Dec 19 2013 4:30pm

First Look: Elizabeth Boyle’s If Wishes Were Earls (December 31, 2013)

If Wishes Were Horses by Elizabeth BoyleElizabeth Boyle
If Wishes Were Earls
Avon / December 31, 2013 / $5.99 print, $4.99 digital

Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.

Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily-ever-after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone . . . there is one wish neither can deny.

The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it is to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.

Elizabeth Boyle’s third Rhymes With Love entry, If Wishes Were Earls, brings the love story of Harriet and Roxley to full fruition, a treat for series fans and new arrivals alike. As we join our heroes, the Kempton curse has been broken, with both of Harriet’s best friends, Daphne and Tabitha, making love matches. Kempton women no longer need to fear a lifetime of spinsterhood, which should be great news for Harriet, who’s had Roxley in her sights for years. Only there’s one snag. Roxley’s famed luck has utterly deserted him, leaving him at desperate straits to support his beloved maiden aunts. When a suitable miss with a suitable dowry conveniently appears, Roxley has some hard decisions to make, but can he even think of making them without Harriet?

One of the perks to reading a well crafted series is the construction of family, both by blood and by choice. Friends and family definitely have a hand in shaping and supporting the love story here, but never fear, Harriet and Roxley stay center stage. For readers who love a romance that does a slow burn before reaching its peak, If Wishes Were Earls is a book for you. Years ago, Roxley was a newly-minted peer at far too young an age, and ragamuffin Harriet the sole female representative of the sprawling Hathaway clan. They meet as children, with Harriet promptly informing Roxley he’s going to want to marry her someday. Roxley isn’t on board with this straightaway, oh but wait. He’ll get it soon enough.

By the time we get to see adult Roxley and his Kitten, as he calls Harriet, take center stage, she’s scandalously dressed as Cleopatra at a fancy dress ball, and Roxley has concerns about her presence alone in the garden with a gentleman. That’s how women get ruined, you know. Oh, Harriet knows, and she has a particular gentleman in mind; Roxley. After the passionate kiss (and more) that they shared in another secluded enclave, Harriet is gunning for a repeat performance, and Roxley’s game, but it’s not that easy, not at first.

With Roxley’s finances in shambles, he still has all the responsibilities of a peer. He’s got to keep up his properties, including one which must have a family member in residence at all times lest they lose the lease. He’s still responsible for his maiden aunts, fending off aging roués, handling their squabbles over a hideous china dog sculpture and that’s only the start. So, when the perfectly suitable Miss Murray appears, and appears interested in making a match with him, Roxley sees the perfect solution, though his heart wants only Harriet.

Ever since Harriet first set her sights on Roxley, she hasn’t wavered, and readers will cheer her on as she does whatever it takes to get what she wants. Whether it’s volunteering to serve as Miss Murray’s companion to stay close to both Miss Murray and Roxley as they make a tour of the aunts’ homes, or physically fending off unwanted attentions from a would-be suitor, Harriet is a heroine who’s got things well in hand. Harriet gets bonus points for one of the most inventive tools in her toolbox—the romantic Miss Darby novels whose snippets introduce every chapter.

Harriet and Roxley’s road to happily ever after isn’t smooth, and it takes true determination and some ingenuity for these two to make the most important choices of all. Thankfully, their family and friends provide a strong base of support, as well as points of conflict, and are willing to do their parts in securing a better tomorrow for all involved, making If Wishes Were Earls the kind of warm family gathering we’d all like to be a part of this season or any season.

Learn more or order a copy of If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle, available December 31, 2013:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.

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