The Earl of Shalford needs to marry into money to save his estate. Wealthy and beautiful Henrietta Buxted should be the perfect candidate. So why does his eye keep wandering to her quiet cousin, Charlotte Wyncroft?
Charlotte watches Henrietta’s games of courtship with wry amusement. That is, until a stolen dance reveals a hidden side to the earl. Penniless Charlotte knows she’s far from a suitable match, yet, in Adam’s arms, she can dream of the happily-ever-after she’s always wanted!
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Waltzing with the Earl (Harlequin Historical)
Charlotte Wyncroft has had an unusual life, growing up abroad in whatever city her father was stationed. Now the war is over, and Charlotte is returning home to England to wait while her father completes one last military assignment. In the interim, she’ll stay with her uncle, his wife, and their daughters, partaking in what society functions she is permitted to attend, since she hasn’t made her formal debut. The older of her cousins, Henrietta, is beautiful, spoiled, mean, immature, vain, totally self-centered, and has the full support of her equally awful mother. Henrietta has her eye on becoming the next Countess of Shalford, and is determined to succeed, no matter what it takes.
Adam Fanton, Earl of Shalford, learned how badly the earldom needs funds when he inherited the title upon his father’s death. Though the idea is abhorrent to him, he decides he must marry for money to restore his estates. He has two candidates in mind, one of them being Henrietta, and he plans to get to know the two ladies better to find out which one would be a more suitable fit. He calls upon Henrietta to invite her and her family to make an extended visit to his primary estate. Since Charlotte is staying with the family, she’s included in the invitation.
At first acquaintance, Charlotte doesn’t warm up to Adam. He’s certainly handsome, and proper in his conduct, but he’s somewhat aloof, and it just seems that his heart is not in his courting. The more Adam and Charlotte meet, though, they find they share the same sense of humor, and often meet each other’s eyes and share an amused smile over a comment or incident. The slow buildup of their attraction and liking for each other is delicious. Time and time again, Adam tells himself to stay away from Charlotte since he must marry another, but he can’t seem to resist her company. Aside from her beauty, she’s intelligent, and her unusual childhood has made her well versed and capable. She doesn’t flatter or fawn over him, and he knows she’s genuine.
Finally Adam decides that his future happiness is worth more than his estates, and he will just have to find another way. He must marry Charlotte, but before he can propose, tragedy strikes, then a terrible misunderstanding looks like it will tear them apart forever. WALTZING WITH THE EARL is a wonderful book, but the fact that it’s a debut for author Catherine Tinley makes it even more special. It has wonderful flow and great characters that I love, and villains that I detested. While I prefer some steam in my romances, I can honestly say that the lack of explicit detail did not detract from this lovely and romantic story. Adam and Charlotte manage to find their way to a satisfying happily-ever-after, and I highly recommend their journey getting there.