Get ready for lost wills, broody dukes, and scorching hot kissing all over London in Rules for Engaging the Earl by Janna MacGregor.
Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child—a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But still—with a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.
Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence—to their marriage ceremony—Jonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and he’ll do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.
With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds—both on the surface and in their relationship—run deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.
Praise for Janna MacGregor:
"Janna MacGregor dazzles." —Eloisa James
"Janna MacGregor's stories positively sparkle." —Christi Caldwell
MacGregor's dramatic but drawn-out second Widow Rules Regency romance (after A Duke in Time) sees effervescent Constance Lysander reuniting with her first love, the reclusive Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Having suffered enough scandal, Constance, the pregnant widow of a late polygamist whose other wives have become her close friends, seeks out Jonathan to be the father to her daughter 10 years after he left her for the war. But Jonathan's emotional scars are as deep as his physical ones, and he's facing a court-martial on trumped-up charges. He worries he'll only bring Constance more shame, but agrees to marry for the sake of her daughter. Still, he's constantly trying to keep Constance at arm's length, which has the effect of alienating readers, as well. Constance works hard to be a good wife, but the battle for Jonathan's affection grinds on her. Will Jonathan reform his ways before he loses Constance forever? The romantic progression is two steps forward, one step back for much of the novel, but when Jonathan finally tries with Constance he becomes a hero to root for. Jonathan's lovable, matchmaking butler steals every scene he's in and Constance's fellow widows remain a delight. There are some hiccups, but series fans will still find plenty to enjoy.
Best friends in their youth and falling in love, Johathan goes to war as a sniper for England fighting against France. Constance and Jonathan exchange small tokens of their friendship and love. Now 10 years later, he is a recluse suffering from wounds he received in battle, reading Constance journal is the only reason he is still alive. Although even worst than the pain he is in is the rumor that he is a deserter. The only thing Jonathan pride’s himself in his honor and obeying the rules.
Constance is widowed, but finds herself in need of a hero. She is one of 3 wives and her baby is due any day. She sends a plead to Jonathan to marry her so that her child is not illegitimate. He honors her request, but has nothing to offer her but his name. With the rumor of a court martial hanging over his head he needs to clear his name first or Constance with be an outcast along with him. So immediately after the wedding he heads home to Regina his dog and leaves Constance in London to recover from child birth.
There are matchmakers, good friends, a reputation to be restored and HEA to be found. Fast pace read, and several laugh out loud parts. I truly enjoyed reading this story of overcoming hardships and finding love.
Thank you NetGalley for this ARC. I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an Advance Reader Copy of this story. #NetGalley #RulesforEngagingtheEarl
This second chance romance is a great second book in The Widow Rules series. Old childhood friends, both hiding feelings for each other, and both have issues they need to get past. It’s not easy and they have to fight for it, but if it’s important it’s worth it
There’s just so much to like about this book. Rules of conduct for the perfect mate. Childhood best friends brought together years later to fend off possible ruin. A love that has lasted through the years about to ruin well laid plans for separation. Nosy household staff who know what the Earl needs and will do anything to bring happiness.
Constance is a strong woman who has weathered a lot of heartache and ruin due to her dead husband. Jonathan allowing his injuries from the war to define him as a man. He’s honorable and set on doing right by Constance even if that means staying away from her and her daughter.