Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Undressed by the Earl (A Secrets in Silk Novel) 

by Michelle Willingham

A man shrouded in grief…
David Hartford, the Earl of Castledon, is tormented by the death of his wife. Though everyone expects him to remarry and beget an heir, he is a man living in shadows, unwilling to break out of his prison of sorrow.

A spirited young woman who embraces life…
Impulsive Amelia Andrews befriends Lord Castledon and decides that he would make the perfect match for her prim older sister. Though she tries to bring the pair of them together, Amelia cannot help but see the lonely man behind David’s grim exterior. Even worse, she finds herself caught beneath his piercing stare…and she wonders how to melt his icy heart.

An unlikely match
No woman can ever replace his first wife…but when Amelia is caught in a web of ruin, David cannot stand aside and let her suffer. Can an unexpected marriage bring about a love even greater than the one he lost?

Publisher and Release Date: Montlake Publishing, July 1, 2014

Time & Setting: Regency, England

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 3.75 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I used my Kindle Unlimited program to obtain this book. I have read the first two books in the series, and loved the characters from Undone by the Duke. It’s a fascinating array of characters and once I started reading the series, I had to find out how the other sister’s love affair would play out. While Undone by the Duke is by far my favorite, I did enjoy Undressed by the Earl.

Amelia Andrew is a feisty, impulsive heroine, and when she makes up her mind to do something everyone needs to watch out. She has been in love—or so she thought—with Viscount Lisford, a well-known rake, who broke her sister Meg’s heart years before, since she was sixteen. Even though, she knows he is not a man she should love, she meets with him on several occasions on the sly. She quickly realizes he is not the man she imagined him to be. Amelia spurns his advances, and he takes matters into his own hands and kidnaps her.  

Her friend, David Hartford, the Earl of Castledon, and the man she has ear marked for her sister Meg, races after her to save her from Lisford’s dastardly plan. When he finds her, he does the only thing a man of honor can do. He asks her to marry him, to save her from scandal. Even though this is the last thing he wants, since he still grieves for his late wife and has no desire to wed. However, he has a daughter to consider, and she needs a mother desperately. As long as he keeps his distance, and only offers her friendship, he should be able to safeguard his heart.

For me, this is where the story derails a bit. There is just too much angst coming from David. I understand he loved his late wife, but at times he is quite cruel to Amelia and very cold. This bothered me tremendously. Personally, I don’t understand how she could fall in love with him, but she does. Although, he is a tortured soul and that is usually one of my favorite character archetypes, I struggled to like him. I did feel his pain though, and his feelings of betrayal to the memory of his late wife.  

I will say this for Amelia, she does not give up when she sets her mind on a goal. She is determined to break through David’s shell and gain his love, no matter what it takes. She is the redeeming reason why I kept reading on, even though, I wanted to slap David upside his head much of the time. I still wanted Amelia to achieve her HEA. She certainly works hard enough for it.
Ms. Willingham’s writing is smooth and flowing, and this story is evenly paced. I also thoroughly enjoyed Amelia’s interaction with David’s daughter, Christine, and how she goes about earning the child’s trust. Surprisingly enough, there is strong passion between them, considering the conflict between the couple for much of the book.

Even with these issues, I am glad I read this story. I found it very entertaining. It has a solid plot, and a satisfactory ending. The author does an excellent job of bringing the Regency period to life with her vivid descriptions of the scenes. I can just picture what “Aphrodite’s Unmentionables” must look like. If you enjoy strong conflict between the hero and heroine with plenty of passion, and delightful interaction between the sisters, then this is a book you will want to read. Happy reading!

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