Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: His enthusiasm waned. He thought nothing could reduce his regard for Miss Emma James, but coming between him and his bacon came close.
Robert “Dare” Ashton, the Earl of Darington, is an English privateer for the Royal Navy. His latest score involves incredible wealth when he strips a France freighter of its cargo of gold, silver, and jewels. Now plump in pocket, Dare turns his attention to settling down and he begins to look for a wife. An impromptu trip with his sister to a wedding results in their attempted kidnapping and him getting shot. Lucky for him, help arrives to save the day and his life.
Emma St. James is on her way to the docks to board a ship for America to wed a sea captain sight unseen. Her stepmother and brother’s repeated attempts to marry her off and steal her inheritance take on a sinister tone when they threaten to have her declared insane if she doesn’t do as they say. With only a maid in tow, Emma runs away. A random chance of fate puts in her in the path of kidnappers and an injured man. Using her wits, Emma hides the injured man and then helps him to a local inn where they pretend to be man and wife while she tends to his injuries.
An investigation shows the man who destroyed Dare’s family and robbed them blind is the same man behind the kidnapping. He sends Emma away to keep her safe as but they soon meet up again when Emma is forced to hide from her stepbrother on his ship. Dare will do anything to keep Emma safe…and he may have to before it’s all done.
The second book in Amanda Forester’s The Daring Marriages series is Dare’s story. If you read book one, If the Earl Only Knew, you remember that Dare and his twin sister Kate suffered greatly after their father died and their estate was plundered. Sent to debtors prison as children, they escaped and preserved though they still bear the scars of their childhood. Kate’s story is told in book one. You do not have to read it in order to understand the long reaching arc, Forester does a mild recap, however, it is amusing and introduces the main characters, the world, and sets the stage for the finale.
Earl Interrupted is an action-packed, adventurous concoction of humor and charm that introduces, by chance, two people who are perfect for one another. The long reaching arc is elevated by various subplots sprinkled throughout though the overall tension and drama is pretty lowkey. A steady hand opens the story and sets the stage with two eye opening introduction scenes. We watch our hero pirate a ship for it’s bounty while learning our heroine is an amateur physician who is in the midst of trying to keep her fortune from being stolen. Using dual first-person narrative, Forester switches between our hero and heroine, building up the anticipation as they inch their way to one another. The real fun begins with they meet. I do want to add that if you are looking for a historically proper or correct romance, this isn’t it. Forester takes too many liberties but the story works regardless.
Heavily character driven, Emma and Dare are delightful characters whose personalities shine through. Their witty banter and sexy flirtations kept me smiling throughout. Emma is quite unique in that she trained as a physician’s assistant under her father and when he passed, he left most his fortune (homes, etc…) to her. Raised almost exclusively by her father; Emma is opinionated, forthright, loyal, and intelligent. She makes her own choices in life, not at all that concerned with the priorities imposed by society or her stepmother’s wishes.
When Dare is shot, she helps him to the nearest inn and pretends to be his wife. She strips him down, doctors on him, and stays with him, alone, for a couple of days while she nurses him back to health.
Dare is admirable, honorable, loyal, and A PIRATE!! :) He was forced to take on an adult role as a child after his father’s death and the steward’s betrayal. Sent with his sister to debtor’s prison, he has since used his wits to not only raise them both but replenish what was stolen from them. Now he searches for the man who destroyed his family while plundering other ships for treasure. :) As the current Earl, Dare knows he must marry but is positively being dubbed “the pirate Earl” will not work to his advantage.
And it doesn’t. He is turned down twice.
The romance is fun to watch unfold. Their attraction is instant and the flirtation lively but this couple stays rather chaste and uses their time together to get to know one another. I enjoyed that Dare didn’t judge Emma on her actions-thinking her forward or trying to trap him as one of this era might think. He showed her respect and admiration which elevated him even more in my eyes. There are a few stolen kisses, some heady looks, and a few sexual innuendos made but that is about all you’re going to get till the end. Dare proposes to Emma but she has committed herself to marrying someone else and doesn’t want to be someone’s obligation. Dare wants Emma but in what way is something he still needs to figure out.
An energetic and varied cast of secondary characters infiltrates the storyline, adding humor and depth. Dare’s sister Kate is in attendance and still fighting her attraction to the Earl of Wynbrook but he isn’t giving up yet. I adored Dare’s ship crew and how they immediately draw Emma into their group. Her maid Sally is a plot device used to show just how unconventional Emma is. Emma’s stepmother and brother aren’t so much villainous as selfish and greedy. Emma manages to elude quite easily.
Forester wraps up the storyline back where it all began; on the sea. Dare enacts his revenge and Emma once again comes to the rescue and saves the day. Most of the loose ends are wrapped with viable explanations and expected results. I did have some issues. I felt some of the explanations resolved a little too easily for the stated damage done. One issue I really fought hard against was Emma herself. I loved her independence and general joyful outlook but there was a sense of naiveness to her that seems out of sorts. She does things that had anyone but Dare been witness to it, she would have been ostracised immediately. Forester gets around it by keeping Emma mostly secluded but gossip was a form of currency back then and no one was immune. Especially when one has a maid who doesn’t like them. And while I had no issues with the fact she was religious and vocal about it (she says little prays and quotes scripture throughout, I did find it odd that it received such a strong position in the book when seemed to serve no real purpose.
Regardless, Earl Interrupted is an enjoyable lightweight historical romance filled with humor, romance, high sea adventure, and of course, a well earned happily ever after.