A Winter’s Earl

Annabelle Greene. Carina, $4.99 e-book (336p) ISBN 978-0-369-71749-8
Greene (Soldier and the Spy) takes a cue from Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale for this middling historical romance. In 1815 Sicily, Richard Ashbrook receives a missive from his former lover, Sherborne Clarke, a scandalous British poet whom he believes published a letter outing Richard to a newspaper 16 years ago, forcing Richard into exile. Sherborne has found a baby on his doorstep and hopes Richard will help transport the foundling, whom he names Parsley, to the orphanage Richard’s cousin runs in London. Richard is bitter and wary about reuniting with Sherborne but cannot deny his lingering attraction: the pair get turned on while verbally sparring and engage in a fencing match that ends in kissing. When heavy snow delays their trip to the orphanage, Richard appreciates the chance for “one more night” with his lover. Unfortunately, this central romance feels rather tame and tensionless, and an episode in which actors and a bear arrive unexpectedly works as a nod to Shakespeare but is otherwise slack. A late subplot around Parsley’s parentage addresses issues of class, gender, and expectation and creates some intrigue, but not enough to save the story. Greene has made a noble effort, but this feels uninspired. Agent: Deidre Knight, the Knight Agency. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/14/2021
Genre: Romance/Erotica
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