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Monday, May 12, 2014

ARC Review: Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

Lydia Montgomery arrives with her step father, George, at a less than respectable inn. Her step brother, Tristan, is in trouble. She’s there to help him. Or so she thinks. Actually she’s there as payment for George’s and Tristan’s debts to the Phantom of London. They robbed him and are now his former employees. Edward Sanford, the Earl of Greenwich, needs a wife. More importantly, he needs an heir. Badly scarred and scorned by English society, he has to find a woman this way. If Lydia doesn’t consent, her mother will be thrown in prison. She relents and finds herself the betrothed of a notorious recluse. Edward is a scientist, like his father before him. He maintains a greenhouse for his experiments. He believes his research has been stolen by others. To prove his work, he plans an extensive voyage around the world. Lydia will be home alone, hopefully, raising their child. She would prefer to paint. She offers to help him with his research by providing illustrations of the plants. They agree on a month of getting to know each other before marriage. Meanwhile, his mother arrives. Not pleased with his choice of spouse, she berates Lydia. When she learns Edward’s brother died at sea, Lydia calls a truce with the older woman. Teach her to be a lady and she’ll make sure Edward stays home. Lydia would also like to sell her paintings. One lesson she has drawn from her mother’s experience, always have your own money. Lydia’s brilliant idea of keeping Edward home backfires. She leaves, and as his wife, is the toast of society and runs a successful art salon. She has the freedom to pursue her own life, but at what cost?

Edward is the second son, trying to be relevant to his father. Being a scientist is his calling and he takes it a step further. He invests the family money in new inventions. He’s forward looking and benefits from it. He’s gracious to Lydia and his brother’s former love. He treats her with respect and like a sister. He’s wise and worthy of love. Lydia sees beyond his scars. After spending time with her, he’s ready to resume his place in society.

Lydia fulfills her family duties as well. She’s damaged goods and would never marry because of the scandal. Edward offers her a life of her own, unheard of in 1768. She grabs it with both hands. A modern woman, ahead of her times in thought and how men should treat women. She sees herself as a partner and expects recognition of her efforts.

This story is very different from most historical romances. The story revolves around the two characters at his home. There are no balls or dresses or society intrigue. A refreshing change of pace. When Lydia does dress the part of Countess, it’s a breathtaking transformation. She’s ready for her close up.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |


  1. This does sound like a different type of historical romance & I think I will enjoy it. Pretty cover, too! Thanks for the review!