by Lisa Berne
Series: The Penhallow Dynasty
Genre: Adult Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Christopher Beck came striding into a glamorous London drawing-room and can’t believe his eyes. The last time he’d seen Gwendolyn Penhallow, she was a dreamy, strong-willed girl with a wild imagination, and now she’s a beautiful and beguiling young lady . . . who’s engaged to Society’s darling the Earl of Westenbury. Christopher had fled England to seek adventure elsewhere. Has he found it here too — the most delightful adventure of his life?
Gwendolyn is sure she’s betrothed to the most wonderful man in the world. But then, shockingly, Christopher Beck shows up. Nobody has heard from him in years — and not only he is very much alive, he’s also sinfully attractive, blithely unconventional, and disturbingly fun to be with. Which wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that she’s, well, promised to another. And just what on earth is she going to do about it?
She was breathtakingly lovely, golden-haired, blue- eyed, slim, dressed all in white and moving with what struck him as unselfconscious grace. She was smiling at him with such evident friendliness that he couldn’t help but smile back.
And then it hit him.
It was Gwendolyn Penhallow.
Christopher took another swallow of his champagne and put the glass onto the tray of a passing servant.
The last time he’d seen Gwendolyn, it was back in Whitehaven and he had been little more than a rude, restless, hostile boy— angry and lost. He had left England the very next day and, every once in a while, when his spirits had sunk very low, he’d thought back to that moment, years ago, when she had taken his hand in hers, and with such kind sweetness that he had been rather paralyzed. And here she was, graceful, radiant, coming close, hold-ing out her gloved hands to him, saying warmly:
“Christopher! You’re alive!”
Apparently, I haven’t read any of the books in this series yet–not sure how that happened!–but it worked perfectly fine as a standalone. And, bonus! I’ve now got 3 more books to add to my TBR. Not that I needed any help in that department, mind you… 😉
I really loved Christopher and Gwendolyn, even though he wasted his big opportunity to marry Gwennie the first time she asked him, at age fourteen, to get it over with quickly and rather painlessly. (Not much of a spoiler–she asks him right away in chapter one.) Naturally that wouldn’t have made for much of a book, so instead they go their separate ways, Christopher making his way to the continent and Gwennie eventually embarking on a London season and getting engaged to the earl of her dreams (and of the title, of course).
But that’s okay, because Christopher saw her as nothing more than his younger sister’s annoying best friend anyway.
Several years after that, Christopher is back (for good? maybe…) and Gwennie is all grown up. Somehow she’s not as annoying as she used to be–actually, Christopher finds himself looking forward to spending time with her more and more. And it seems to be mutual. But what about her earl?
There is a bit of head jumping in this story–I actually lost count of how many secondary POVs there are besides Christopher and Gwendolyn–and possibly a few more subplots than we really need. But still, I had a lot of fun reading this and found myself shedding a few tears (Christopher’s visit to his family!) and squeeing with happiness more than once (the proposal! the wedding! the epilogue!)
I can’t help but notice that the Penhallow twins are still single, though…fingers crossed that this oversight gets fixed, and soon!
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
LISA BERNE read her first Georgette Heyer novel at fourteen — it was the effervescent Lady of Quality — and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grant writer, and a teacher — and now writes historical romance for Avon Books, with her stories set mostly in Regency-era Britain. She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.
Tour Wide Giveaway
To celebrate the release of ENGAGED TO THE EARL by Lisa Berne, we’re giving away a paperback copy of the book to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open internationally. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Engaged to the Earl by Lisa Berne. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books. Giveaway ends 4/30/2020 @ 11:59pm EST. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!