Title: First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett
Debutante Diaries Series Book One
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Once upon a time three young ladies vowed to record their first London seasons…and to fill in the gaps of their finishing school educations. Thus began The Debutante Diaries—and London will never be the same…
“Fans of Regency romance authors Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, and Mary Jo Putney will go wild.”—Booklist
An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars, in First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett.
Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…
A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?
The first installment in the Debutante Diaries series, First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett is a fun and heartwarming historical romance.
Miss Fiona Hartley is a feisty, spirited young woman who is devoted to her family. She is also a gifted artist but her pictures do not provide her any income. When a blackmailer threatens to reveal salacious information about her sister, Lily, Fiona decides a marriage of convenience is the solution to her problem. She has selected David Gray, the Earl of Ravenport, as her intended bridegroom.
David might hold a title, but he is cash poor. The recent end of his engagement has soured him on marriage, so he is not exactly amenable to Fiona’s daring proposition. Fiona is unwilling to take no for an answer so he invites her, along with her family and friends, to his ramshackle country estate. With his beloved grandmother and his best friend George Kirby by his side, David is hopeful the tumbledown estate will convince Fiona to give up on her marriage plans.
Fiona and David are a surprisingly well-matched couple. Both care deeply about their respective families and they will do anything to make them happy. David and Fiona are equally stubborn once they have made a decision. However, David is unexpectedly charmed by Fiona and he eagerly plans outings for them. Fiona already holds Gray in high regard and as she spends more time in his company, her feelings for him begin to deepen. The couple share a sizzling hot attraction that proves impossible to resist. But will David agree to marry Fiona before their week in the country comes to an end?
Peppered with witty banter, First Earl I See Tonight is a humorous romance that is also rather steamy. Fiona and David are appealing protagonists whose shortcomings and strengths are relatable. The secondary characters are equally well-drawn and quite likable. The conflict that arises between Fiona and David is somewhat predictable but it is resolved fairly quickly. Anna Bennett brings this delightful novel to a sweet and sigh-worthy conclusion. The Debutante Diaries series is off to a wonderful beginning that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next release.