Subtitle: The Second Rule of Scoundrels
The Fallen Angel Quartet , Book 2
ISBN: 978-0-06-206853-8
February 2013
Historical Romance

London, 1831

As the second son of an earl, The Honorable Justin Arlesley enjoyed a carefree existence without the heavy responsibility that is the role of the heir…until a tragedy changed his whole life. Now, seven years later, he's estranged from family and society and is a partner in an exclusive gambling establishment where he goes by the simple name of Cross.

Of the five Marbury sisters, Lady Philippa is considered the odd one. Pippa has the mind of a scientist, brilliant but not exactly smart in the ways of most of society, especially men. In spite of that, she's betrothed to an earl, a kind if not terribly bright gentleman. She and her sister Olivia will be wed in a double ceremony in fifteen days, much to the delight of their mother who congratulates herself on getting five daughters settled so well. But Pippa has questions about marriage—especially the conjugal duties of a wife—that all the reading she has done cannot answer. Clearly much study of a practical nature is needed; for this she needs an associate in her investigation. Pippa chooses a notorious rake for that role, a partner of her sister Penelope's husband in The Fallen Angel, a gentlemen's gaming club in Mayfair. She boldly goes where no lady should go, and confronts Cross in his lair.

Amused and rather intrigued, Cross is eventually persuaded to help Lady Philippa with her scientific inquiries . His attempts to keep her from being seen with him, especially by the enemies he's made during his time away from society, are less than successful, however. She's a stubborn miss.

ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER is an amusing read dedicated by the author to girls who wear glasses, like her heroine. And while Pippa is an interesting departure from the usual historical romance heroine, she's not easy to identify with. She's naïve and reckless with her reputation...and her heart. The novel starts with a prologue about Cross, but we don't learn much of his story until later. He's a stoic now, apparently cynical and hardened. He's also brilliant in his own way…a good match for Philippa?

The plot of ONE GOOD EARL DESERVES A LOVER has threads held over from the first book of the series, A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME, that tells the story of Marbury sister Penelope and the Marquise of Bourne, one of Max's partners. I assume the next two releases will star the other two partners. One is a duke believed by many to have murdered his wife. The other is a near total mystery.

Aside from the fact that I didn't much care for the heroine, there is much to like in ONE GOOD EARL—especially if you enjoy long, sensuous and teasing confrontations between the lead characters. I wish I had read book one first and do recommend reading the books in order.

Jane Bowers