Vivienne Lorret, the USA Today bestselling author of Winning Miss Wakefield, returns with a new series featuring the three roguish bachelors of Fallow Hall.
Gabriel Ludlow, Viscount Everhart, will never marry, and thus is sure to win the bachelors' wager amongst his friends. Assuming, of course, that his deepest secret—a certain letter containing a marriage proposal made in a moment of passion—doesn't surface. After all, without Calliope Croft to tempt him, there's no danger of losing. Or of falling in love.
Calliope wants revenge. Five years ago, an anonymous love letter stole her heart and ultimately broke it. Now Casanova has struck again, and Calliope vows to unmask the scoundrel, stopping him from breaking any more hearts. Yet, time and again, Gabriel distracts her from her task, until she can no longer deny that something about him calls to her …
Gabriel was a fool to ignore the depth of his feelings for Calliope, but the threat that kept him from her five years ago remains. Now he must choose between two paths: break her heart all over again or finally succumb to loving her … at the risk of losing everything.
relationship grows neatly although not without twists, to their happy ending
I’ve decided one thing in all my reading: while as a child I was always wanting a brother or sister – I’m done with that idea. Siblings are a second layer of plot-twist in the story of life. In The Elusive Lord Everhart, Lorret brought that concept home in spades with Calliope’s older brother (and friends) more than ever.
Calliope is settled into her place on the shelf with reasonable comfort. Years ago she received a letter that fueled her childish romantic fantasies, and her obsession with finding the author of the letter has spoiled her for other men. Well, all but one.
Gabriel, Viscount Everhart is one of a group of friends, including Calliope’s brother Griffin. Well, acquaintances actually as Griffin and Gabriel often spar at the boxing club – much to Gabriel’s demise. Laid up with a fracture, Gabriel and two of his friends are staying in Fallow Hall, when talk turns to wagers. They decide to wager on marriage: these three confirmed bachelors decide never to marry for the next year. The Crofts, Calliope, her brother Griffin and his new bride Delaney are traveling from Bath to Scotland via the Northern Road. A cousin of theirs is currently recovering from a carriage accident, and Griffin feels honor bound to stop and visit.
From here, Calliope comes face to face with her crush, Gabriel, but is unaware that he was the letter writer. But, she’s always had a crush on him, and despite her brother’s more than determined warnings to Gabriel, they start on their journey to love.
Starting quickly and introducing several characters into the mix right off, the voices of Calliope and Gabriel are solid from the start, and show us Calliope’s openness and her willingness to take a chance. Even feeling uncomfortable in the home of the man she had refused to marry so many years ago, her willingness to deal with a difficult cousin and her excitement about their journey is clear.
Secondary characters are intriguing and well developed: Rafe is a pot-stirrer and devilishly mischievous: Lucan is far more the debauched and seasoned rake and gambler. There is a dog with five names, that perhaps answers to one, one newly married man, Brightwell and his overly spoilt and utterly pampered wife Pamela, and the interplay between the characters adds nicely to the mix and gives plenty of depth to the story surrounding Calliope and Gabriel.
With constant interactions as they dance about one another without really admitting to the attraction, their relationship grows neatly although not without twists, to their happy ending. As Calliope is 24, and past her majority if not entirely self-ruled, she’s an interesting character that brings plenty of interest and fun to the story.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Another bookshelf staple from Vivienne Lorret! I stumbled across this author last summer with her Wallflower Wedding series and fell in love with her writing. This is a new series but features characters from her previous books so it sort of feels like a family reunion at times (in the best of ways!). If you love a sexy historical romance with complex characters and interesting conflict...this one should be on your TBR pile STAT.