An earl shuns society after his wife dies in childbirth, but guardianship of his young cousin forces him to leave his isolated hideaway and re-enter the London social whirl.
Grey (The Duke and Miss Christmas, 2015, etc.) returns with the final installment in her Heirs’ Club of Scoundrels Trilogy with the story of the eighth Earl of Greyhawke. Adam Greyhawke is tormented by guilt after his wife and baby die during childbirth. He isolates himself in a rural cottage, but when an emissary from the prince deposits a 5-year-old orphan on his doorstep, Adam realizes he must return to London and get a handle on the Greyhawke estates. Because Adam doesn’t intend to remarry, the boy, Dixon, is his heir. But on his first foray into London society, Adam meets Miss Katherine Wright. Katherine walks with a cane after injuring her leg in two childhood accidents—first a carriage accident that killed her parents and siblings, then a tumble down a staircase. Adam believes she could learn to walk independently and even dance, and he can’t resist being the one to teach her. Katherine, meanwhile, has promised her uncle she will settle on a husband before the end of the season and is determined not to be distracted by a handsome earl who swears he will not remarry. Still, their secret dancing lessons and near-scandalous behavior threaten to take away their options and force them to marry. The story benefits from both characters’ intelligence and wit, although Adam’s reluctance to marry is rather abruptly dispensed with. He understandably fears that any child of his will be too large and will kill its mother, but the novel tumbles too quickly toward its ending, and he isn’t given a chance to gradually overcome his fear. Overall, however, this is a lively novel written by a skilled author.
A fun and absorbing read.