Review – The Earl With the Secret Past by Janice Preston

About the Book:

An unexpected inheritance

An explosive reunion

Hardworking architect Adam Monroe’s world is shaken when he inherits an earldom! Thrust into the ton, he bumps into widow Kitty Fenton—his lost love. Years before, he refused to elope with Kitty to save her from ruin, and was heartbroken when she married soon after he left. Perhaps fate has given him a chance to discover the truth—after all, beneath the hurt, the sparks of attraction are as strong as ever…

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                           The Earl with the Secret Past

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Fifteen years ago, Adam Monroe was apprenticing as an architect, working on restoring Fenton Hall.  While at that job, he met and fell and love with young Kitty, who was an earl’s daughter, and lived in the neighborhood.  As his job neared completion, Kitty begged Adam to marry her.  Though Adam truly did love her, he knew that an architect in training, who was only a housekeeper’s son, was not a suitable match for the daughter of an earl.  Adam intimated that he was only indulging in a flirtation, and had no intention of marrying anytime soon.  He refused to listen to Kitty’s tearful explanation, and soon moved on with his life.

Kitty was devastated, as she loved Adam, and hoped that he would be the answer to her dilemma.  Her good-for-nothing father has incurred considerable gambling debts, and hopes to clear them by marrying Kitty off to another low life who owns a gaming hall.  As Kitty cries in despair, the recently widowed master of Fenton Hall encounters her, and encourages her to tell him her problem.  Edgar Fenton lost his beloved wife in a fire, and has four children to raise.  He proposes marriage to Kitty, one that is without love, but will benefit them both.  Kitty’s father is only too eager to accept Fenton’s payment for Kitty’s hand, and they marry immediately.

Fifteen years have passed, and Kitty has now been widowed for five years.  Her marriage gave her contentment and four stepchildren she loved as if they were her own.  Edgar was a kind husband who treated her well, though he continued to extol the virtues of his first wife.  If love and passion and children of her own were missing from her life, Kitty still considers herself blessed.  She’s done her best to forget the heartbreak her seventeen year old self endured from her unrequited first love.

Adam has enjoyed his chosen vocation.  And if time and time again, he regrets leaving Kitty, he knows in his heart that it was best for her.  When his mother summons him, he is unprepared for the bombshell that’s about to drop.  Adam is truly Ambrose Adam Trewin, son of, and legal heir to the Earl of Kelridge.  Adam’s mother left her abusive husband, taking her two year old son with her, choosing to live a life of service rather than allow them to continue the mistreatment.  Due to his father’s recent death, he must head to London to assume his responsibilities as the new earl.

It’s inevitable that Kitty and Adam are going to encounter each other, as they both move in the same society now.  But while Adam looks forward to seeing Kitty, she dreads facing him.  Their initial meetings are fraught with tension.  When Adam learns that Kitty married Edgar immediately after his leaving all those years ago, he feels she had only been using him.  Now they’re both wary of each other, but neither can deny that the old attraction still simmers.  Slowly, they begin to let go of the past, and begin to get to know the people they are now.  It seems that fate may have offered them a second chance at love, but Kitty is hiding another secret, one that will keep her from marrying again.  And Adam’s very life appears to be in danger…

There is a lot to love about THE EARL WITH THE SECRET PAST.  Though Adam and Kitty both made somewhat unwise choices, their hearts were in the right place, thinking they were doing what was best for the other.  I love that Kitty was strong enough to forge a good life for herself, despite her young age, and despite her broken heart.  She loved her step family, and they loved her.  Her stepson, Robert, had a surprise role in her romance, but you’ll have to read about that for yourself.  I adore Adam’s reaction to learning Kitty’s secret, and how his love for her overcame this last obstacle to their happiness.  I also appreciate that Janice Preston wrote a realistic happy ever after, rather that waving a magic wand to create a seemingly impossible one.  The romance feels genuine, warm, and steamy.  I love the people Kitty and Adam have become, and I enjoyed the flow of the book with its touch of mystery.  I’m such a fan of second chance at love stories, and THE EARL WITH THE SECRET PAST left me one happy reader.    ~Rose

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