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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Bilson

The Earl's Irresistible Challenge by Lara Temple

First in a new series called The Sinful Sinclairs, the three books are planned to focus on the three Sinclair siblings. Lucas, Lord Sinclair, comes first. And to be honest, I wasn’t at all sure why he was called Lord Sinful; though the heroine, Olivia, is spooked by him at first, it seems to be because of a reputation that isn’t that different to any other lord in London. Lord Sinclair doesn’t prey on virgins or the defenceless; his mistresses are experienced and know exactly what they’re getting into. Yes, it seems his grandfather and uncle blackened the family name and his father’s death in a duel under mysterious circumstances did nothing to help, but really, Lucas’s a sweetheart, which Olivia eventually discovers.

It’s a good thing too, because Olivia needs his help. In today’s society, it’s hard to comprehend just how devastating to an entire family a scandal could be, and how far-reaching the consequences of what seems like a simple decision. Olivia’s decision not to marry a man she discovers fully intends to continue his affair with one of her married friends has left her a pariah, and her godfather’s death in shocking circumstances is the last straw. When she discovers not all about the death is what it seems, and may somehow be linked to the death of the late Lord Sinclair, she’s determined to investigate and enlists Lucas’s help.

Olivia’s delightful, uniquely intelligent and determined (and OCD - I loved her Wall of Contemplation) and Lucas is fascinated despite his initial determination not to have anything to do with her. Watching him get drawn helplessly in like a moth to a flame is pretty funny, especially since Olivia really has no desire to attract his attention, at least not at first. By the time she realizes her own feelings, Lucas is already accepting of his fate, which is a pleasant change in Regencies. Too often it’s the heroine who does all the pining.

This was both a thoroughly enjoyable romance and a sobering look at the effects a scandal could have on reputations in the era, both individual and that of an entire family. I hope to read the rest of this series soon; Lucas’s brother and sister both deserve their own happy endings! Five stars for a fantastic read.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review from the author.

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