Elisa Braden is my favorite new Historical Romance author. I first read her a few months ago when I reviewed The Devil is a Marquess. Over the past weekend I caught up on the entire Rescued from Ruin series and I loved it. Braden’s latest book in the series, When a Girl Loves an Earl, is her best yet.
I was a little hesitant about When a Girl Loves an Earl because I usually hate romance novels where the heroine chases the hero. But because I loved all of the other books in the series I decided to give this one a try. Viola Darling is a great beauty of the ton. While not from a wealthy family, Viola has suitors lining up to ask for her hand. But Viola hasn’t found the love match that she so desperately seeks, so while she charms the mob of men around her, Viola isn’t truly interested in any of them.
Enter James Kilbrenner, Earl of Tannenbrook. Not traditionally handsome, James was initially a stonemason and was unaware of his aristocratic heritage until her became an earl in his late teens. Due to a tragedy in his youth, James has sworn never to marry and especially never to have children. Viola doesn’t care about James’ assertions and knows instantly that they are meant to be together. Without a thought to his wishes, Viola launches the Tannebrook Hunt and is determined to bring James up to scratch, ethically or not.
At first Viola irritated me. I think she’s meant to be somewhat naive. After all she’s been adored and chased her entire life, it would be strange to suddenly be rejected by the one person she wants to love her. But soon Viola’s sincerity wins out and I found myself embarrassed but cheering at her continued antics.
James is just the kind of hero that I love. A little rough around the edges, not traditionally handsome, and larger than life. A small complaint here; I don’t think the cover does James justice, the model is far too pretty. James’ attempts to dissuade Viola are heart-wrenching but once he realizes how much he loves her, he is the most romantic of heroes.
The scenes in Scotland are my favorite part of When a Girl Loves an Earl, Viola’s wonderful personality and innocence shines through during her visit to James’ family. Even when her heart is broken, Viola is still trying to make everything right and the reader loves her for it. I found the last part of the book particularly beautiful and I’ll admit I teared up.
Elisa Braden is an author to watch. Her novels are every bit as good as many of the well-established names and honestly, I enjoyed this book more than I have a lot of bestsellers. When a Girl Loves an Earl is beautifully written and stunningly romantic.