About the Book:
Title: Blame It On the Earl
Author: Jane Ashford
Series: The Duke’s Estates #3
Page Length: 360
Publication Date: Aug. 30, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Synopsis: Jane Ashford brings you straight to the English countryside in her newest Regency romance. Perfect for readers of Mary Balogh, Ella Quinn, and fans of Bridgerton, this historical romance features:
• A young woman trying to do the right thing
• An earl’s son whose clumsiness is their downfall
• A scandal that turns the haute ton upside down
• The undeniable spark that transforms a blunder into a tender connection
Sarah Moran’s attempt to save Kenver Pendrennon—the heir of an earl—as he slips off the Cornwall cliffs, sends them both into each other’s arms and into the sea. Now, marriage may be the only option to keep a scandal at bay. But what started as a terrible mistake may be exactly what both of them needs…
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While exploring the ruins of a castle with her family, Sarah Morand and Kenver Pendrennon fall off a cliff. Wounded and unconscious, Kenver is saved by Sarah, who drags him to safety before the tide comes in. However, they are stuck overnight until the tide goes out. To dissuade scandal, Sarah and Kenver become engaged and quickly marry. However, not everyone is happy with their union, and this newly acquainted couple must learn how to stand up for themselves and their love.
I have mixed feelings about this story. On one hand, I enjoyed the slow-burning romance and a few of the secondary characters. But on the other hand, I didn’t love Kenver. He was so passive throughout much of the story. I understood the reasons behind his aversion to conflict and willingness to comply with his parents’ wishes, but the way they treat Sarah is terrible, and I wanted Kenver to take a stand. That being said, I think Kenver shows a lot of growth by the end of the story, much of which can be attributed to his relationship with Sarah.
With antagonists that are easy to hate balanced with friends that are easy to love, the book has an interesting cast of secondary characters. I also like the references to King Arthur, Merlin, and the stories surrounding Arthur’s beginnings. Sarah and Kenver share an interest in this history, which is sweet and romantic.
Speaking of romance, Sarah and Kenver have an angst filled love story with two major obstacles- Kenver’s atrocious parents. They do everything they can to show their displeasure and lack of support of the marriage. However, Sarah and Kenver are committed to each other. Their romance has a lot of yearning and sweet moments that show their deepening feelings for each other, which is lovely.
While reading, I was constantly thinking about the lack of opportunities women had at this time. The dependence they have on men – husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. – in all aspects of life is startling. There are some good messages about women’s rights, gender inequality, tradition, and ridiculous social conventions.
Overall, this is a good read, though it’s not my favorite in the series. The ending felt a bit forced and too easy in comparison to the trials Sarah and Kenver experienced throughout the story. And I wanted Kenver to be more forceful with his parents way earlier than he did. I also wish the couple communicated better. It would have helped some of their issues.
Thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
To draw out another’s deep self is the real gift of marriage.