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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review: Taming Her Forbidden Earl by Catherine Hemmerling

Format: epub
Release Date: December 2, 2012

Everyone knows William Bredon, the earl of Pembroke, has a reputation as a captivating rogue, determined to never marry until his duty to produce an heir requires it. So when he invites Lady Hannah Rochester to dance, Hannah vows to keep her distance. But the undeniably gorgeous William, with his dark humor and seductive gaze, draws her in nonetheless.

Of course, Lady Hannah is not completely what she seems, either. A member of the dowager Lady Lancaster’s Garden Society, she secretly spends her days solving mysteries and uncovering intrigues, and when she brings William into the fold, a sinister plot develops that brings the two closer together. William’s protective nature ensures he remains by Hannah’s side, but he will not surrender his anti-marriage stance.

Can intrigue, passion, and maybe even a little bit of scandal reform the most notorious of rakes?

I love historical romance with spies. Having spies in a period where there was no technology to aid them makes a historical romance much more interesting. There's more a potential for more mystery, suspense and action. The only downside is that most of the spying is done by the men due to the time period. It's difficult to find a book where the heroine does the spy work without it sounding utterly ridiculous.

Taming Her Forbidden Earl is a rather short but fun story where the women do all the fact finding while still maintaining their (somewhat) spotless reputations. It's tough for a gently bred lady to gather information without breaking the strict rules of society. That's where Lady Lancaster's Garden Society comes in. On the surface they may appear as proper, delicate flowers but in reality they spend their free time ferreting out secrets and solving mysteries.

Lady Hannah is a strong character to start what will eventually become a series, with each lady from the Garden Society taking the lead in solving mysteries and finding love. Hannah is a survivor, she can blend in with all the other ladies of English society, but she can also ferret out information without breaking a sweat! She's confident, even when faced with a questionable character like Lord Collicott Shrewsbury (who's name made me giggle).

Enter the hero, William Bredon, Earl of Pembroke. Well, he's more of a reluctant hero, he saves Lady Hannah from an unwanted advance, whisks her away to dance and is immediately attracted to her intelligence and sense of humor. He's sworn off marriage until he needs an heir out of fear that he will end up like his abusive father so his attraction to Hannah is most unwelcome.

Taming Her Forbidden Earl takes it easy on the romance at first, there are just hints and sparks of attraction between Hannah and William, the mystery and intrigue takes precedence almost throughout the whole book. It isn't until the last chapters that William and Hannah act on that attraction. The pacing is quite brisk but what can you expect from a romance novel that incorporates espionage? It would be very boring if there were too many details instead of more action.

While Taming Her Forbidden Earl is William and Hannah's story, author Catherine Hemmerling gives readers sneak peeks into the other members of the Garden Society's personalities. Each young lady has at least one unique trait that makes her invaluable to the group of "Lady Spies" and each one promises to be very interesting.


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