to her and likes her, but his fathers warnings ring loud in his head – she will be just like his mother – unfaithful and inconsistent – but he figures if he expects her to behave that way and never loves her, it won’t matter.
They settle into a routine and when she gives birth to a daughter, he is thrilled, they grow even closer after the death of his father and Phoebe knows she is in love for the first time in her life, she knows that they agreed to a marriage of convenience, but now she has hope that they will have a love match. All the signs are pointing that way, but when Phoebe’s brother Richard interferes, thinking he is helping her, her dreams of HEA are crushed by Hugh’s indifference. Can Hugh let go of his pain and love her or is it too late?
Hmmm – this was an interesting book, well written, but filled with errors and inconsistencies – but, to be completely fair, this is an ARC and may have been an uncorrected proof that will have the errors fixed before publication – it also featured a hero with an unusual disability – muteness – while this is not the first historical romance I have read with a mute hero – it is the first one where that disability didn’t seem to be a detriment to the hero – no worries of fathering mute children, no prejudices against his disability and no one seems to find it odd – which in a society that judged everyone for everything comes across as completely unbelievable – the fact that her mother was more concerned about rumors that he was not the earl’s biological son than the fact that he was a mute – just didn’t ring true. Hugh is a complex character with deep seated pain that he refuses to acknowledge, he thinks he can just turn off his emotions and therefore will never feel pain but Phoebe forces him to face the pain and take the risk that not every woman is like his faithless mother. The book has meddling, well intentioned family, steamy love scenes, abduction, an ex that won’t take “No” for an answer, a lot of angst, some heartbreak, some groveling and finally a HEA. I thought this was an OK” book, neither great nor bad, I didn’t love it or hate and while I wouldn’t read it again, I am not sorry I read it. This is the fourth book in the series, but they are loosely connected and can each be read as stand-alone titles.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher,*