REVIEW: The Earl’s Forbidden Ward by Bronwyn ScottMonday, April 19, 2010 1:00
I now see the light. Or at least, a glimmer of it. I know Sybil and Wendy love Harlequin Historicals. My feelings toward them aren’t quite as warm, but now I think I’ve been unlucky in my choices. I decided to read this book, yes, based on the premise. Amazon suggested it, I love these story lines despite the fact that I think they’re hilariously wrong, and I bought it. I took a gamble that paid off, and now I want more. A lot more.
Tessa Branscombe is a model heroine, in my mind. I think that’s also why I liked the book so much. She’s a diplomat’s daughter, and has been acting as her father’s hostess for a number of years. Tessa is very sensible and intelligent. She knows she’s in danger, and nothing is as it seems. Essentially everything Tessa did made sense to me. It may not have been the best possible choice, but given what she knows and her circumstances, it’s the only available choice for her. I like that she didn’t blindly trust Peyton, even though her affections are engaged much more quickly. Tessa is protective, and capable as well. No, she couldn’t have saved herself, but that’s also an integral part of the story.
Peyton Ramsden, the Earl of Dursley, really makes me think “cold fish” from the outset of the book. As I read, however, he began to grow on me. Peyton has a lot more depth than one would think, but at the same time he’s flawed. He’s rather arrogant, but needs to be when he first took over the estate. Over a decade later he’s realized that may not have been ideal, but it was his way of coping. Peyton doesn’t think he’ll marry – and part of him is still a mystery to me. I didn’t think him entirely developed, but all the essential points are covered. He’s rich, smart, experienced, and desperately in love with Tessa. He’s also trying to protect his country’s interests and not let anyone know anything about whatever secret plans or ulterior motives he might be embroiled in.
I think there is a nice balance between plot and character focus. Events happen that put Tessa and Peyton together, and while no, not everything is believable, it works for the story. I like that Ms. Scott writes about Tessa’s frustrations in feeling bowled over and then Peyton’s determination to be the hero. It’s rather gripping.
I really like this story. I don’t even know what it was about this book – because when I think about it, the romance doesn’t particularly make sense. We are just supposed to believe that the hero and heroine fall in love… well, because they’re supposed to. Maybe I’m overthinking. (Then again, with more thought, I guess it works. She’s incredibly beautiful, smart, and capable – as well as being a novelty, and then he’s handsome, eligible, and incredibly protective and responsible. Okay, so it works.) I think I also like it because I’ve been in a horrendous reading slump, and I still managed to read this book in a day. Considering I’ve been reading next to nothing, that’s significant in my book.
I’m definitely interested in reading more books by Ms. Scott – I just wish she’d update her web page. Anyway, if you like historical romances, I definitely recommend this one. It’s sweet, but there’s enough intrigue and sophistication to keep it from being trite. The characters are definitely the focus, and it’s very well written. I have an inkling that the next book may be about Crispen, Peyton’s younger brother, and Petra. For once, I hope so. They seem to be “opposites” that would mesh perfectly. I’m definitely keeping an eye out for that story.
Innocent debutante Tessa Branscombe senses that underneath her handsome guardian’s cool demeanor there is an intensely passionate nature. The arrogant earl infuriates her—yet makes her want to explore those hidden depths….
Peyton Ramsden, Earl of Dursley, has no time for girls—especially those who are suddenly given over to his care! Miss Tessa Branscombe, in particular, is trouble. She tempts this very proper earl to misbehave—and forbidden fruit always tastes that much sweeter.