About the Book:
When Hugh Winthrop, the future Earl of Albury, decides to advertise for a wife in the London paper, he never expected an anonymous response from a woman who matches him wit for wit. Their back-and-forth letters on the true nature of love, something they disagree on wholeheartedly, leave him shocked—and intrigued. But then the woman he’s been corresponding with shows up on his doorstep, enticingly beautiful and offering a marriage of convenience in exchange for his protection…
Lady Phoebe Maitland expected to marry for love and nothing else, until the man she gave her trust betrayed her. The more intrigued she becomes by the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Hugh, however, the more she realizes he’s holding back from opening his heart due to long-held secrets she struggles to understand. As passion flares wickedly between them, their marriage bed is quick to heat up. But when Phoebe’s past threatens to destroy the fragile bond they’ve formed, even a budding belief in love might not be enough to save them.
Lady Phoebe Maitland doesn’t foresee any problems with marrying her long time instructor and friend, George, but she is very much mistaken. Her father, the Duke of Salop, has no intention of permitting his daughter to marry a nobody. When George is bought off, right in front of Phoebe, she is crushed. She is also desperate to find another husband, someone other than the elderly widower her parents have selected. Phoebe has been corresponding with a mysterious gentleman who advertised in the newspaper for a wife with certain specific qualifications. Since the mystery man sought a businesslike marriage, Phoebe decides to travel to Scotland to propose marriage in person.
Hugh Winthrop, heir to the Earl of Albury, wants to marry to please his dying father. Hugh’s mother deserted them, leaving both men leery of love. With his father urging him to make a sensible choice, Hugh decided to advertise. His original rather cold advertisement caused Phoebe to reply, not as an applicant, but as a critic. She chastised Hugh for not seeking love, and they began a correspondence which evolved into a strange kind of friendship. When Phoebe shows up unexpectedly, and more startlingly, proposes, Hugh takes her in. They agree to marry, each knowing the truth about the other. Hugh doesn’t want love, and Phoebe is suffering the consequences of loving a man unwisely.
Hugh has been mute since birth, though his family and servants have learned much of the sign language he uses to communicate. Phoebe is very willing to learn, and hopes to make their marriage a good one, maybe even leading to love down the road. Despite his own resolve, Hugh is becoming very fond of Phoebe, as she is of him. Their passion for each other and their genuine affection have laid the foundation for a solid future. Then her family intrudes in a most horrible way, bringing back all the feelings of betrayal that Hugh felt as a boy when his mother left. It now seems that their promising future has become the cold, businesslike marriage Hugh originally wanted.
Hugh is a dear man, one trying only to protect his own heart. He’s always kind, and treats Phoebe with respect and generosity. Though he has heard himself ridiculed over the years, mocked for being unable to speak, he didn’t let that define him. I would have liked to see some genuine interaction with his wayward mother, who still is apparently a darling of Scottish society. Phoebe is only nineteen, and her early actions really showed her youth and naivete, but I love how she matured and became steadfast in her actions. WHEN THE EARL MET HIS MATCH is extremely well written, with great lead characters and a warm and touching romance. It’s listed as part of the Wedded By Scandal series, but easily reads as a standalone. Recommended for all historical romance fans. ~Rose