Friday, November 16, 2012

What an Earl Wants by Kasey Michaels *ARC Review*

Kasey Michaels introduces a delicious new series about the Redgraves, four siblings celebrated for their legacy of scandal and seduction....

Gideon Redgrave, eldest child of the late Earl of Saltwood, refuses to be humbled by the scandal that once tore his family apart. He's built his life in London society around one rule: trust no one. So the last thing he wants is to play guardian and role model to a headstrong boy... or to engage in a battle of wills with the boy's spirited half sister, who is fighting Gideon for custody.

Beautiful and bold, young widow Jessica Linden proves to be a formidable and passionate adversary. But the more they lock horns, the more Gideon realizes he'd prefer to have Jessica on his side...and in his arms. Especially now that a new threat-sprung from his father's supposedly defunct secret society-is poised to destroy the Redgraves once and for all.

This book ended up being the most pleasant surprise. I didn't know in the beginning how much I'd like it; the writing was solid but Gideon hadn't quite lived up to the hype - he was a bit of an ass in fact. There seemed to be a lot of things happening at once, and I admit to being a little lost about the direction the story was going to take. As things went on though, as Gideon and Jessica got married, and as the evolution of their relationship became entangled with the solving of an old mystery everything got very interesting.

There's a seed of evil in England, men coming together in secret to plot its downfall to Napoleon, and Gideon feels responsibility enough about his family's part in it to try and make things better. Gradually, as his feelings for Jessica grow their relationship comes to the forefront and Michaels does a fantastic job balancing both threads. I didn't feel like their relationship took a back seat to the mystery because both of them were invested in having the perpetrators exposed, but the mystery remained important. I may like instant gratification (tell me who the bad guy is! Now!) but even I have to admire the way Michaels kept me going while still ending without the full reveal. 

The end is both sweet and satisfying, reminding me just how good historicals (even if they're not truly accurate) can be. I can't wait for the next one!

Overall Feeling - A-

Series - 1) What an Earl Wants (11/20/12)

**Title requested from NetGalley**