The Earl I Ruined is the total, unlikeable heroine package set in a world you can’t help but get lost in…
Since reading The Earl I Ruined, I’ve kept my feelings about it relatively under lock and key. How am I supposed to talk about a book that made me feel one too many emotions in the greatest way possible? How am I supposed to talk about a book that made me feel like the author glimpsed into my soul and saw everything I needed at the end of 2018 and put it in one book? Well, it starts with lots of key-smashes and screaming about it with Eri.
❈ Huge thanks to the Author for providing me with an ARC for Reviewing Purposes via Netgalley ❈
Title: The Earl I Ruined (Secrets of Charlotte Street #2)
Author: Scarlett Peckham
Release Date: December 11th, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
She’s beautiful, rich, and reckless…
When Lady Constance Stonewell accidentally ruins the Earl of Apthorp’s entire future with her gossip column, she does what any honorable young lady must: offer her hand in marriage. Or, at the very least, stage a whirlwind fake engagement to repair his reputation. Never mind that it means spending a month with the dullest man in England. Or the fact that he disapproves of everything she holds dear.
He’s supposedly the most boring politician in the House of Lords…
Julian Haywood, the Earl of Apthorp, is on the cusp of finally proving himself to be the man he’s always wanted to be when his future is destroyed in a single afternoon. When the woman he’s secretly in love with confesses she’s at fault, it isn’t just his life that is shattered: it’s his heart.
They have a month to clear his name and convince society they are madly in love…
But when Constance discovers her faux-intended is decidedly more than meets the eye—not to mention adept at shocking forms of wickedness—she finds herself falling for him.
There’s only one problem: he can’t forgive her for breaking his heart.
To preface this review, rarely do Eri (my partner in blogging crime) and I live-text each other about the books we’re reading. In this case, by live-text, I mean send 17 unintelligible texts followed by screenshots while simultaneously screaming per each interaction. I don’t think any book has driven the two of us to this level of collective rowdiness (as seen below with me in the blue text). This is the highest compliment either of us can give.
The Earl I Ruined demands your attention in the best way. In the words of our hero, Julian Haywood: “He was, God help him, aflutter“.
two likable leads🍎
My love for unlikeable~ heroines is no secret. I absolutely adore heroines who are allowed to make huge ass mistakes, like Constance. Falling in love with Lady Constance Stonewell was a given, but I didn’t love The Earl I Ruined to the degree I do solely because of her. Everything about this book was exceptional from the setting to the side characters to the voice. Frequently, I find myself overlooking less appealing aspects of books because I am a heroine centric reader. If the heroine is done well, it’s usually enough to tip me over the scale. Because I love unlikeable heroines so much, it’s almost impossible for the heroes of those stories to stand on equally footing as them.
From the start of The Earl I Ruined, that was so clearly not the case. There was never a time when I was hoping for Julian’s point of view to end due to lack of investment in his story. Scarlett Peckham did a spectacular job of fleshing Julian and Constance out equally. Even writing this now, I’m still amazed at how much I loved Constance and Julian equally as individuals. Each of their POVs were engrossing and sympathetic. They’re both characters I would’ve rooted for outside the context of their relationship. It made the pay-off of their HEA that much more satisfying. Those of you who are skeptical of “big misunderstanding” plots will be hard pressed to find fault in Constance and Julian’s reasoning for their treatment of each other.
Also, I loved Constance and Julian’s relationship with their respective families. Eri and I are both huge suckers for sibling relationships and family dynamics. The Earl I Ruined hit all the right notes. You can see some of our joint gushing over it in the text mosh pit pictured above.
atmospheric setting 🐶
Two things to note about The Earl I Ruined: you don’t necessarily have to have read the first book in the series, The Duke I Tempted, to enjoy it and that it’s a Georgian set Romance.
Confession time, I haven’t read The Duke I Tempted (yet). I’m no stranger to skipping and backtracking in Romance series. For ‘new to me’ authors, I do I prefer to start in order… unless I’m too excited for a particular book in the series, which is what happened with The Earl I Ruined. Scarlett Peckham’s story-telling talents made me feel as if I wasn’t missing out by not having read The Duke I Tempted. One of the important themes introduced in the first book was the relationship between Constance and her brother, Archer, the Duke of Westmead. I’m in love with sibling relationships like theirs, but I also never felt like I needed more development or needed backstory to be satisfied. The backstory was introduced effortlessly and because of Constance’s strong POV, I felt emotionally invested even with a relatively small amount of discussion. I will definitely be backtracking to read The Duke I Tempted because I’m dying to see Constance before~ she was the heroine and the love story between Archer and Poppy Cavendish.
Despite being an avid Historical Romance reader, I usually don’t remember the exact time period books take place in by the end (unless there’s ample references to Prinny). While reading The Earl I Ruined, I felt immersed in the Georgian-era setting. I’ve missed that feeling from recent Historical Romances. All the wig related scenes were a delight: one where Constance’s young cousin steals a footman’s wig and a very nice scene featuring Julian, Constance, and a wig closet (which was golden for multiple reasons). There’s also references to the evangelical movement, something I never thought I would care about in a Romance, which made the time period feel that much more relevant.
*all* the tropes🍎
Perhaps the biggest surprise of The Earl I Ruined was the sheer amount of my particular trope interests that were included. Obviously, I’m a big sucker for Emma-adjacent tropes like unrequited love and heiresses who fuck up, but those are just the tip of the trope ice-burg in The Earl I Ruined.
I’m a huge fan of Historical Romances with heroines who write anonymously. Constance writing a gossip column was perfect in every way. And it doesn’t make some one-off appearance and then vanish for the rest of the story. Constance’s writing and the column are important parts throughout. And it played into one of my all time favorite ending tropes, which I refuse to outright say and am trying to be as vague as possible about because it’s a spoiler BUT JUST KNOW I died. It was perfect.
If that isn’t enough for you, there’s also a near death experience, a cuddly puppy named shrimp, fake fiancés/marriage of connivence (with some amazing plot twists and turns), misunderstanding based enemies to lovers, and the always fan favorite tropes: “everyone can see it” & “can’t spit it out”.
The plot was varied enough to not constantly drawn comparisons to Emma and succinct enough not to feel like the story was going off in multiple directions. I don’t know how Scarlett Peckham did it, but the tropes worked perfectly together. It’s a wild, enjoyable ride.
Highly recommend The Earl I Ruined to anyone ever, especially those who appreciate top-notch unlikable heroines & fake dating. And also for fans of apples.
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY DETAILS
To celebrate the release of THE EARL I RUINED by Scarlett Peckham, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Scarlett Peckham. Giveaway ends 12/24/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 📚
SCARLETT PECKHAM is a four-time Golden Heart® finalist in Historical Romance who writes steamy stories about alpha heroines. Her Secrets of Charlotte Street series follows the members of Georgian London’s most discreet – and illicit – private club with lushwriting, historical detail, a feminist worldview and a light touch of kink.
Scarlett lives in Los Angeles and when not reading or writing romance she enjoys drinking immoderate quantities of white wine, watching The Real Housewives, and dressing her cat in bowtie.