WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE Manda Collins
Wicked Widows Trilogy
St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-250-02384-1
February 2014
Historical Romance

England 19th Century

Mrs. Georgina Mowbray has learned from experience to be ready for anything. As the not so grieving widow of an Army officer who treated her shabbily, Georgie doesn't hesitate to stick up for herself or her friends. Caught in a situation with her friends, Lady Isabella Wharton and Isabella's sister, Perdita, the Duchess of Ormonde, when Perdita's husband comes close to killing her, it is Georgie's tiny pistol that saves her friend's life. But no one but the three women, and now the new husband of Isabella, know what happened that night.

Georgie is in Bath as the companion of elderly Lady Russell. It's not an exciting place, nor is it an exciting position, but with no money, Georgie has no choice. Despite having two close friends who are of the nobility, Georgie has to take care of herself. All of Lady Russell's family is gathering in town for her birthday, and that includes Perdita's former fiancé, Lord Coniston. He knows Georgie through her friends, but seems friendly and chatty, which makes Georgie uncomfortable. She knows she is not of his class, plus she is employed by his aunt. It isn't until a shocking event takes place that Georgie begins to rely on the strength and backing of Con. One night she glances out of her bedroom window to see a man in the garden who greatly resembles her dead husband. Stunned, she confides in Con who sets out to find out what is going on.

When Georgie and Con find a dead man, and are both questioned about it, they realize there is something sinister happening. The man who was in the garden and a woman are also killed, and then Georgie is set up as a thief. Who is doing this? And is it related to what previously happened to Isabella (WHY DUKES SAY I DO, August 2013)? A mysterious person seems to know what really happened to the Duke of Ormonde, and he's punishing the three women who were in the room that fateful night.

Despite her station in life, Georgie is falling for Con. She knows better, but he also seems to feel the same for her. It's not meant to be, though, and Georgie braces herself for the ultimate ending of their sleuthing partnership when he goes his way, and she goes forward with her life.

WHY EARLS FALL IN LOVE is the second book in the Wicked Widows trilogy. Mystery and romance abound, and the lead characters are a delight. Secondary support roles are important, and there are some surprises along the way. The prologue gets readers up to date if they haven't read the first book, but I highly recommend getting to know the three ladies better by reading WHY DUKES SAY I DO.

Beautifully written, this sweet love story is a keeper.

Jani Brooks