by Brenda Dow

December 2000
ISBN: 1-55316-028-2
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When you are down at the bottom of a long line of heirs to an earldom, do you think it will happen? No, you don’t and Roderick had the same thoughts and figured that being an earl is definitely not in his future. But upon his return from the colonies, that is just what happened to him - he became the next Earl of Selchurch. With becoming the Earl, he also inherited several responsibilities – aside from managing an estate, he is also the guardian of his late cousin’s daughter, Sophie. Sophie is 12 years old and on the look out for her father that was released from prison two years earlier. She is always sneaking away to try to locate her father or to be by herself in a tree house at Roderick’s new estate, The Rise.

Not only does he inherit Sophie, but also an ex-fiancée, Cytherea, whom he wanted three years ago. Cytheria claimed her father, Lord FitzWarren, disapproved of the match, but actually it was she who did not want to get married. Since Roddie has become the Earl, Cytherea has taken up residence at The Rise, staying as a guest of Lady Alicia, the wife of the late Earl of Selchurch, hoping to marry Roddie now that he is an Earl!

Julia Valliant is the neighboring magistrate’s sister, Ivor Valliant. Ivor is marrying the companion to Lady Alicia, Charlotte Stride. The first meeting between Julia, Sophie, and the new Earl is quite comical to say the least. Julia, a lady of small stature, standing in a carriage with a whip in one hand, threatening a huge ruffian trying to get his hands on Sophie, who, as it happens, is dressed like a boy. Then comes a man on horse, dressed in common clothes and takes Sophie away.

Roderick is always the perfect gentleman around Julia. He wants to court her but cannot until the mess with Cytherea is done and over with. Julia does not plan on marriage to anyone just yet - she wants to travel and see places before she marries, if she does at all! But the attraction to Roddie is there from that first eventful meeting and when Roddie is finally able to “come up to scratch”, Julia’s resolution is smashed to smithereens and says yes to Roddie’s proposal!

There are many secondary characters in the story and without them the story would not be half as good. We have Rayne, a school chum of Roddie’s who makes numerous appearances throughout the story; Lord FitzWarren, Cytherea’s father and also Roderick’s employer. Sir Janus, a neighbor, who has his sights set on Cytherea and who finally gives her an ultimatum. Tom Kettle, Sophie’s father, also plays a role in the story.

This story is aptly named, Earl For a Season, because of strange circumstances that are not known until near the end of the story. Ms. Dow did a wonderful job of with all the secondary characters playing such important roles in the lives of the hero and heroine. Hero and heroine are not quite accurate in my opinion for this book – though it was a romance between Roddie and Julia, the story was more alive and exciting with the different characters than it would have been with just the hero and heroine.

Reviewed in March 2002 by Pam.

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