This was a nice, straightforward introduction to the series, Games Earls Play, the Templeton sisters, and, of course, it includes a sweet romance. If you are looking for an exciting, heart palpating, hold-your-breath kind of read, well, this isn’t it. It is a steady, lovely romance between two very likable people who seem totally wrong for each other but are really so very right. I would have liked for it to be a tad longer so we could have gotten to know the characters a bit better – and so we could have spent more time seeing the dastardly dirty folks in the ton get their comeuppance.
The Templeton sisters are Emmeline (our current heroine), Euphemia (the oldest), Mathilda (the youngest), Juliet (her book is next I think), and Helena who is in service as the governess to the Marquess of Hawke (maybe he will be her hero???). Three years ago, two of the Templeton sisters had been in London for their season when their mother, Alice, ran off to the continent with her lover. The scandal, of course, drove the girls out of London and they’ve never set foot in it again. Since their father’s death, their circumstances have become direr and direr – until all of them will probably end up in service. So, when their father’s old friend, Lady Fosberry, coaxes Juliet and Emmaline back to London, it is their hope that Juliet will make a match – particularly with Lord Melrose.
Jonathan Parrish, the Earl of Melrose, is the male equivalent of a diamond of the first water. All the ladies admire him, sigh over him, and wish he’d notice them. He’s decided he’ll marry this season – and he supposes it might as well be Lady Christine Dingley since his mother once expressed a desire for that. He’s not particularly attracted to her, but he does have to marry. Isn’t it nice that fate has a way of stomping all over our best-laid plans?
At Lady Fosberry’s ball, Jonathan heads across the ballroom to request a dance from Lady Christine but becomes distracted when he notices a lovely widow with whom he’s spent some pleasant hours. Did I mention Jonathan is drunk as a skunk? He follows the lady from the ballroom and thinks he has lost her until he enters the library and notices her (well, he thinks it is her) there. He quietly comes up behind her and — well, she didn’t stop him from kissing her – and she even kissed him back. Only, it wasn’t the lady he thought it was. Oops! He never saw her face because it was so dark – and now, he really wants to find her, she intrigues him – but he has no idea how to find her nor can he even describe her.
I really liked Jonathan because he was a lovely, sweet, caring, honorable man. I also really liked Emmeline who was all about family, and it was heart-warming to see the two of them become friends and then come to love each other. Again, I would really have liked the book to have been just a tad longer so we could see more of their coming to love each other.
I would recommend this book to a friend as a nice set-up for what promises to be a very nice series. The writing is good, the characters are very likable, the plot is a good one, but, overall, it is a pretty bland read. The set-up for the next book, which I assume will feature Juliet and Jonathan’s friend Lord Cross, is threaded throughout this one.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.