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Book+Main Loves: An Unexpected Earl

by Beth Cranford

Welcome to Book+Main Loves, a place for us to recommend some of the books that have captured our hearts and our fancy. We’re excited to share with you all the romance reads that have made us smile and laugh, cringe and cry, and all the feels in between. If you’d like to know more about Book+Main Loves, please feel free to reach to us at contact@bookandmain.com or by commenting below. Now, without any further ado, let’s get into it!

An Unexpected Earl

Series: Lords of the Armory #2

Author: Anna Harrington

Release Date: February 23, 2021

If you’d asked me a few years ago what my favorite romance trope was I would most likely have said second chance. Perhaps even without hesitation — there’s just something about seeing love regrow from the ashes; about knowing that a foundation exists upon which love can grow.

Later, I would have perhaps prevaricated somewhat, then added romantic suspense to the mix. Prior to picking up my first romance book at the ripe ol’ age of 30, I was a voracious mystery reader, and finding the combination of romance and suspense was kind of like coming home.

Now, however? Well, now it turns out that I can love them both — call them both my favorites where they exist in the same book, set in Regency England. You heard it here first: Historical Second Chance Romantic Suspense. That is my jam.

And my jam is written to sweet perfection in Anna Harrington’s second Lords of the Armory book, An Unexpected Earl. Brandon Pearce, former nobody who was not allowed to aspire to the hand of Miss Amelia Howard, returns to Miss Howard’s life in a startling, mysterious and, quite frankly, sexy way. Now the Earl of Sandhurst, and a celebrated Brigadier, Pearce encounters Amelia at a masquerade ball as he works to infiltrate the secretive — and criminal — group, Scepter. From there unfolds a story that is at times heart-racing and edge-of-your-seat good, while also being swoony and spicy, and a great deal of fun.

I honestly could not read this book fast enough. I had to force myself to slow down so as not to miss anything, and to make sure I properly savored it. It is a book worth savoring, after all, written as it is with charm and color; a book that captures the vivid red of “Lady Scarlett’s” dress as well as it illustrates the rakish posture of the Earl of Sandhurst as he casually leans against a piece of furniture. A book that shows you multiple elements and dares you to favor one over the other.

“…a story that is at times heart-racing and edge-of-your-seat good, while also being swoony and spicy, and a great deal of fun.”

I certainly can’t do it. The romantic part of romantic suspense was so very lovely. There was confusion and anger and disappointment, those staples of second chance romance, but there was also yearning, mourning for the lost years, hope for the future, and an undeniable chemistry that had the potential to burn any who got too close. As Pearce and Amelia cross wits (and metaphorical swords), so to do they move toward each other in a way that made my heart happy. Even as their secrets, their obstacles, became increasingly likely to derail them, my heart felt light. I fell in love with them as a couple as surely as they fell in love with each other.

But having said that, what of the suspense aspect? It was a continuation of sorts from the first book in this series, An Inconvenient Duke (although reading that book is not required), and it was neither ignored or overshadowed by Pearce and Amelia’s love story. Indeed, it was a wonderful complement to it — it gave their love a space to grow, an urgency that led to chase scenes and declarations and some decidedly unproper behavior.

And it brought the book to a conclusion about which I cannot stop thinking. The vulnerability of Amelia and the strength of Pearce — or was that the vulnerability of Pearce and the strength of Amelia? — only bolstered my need to read the next book in this series which had already been piqued by the mysterious Merritt Rivers and his ability to summon riots from thin air. I look forward to learning more about him and discovering if perhaps Historical Second Chance Romantic Suspense has a competitor for my affections in Historical Opposites Attract Romantic Suspense…

You Might Also Like:

An Inconvenient Duke by Anna Harrington

This Earl of Mine by Kate Bateman

All Scot and Bothered by Kerrigan Byrne

About Beth

Beth Cranford was born and raised in Australia, but followed her heart (and her husband) to the United States in her late 20s. As the mother of two kids, she’s learned that you can turn anything into a song and that slime does not belong in carpeted areas (or polite society). You can most often find her with her Kindle in hand, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, or spending way too many hours playing Animal Crossing.

Follow her @BethCranford on B+M Bites.

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