THE EARL – Katharine Ashe
A Devil's Duke Novel
Scotland – 1822
Lady Justice writes pamphlets critical of the government. Most English think she is actually a man, because no woman could possibly be so attuned to the politics. In reality, the author is an intelligent, compassionate young woman named Emily Vale whose desire to right the wrongs in her world have set her apart from her friends. Emily, who wants to be known as Zenobia, is in need of help, though. One of her sisters is missing, and she needs help finding her. As much as she hates the thought of asking Peregrine, an agent of the Falcon Club which she has targeted in her writings for years, she knows that perhaps only he has the ability to find Amarantha. Emily/Zenobia must keep her identity a secret when she meets with Peregrine, but she is stunned to discover who he is.
Colin Gray, the Earl of Egremoor, is determined to unmask Lady Justice, but is surprised when he receives a request from her to help him find a young woman who has gone missing. He still believes that Lady Justice is a man, and when he meets the notorious pamphleteer, he feels she is speaking for someone else. Colin has no idea who she is, but he finally agrees to help her. He would be astounded to know that she is Emily Vale, someone he grew up with, and whom his late father had expected him to marry.
Emily and her small entourage head to Scotland but are waylaid when Colin arrives at the inn where they're staying. He does not have his valet but rides alone, and does not reveal that he is an Earl. Unfortunately, there is a man and a woman (at least others say it's a woman) pretending to be him, and they have caused mayhem wherever they stop. It is only Colin's quick thinking that gets him and Emily away before they are arrested. A harrowing trek to avoid capture as well as to finding her sister brings both of them closer, whether they want it or not.
THE EARL is a continuation of the Devil's Duke series, and it may be the most exciting one yet. Two sworn enemies, Emily and Colin, must become a team to prove that they are not the pair causing trouble in Scotland, as well as to find where Amarantha has been taken. There are many surprises along the way, and the conclusion is most exciting and appropriate. This is an enjoyable series with well defined characters.