“The Earl” by Katharine Ashe is the second book in her Devil Duke series. In this book, Ashe brings to a close the storyline of Lady Justice. I have just recently started Ashe’s books so I am not sure when the character of Lady Justice appears but she is a strong character through different books and her story interweaves with other characters in different stories. If anyone has read Ashe before they know to expect adventure and twisting storylines that keep readers guessing until the end of the story.
In “The Earl” Ashe focuses her long awaited story for Lady Justice/ Zenobia/ Emily. Emily has taken up a cause to fight for the underclass and underrepresented as a pamphleteer in London. She has many dedicated followers and her voice of equality and justice have caused many political advancements but also some trouble, especially for Collin Gray.
Collin Gray aka Pelegrine was the leader of The Falcon Club, a club dedicated to finding lost people through England. His group has to disband when Lady Justice not only writes some scathing criticisms about Collin and his group but also gives away the identity of his members. Collin continues to take on a special assignment and one that he can’t turn down when Lady Justice herself reaches out to him for help.
Collin and Emily or Zenobia as she prefers to be called, share a long history. They were childhood friends and their families made an arrangement for them to marry when they were very young. Collin was very late in his ability to speak, much to his father’s frustration, and Emily was always by his side. When Collin grew-up him and Emily grew apart and they were no longer friends. Collin has no idea that Zenobia and Lady Justice are one in the same. When fortune steps in and they are thrown together on an adventure, they situation is only made worse when they are mistaken for two highwaymen. One going by Collins name.
So, my thoughts. I loved Collin. I thought he was such a great guy and he was very easy to like and admire. Although a part of the upper-class he was very humble and dedicated himself to helping reunite people. I have to confess I had a harder time liking or accepting Emily. I loved that she was a tough character but much of her anger, resentment and discontent seemed exaggerated and worse unwarranted. Granted, Lady Justice is definitely fighting a difficult fight. She is working very hard to get an act passed in the House of Lords that will grant women the same rights as men! Something completely unheard of at that time. To Ashe’s credit, she is very eloquent in introducing the dire situation that married women faced. Yes, they were married but they were properties of their husbands. Her notes were fascinating to read. She explains that if a man is caught helping a married man escape from her husband that person is severely punished. As the reader, we finally know why Emily is so angry with Collin and it just didn’t seem to fit her indignant emotions. In my humble opinion, Emily has it pretty good. She lives as she wishes and no one is giving her a hard time. Her father pampers her lifestyle and to her credit she uses her time to help others. Aside from my dislike of the heroine the story is filled with adventure and one breath taking chase after another. Now I am anticipating the next story in the series with Emily’s sister and her determination to uncover the sinister scot who lives in his castle. Ashe’s stories never disappoint.
**ARC provided by Publisher**