Title: First Earl I See Tonight
Series: Debutante Diaries #1
Author: Anna Bennett
Format: eBook/Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Publication: October 30th 2018 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
ISBN : 1250199468
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars…
Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…
A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?
First Earl I See Tonight is a fun and sweet regency romance with a dash of intrigue that I delighted in!
Fiona Hartley may not have born into the aristocracy, but her family is richer then most of those apart of that class. And because of that, she's been targeted by a no-good blackmailer, threatening to expose her adopted sister's origins if she doesn't pay a hefty sum. Unable to go to her father for fear of his health, and not wanting to expose her sister to the malevolence, Fiona must find a husband - and fast - in order to obtain enough of her dowry to pay off the scoundrel. Enter David Gray, the Earl of Ravenport. An impoverished aristocrat who Fiona could hopefully depend on discretion and convenience with. Unfortunately, Gray doesn't seem interested in a wife, even if her riches will help restore his family's crumbling fortress. In order for Fiona to convince him, her and her family must travel to Gray's dilapidated estate, but Gray's convinced that in itself will be enough to scare the young Miss Hartley away for good. Only... she ends up seeing more within the deteriorated grounds then Gray could ever imagine, and brings a light to Fortress that hasn't been seen since his grandmothers youth. Fiona is hiding something though, and Gray is determined to find out what it is before he falls even harder for her... if it's not too late already...
First Earl I See Tonight was my first introduction to Anna Bennett's writing, and I will definitely be back for more! The story was a rollicking good time all around with mystery, romance, and a touch of suspense. I liked the characters, Fiona had whit and sass, and I appreciated her determination to protect those she loved at all costs. Gray was a difficult character to fancy towards the beginning of the story. I didn't understand his fear of commitment over the duplicity of a women that he never liked to start with. Though I did love his relationship with his grandmother. It was heart-warming and endeared me to him more as the story progressed. I also didn't quite grasp the reasoning as to why Fiona always referred to the Earl of Ravenport of Gray, as opposed to his given name of David. I would think that would get a bit confusing after their marriage and her taking his last name...
All in all, First Earl I See Tonight was a promising start to a new series. With a satisfying story-line, well-paced plot, and snappy writing, I look forward to more from this decadent world Anna Bennett has created in the Debutante Diaries series.