MAD ABOUT THE EARL - Christina Brooke
Ministry of Marriage, Book 2
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-0-312-53413-4
January 2012
Historical Romance

Cornwall and London , England , 1815

The Ministry of Marriage, led by the Duke of Montford, has made a marriage alliance for his ward, Lady Rosamund Westruther, to Griffin deVere, Earl of Tregarth. While the marriages made by this group are not made for love, but for political alliance and power, the results are often unforeseen. Now they mean to engage Griffin 's sister, Jacqueline, to an undesirable man, spurring Griffin , who has avoided actual marriage, to take action. He is given the option: marry Rosamund and Jacqueline may choose the suitor of her choice.

Angelically beautify Rosamund has loved the idea of marriage to Griffin since she received a locket containing his portrait. His scarred face makes many consider Griffin ugly, and she knows he is a huge, intimidating form of a man from her brief stay in Cornwall three years ago when their engagement was established, but he is the man with whom she knows she can make a home. She thinks she has seen the inner man. Unlike her mother who constantly seeks a new man, Rosamund wants stability. However, Griffin has left her to languish in London unmarried. Another man dances attendance on her even though he knows she's engaged and only interested in friendship, period. When a presumptuous demand for a sudden and quick marriage by special license arrives from Griffin , Rosamund decides he needs to learn she is not his to command, and she demands he escort her to some affairs in London . A bit of jealousy might also improve his behavior.

Griffin will do anything to save his sister. A suspicious death began a rumor about the village that he murdered the man, but there is no proof, only gossip. He wants to spare both Jacqueline and the woman who caught his lust, Rosamund, from the hostile climate this event has caused. Once in London , his betrothed's demands surprise him, but that is the least he will endure while in London .

Each raised by an uncaring adult who scarred them either physically or mentally, Griffin and Rosamund managed to grow into caring individuals seeking a better way of life. Rosamund is determined, and rage often overwhelms Griffin , but they feel an unexpected physical attraction to each other. Their respective pasts color how they view each other and the future they want, but the road is very rocky with the interference of guardians, brothers, sisters, cousins, and outright villains. The allusions to Beauty and the Beast are unmistakable, but that is only one charm of this story. This is the second book concerning the Ministry of Marriage. The first, an HEIRESS IN LOVE, was equally entertaining. It looks as if more stories are planned, so readers might want to keep up with this enjoyable series.

Robin Lee