The “fallen” ladies of Puddledon Manor’s Benevolent Home are determined to rise above scandal—and forge a sparkling new future operating their own brewery and alehouse…
With Christmas around the corner, Miss Caroline Anderson hoped to persuade a London tavern owner to carry the Home’s Widow’s Brew—only to discover the dastard was more interested in her ankles than her ale! To her further annoyance, her stagecoach back to Little Puddledon is waylaid by louts and a snow-covered ditch. Amid a nasty storm, Caro seeks shelter at a nearby estate—only to be greeted by Viscount Oakland, aka Nick, her brother’s childhood friend—and her schoolgirl crush. Now he’s the half-dressed host of what is clearly a holiday bacchanal. Still, his house is irresistibly warm…
Ever the free spirit, Nick has invited the wilder gentlemen of the ton, and an assortment of London’s lightskirts, to celebrate Christmas in a more traditional, pagan fashion. So he’s surprised to find Caro at his door. Now, with a blizzard raging, he must take her in—despite his fear she won’t take to his guests, and worse, upend his party. But she may surprise him—and upend his life…
Praise for What Ales the Earl
“A pure delight.”
—New York Times bestselling author Betina Krahn
“A fun, heartwarming Regency romance elevated by witty dialogue and a unique concept.”
“Entertaining, earthy … readers will look forward to more stories about the women of the Benevolent Home.”
The poorly plotted second Widow's Brew Regency (after What Ales the Earl) is saved by its humor as upstairs and downstairs celebrate Christmas together. Successful brewer Caroline Anderson is determined to get her beer sold in London, but the big-city tavern keepers hit on her while snubbing her brew. As she heads home, disappointed, snow strands her stagecoach near the home of the notorious Viscount Oakland, known as Lord Devil for his dissolute ways. However, Caro knew him as a child, so she ignores the orgy going on in Oakland's home, gets the stagecoach passengers lodging, and even negotiates a deal in which Oakland will pretend to be romantically involved with her to protect her from one of the male passengers. Caro and Oakland, both survivors of trauma, had assumed they were doomed to solitary futures, but their instant chemistry makes them reconsider. There's less appeal in the side plot about a poor and desperate single mother and the unpleasant nobleman who fathered her baby and abandoned her. The zany cast of characters and the protagonists' unintentionally funny internal monologues somewhat make up for the glaring anachronisms and plot holes, but fans of holiday Regencies can find much better fare elsewhere.
Customer ReviewsSee All
When his neighbor’s dog threw his dinner up (that’s putting it nicely) all over Nick, Viscount Oakland’s, townhouse, he moved his Christmas orgy to his country estate. When the party was abruptly interrupted by the passengers of a stagecoach run into a ditch, the event took a decided turn. It wasn’t long before the unusual assortment of guests began to put together a festive celebration of the holiday.
Among the passengers was Caroline Anderson, the sister of an old friend. Nick and Caro had not seen each other for thirteen years. Nick, who had been a neglected and unhappy child, had become a consummate rake. Caroline, after a traumatic experience at her first job, had become part of the Benevolent Home for the Maintenance and Support of Spinsters, Widows and Abandoned Women and their Unfortunate Children. She is the brew master for the ale the home produces - Widow’s Brew. It seems they have nothing in common, but as they spent time together, they learned that they were alike in many ways. They are both missing something in their lives. Is it possible that fate has brought them together? Is there a Christmas miracle for them?
The Merry Viscount is a wonderful story full of fun and humor, a happy holiday tale. Watching the group work together to have a festive, traditional Christmas celebration was delightfully entertaining. Much is learned about our hero and heroine, their lives and hopes, through their ‘soul searching,’ in turns funny, poignant, and sad. I really enjoyed this story. I happily recommend it and the Widow’s Brew series.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. My review is voluntary.