Publish Date: 11/1/10
How I got this book: NetGalley
I am on such a historical romance high, and Lorraine Heath kept me on Cloud 9 with this one! The first in her London’s Greatest Lovers Series, Passions of a Wicked Earl tells the story of Westcliffe, and his poor wounded ego. When Westcliffe decided to marry, and took a young wife in his neighbor Claire, things went downhill quick.
Claire was petrified at the thought of her wedding night, and asked that Westcliffe’s younger brother and her best friend help her. When Westcliffe caught her in bed in the arms of his brother, he was furious and banished her to the country while he went to London. Now, Claire is back, trying to provide a season for her younger sister Beth. While trying to find Beth a suitable husband, she will try everything to get her own back as well.
I really enjoyed this one. Westcliffe with his huge ego occasionally got on my nerves. There were times I just wanted to shake him to get him to see what he had in front of him. He was also incredible selfish when it came to Lady Anne, his mistress. It was good to see his opinions of Anne and their relationship as the book progressed, and as he got to know Claire better.
I really loved Claire’s character. She was fun, free spirited, and an all around great character. I liked that she wasn’t afraid to show her temper in front of Westcliffe, and that she wasn’t afraid to fight for her right to be his wife, regardless of their past. I enjoyed her interactions with Beth. It reminded me of a loving sister relationship, kinda like the one I have with my younger sisters. The amount of scrutiny and ridicule she endured from the Ton, while doing what was best for her sister, had me wishing I had an older sister like that of my own.
Unlike Claire and Beth, the interactions between Westcliffe and his two brothers, Ainsley and Stephen were at times heart breaking. While it seemed as if they did truly wish to be a family, none of them could take the steps to actually become said family. I wished for Westcliffe’s sake throughout the book that they would be able to put aside the past and focus on being brothers to each other in the future.
This is one of my favorite historical that I’ve read of late, and Heath tells a great story. Between the love story with Westcliffe and Claire, the heartache between brothers, and the suspense of what will happen with Westcliffe and Anne, this book will forever be on my keeper shelf!
All in all, I give Passions of a Wicked Earl 4 out of 5 estranged marriages!