Series: The Bachelor Lords of London
Published by Avon Impulse on July 5th 2016
Genres: Regency Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
In the next sparkling romance in debut author Charis MichaelÔÇÖs Bachelor Lords of London series, a proper viscount meets his match in a beguiling virgin who can't help but break all the rules.
Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes has a painful secret. At fifteen, she was abducted by highwaymen and sold to a brothel. But two days later, she was rescued by a young lord, a man sheÔÇÖs never forgotten. Now, sheÔÇÖs devoted herself to save other innocents from a similar fate.
Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh, never breaks the rules. Well, once, but that was a long time ago. HeÔÇÖs finally escaped his unhappy past to become one of the wealthiest noblemen in Britain. The last thing he needs to complete his ideal life? A perfectly proper wife.
When Bryson and Elisabeth meet, he sees only a flawless candidate for his future wife. But a distant memory calls to him every time heÔÇÖs with her. Elisabeth knows sheÔÇÖs not the wife Bryson needs, and he is the only person who has the power to reveal her secret. But neither can resist the devastating pull of attraction, and as the truth comes to light, they must discover that an improper love is the truest of all.
ItÔÇÖs been awhile since IÔÇÖve read a historical romance novel. Every time I start one I remember exactly why I love reading them. When it comes to regency romance itÔÇÖs with the language used, the setting and the expectations of society. I swear something happens to my brain and I feel a ÔÇ£readersÔÇØ highÔÇØ and I sigh with the relief of it. I love the situations and the simpleness of the rules.
With the Virgin and the Viscount, we are entertained by Lord Bryson Courtland, Viscount Rainsleigh, as he decides itÔÇÖs time to marry. Maybe it’s his tactic of setting his secretary to task that makes Bryson seem so very cold *shakes head*, so he has a lot to overcome with regards to his character. Bryson is definitely a great candidate for an emotional make-over. The premise, driven mostly by Bryson’s quest ( bride hunting), combined with the history he unknowingly shares with Elisabeth makes for a sweet but slightly angsty read.
The true star of the story is Lady Elisabeth Hamilton-Baythes. SheÔÇÖs a fiery women destined for spinsterhood, or so she thinks. But she is truly happy in her circumstance and Bryson’s attention simply confuses her. While the two appear to be a great match, there are a few character traits that connect them. While Bryson is a bit less impulsive ( okay, a lot) they both have the tendency to over-react, providing us with that much needed angst. Bryson turned out to be a bit more complicated than I expected, with his tenacity at rebuilding his family’s fortune and his quest for the perfect wife and a place in high society. But it turns out Bryson doesn’t know himself as well as he thinks and somehow Lady Elisabeth manages to get him thinking outside of his comfort zone and coming to terms with his family history.
I really loved the ending with the surprising revelation about Bryson. It helped to show us how much more flexible Bryon could be and to see the transformation take hold. Elisabeth shows how smart and strong she really is. The secondary characters, his brother Beau, her aunt Lillian, and her band of liberators provide for side plots that keep the story moving at a great pace.This is the first book by Charise Michaels that IÔÇÖve read. You better believe I planning on reading book 1 in (The Bachelor Lords of London #1) series (The Earl Next Door), and IÔÇÖm hoping book 3 is BeauÔÇÖs.
4 stars and recommendation!
~Review by Cyndi
On April 12, 1809, Franklin ÔÇ£FrankieÔÇØ Courtland, 6th Viscount Rainsleigh, tripped on a root in the bottom of a riverbed and drowned.┬á He was drunk at the time, picnicking with friends on the banks of the River Wylye.┬á According an account later given to the magistrate, his lordship simply fell over, bumped into a fallen log, and sank.
It was there he remainedÔÇöÔÇ£enjoying the cool,ÔÇØ or so his friends believedÔÇöuntil he became too heavy, too slippery, and, alas, too dead to revive.┬á But they did dislodge him; and after that, they claimed he floated to the surface, bobbed several times, and then gently glided downstream.┬á He was later found just before sunset, face down and bloated (in life, as also in death), beached on a pebble shoal near Codford.
At the time the elder Courtland was sinking to the bottom of the river, his son and heir, Bryson was hunched over a desk in the offices of his fledgling shipping company, waiting for the very moment his father would die.┬á It had been an exceedingly long, progressively humiliating wait.┬á Years longÔÇönay, decades.
Luckily for Bryson, for his ships and his future, he was capable of doing more things at once than wait, and while his father drank and debauched his way through all respectability and life, Bryson worked.
It was an unthinkable thing for a young heir and noblemanÔÇöto ÔÇ£workÔÇØÔÇöbut Bryson was given little choice, considering the impoverished state of the Rainsleigh crest.┬á He was scarcely eleven years of age when he made first foray into labor, and not so many years after, into private enterprise.┬á His life in work had not ceased since.┬á On the rare occasion that he didnÔÇÖt work, he studied.
With his meager earnings (he began by punting boats on the very river in which his father later drowned), he made meager investments.┬á These investments reaped small gainsÔÇöfirst in shares in the punting station; later in property along the water; later still, in other industry up and down the river.
Bryon lived modestly, worked ceaselessly, and spared only enough to pay his way through Cambridge, bring up his brother, and see him educated him, as well.┬á┬á Every guinea earned was reinvested.┬á He repeated the process again and again, a little less meagerly each time ÔÇÿround.
By the time the elder viscountÔÇÖs self-destructive lifestyle wrought his river- and drink-soaked end, Bryson had managed to accrue a small fortune, launch a company that built and sailed ships, and construct an elaborate plan for what he would do when his father finally cocked up his toes and died.
When at last that day came, Bryson had but one complaint: it took fifty-two hours for the constable to find him.┬á He was a viscount for two days before anyone, including himself, even knew it.
But two days was a trifle compared to a lifetime of waiting. ┬áAnd on the day he learned of his inheritanceÔÇönay, the very hourÔÇöhe launched his long awaited plan.
By three oÔÇÖclock on the fourth day, heÔÇÖd razed the rotting, reeking east wing of the family estate in Wiltshire to the ground.
Within the week, heÔÇÖd extracted his mother from the west wing and shipped her and a contingent of discreet caregivers to a villa in Spain.
Within the month, heÔÇÖd sold every stick of furniture, every remaining fork and dish, every sweat-soaked toga and opium-tinged gown.┬á He burned the drapes, burned the rugs, burned the tapestries.┬á He delivered the half-starved horses and the fighting dogs to an agricultural college and pensioned off the remaining staff.
By the six-week mark, heÔÇÖd unloaded the London townhomeÔÇösold at auction to the highest bidderÔÇöand with it, the broken-down carriage, his fatherÔÇÖs dusty arsenal, what was left of the wine stores, and all the lurid art.
It was a whirlwind evacuation, a gutting, really, and no one among polite society had ever witnessed a son or heir take such absolute control and haul away so much family or property quite so fast.
But no one among polite society was acquainted with Bryson Anders Courtland, the new Viscount Rainsleigh.
And no one understood that it was not so much an ending as it was an entirely fresh start.┬á Once the tearing down ceased, the rebuilding could begin. New viscountsy, new money, new respect, new life.
It was an enterprise into which Bryson threw himself like no other. Unlike all others, however, he could only do so much, one man, alone. For this, he would require another.┬á A partner.┬á┬á Someone with whom he could work together towards a common goal.┬á A collaborator who emulated his precise, immaculate manner. A matriarch, discreet and pure. A paragon of propriety.┬á A viscountess.┬á A proper, perfect wife.
Three winners of a print copy of THE EARL NEXT DOOR