The Earl Takes All - The Hellions of Havisham series, book 2

Author: Lorraine Heath

Publisher: Avon

Release Date: April 26, 2016

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5.0


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Edward Alcott and his twin brother Albert, the heir, were only seven when their parents were killed in a railway accident. The boys were transported to Havisham Hall, where they became the wards of the Marquess of Marsden. Albert had been Edward's anchor during that time. So, years later, when Albert falls in love with Julia, Edward feels threatened. He is not ready to lose his brother. One evening Julia sets up an assignation with Albert in the garden where she plans to share her very first kiss. After kissing passionately, she discovers she is actually kissing Edward. Livid, Julia avoids Edward whenever possible. But Edward is captivated by her. Still, he would never cuckold his own brother. So he goes out of his way to blacken his own reputation. Finally, he manages to convince Albert to take one more adventurous trip with him and two of their friends. But only one of the brothers returns home. When Albert lay dying, he whispered to Edward, "Be me".

Julia is deeply in love with her husband. Still, she has trouble forgetting the kiss in the garden with his brother. She encouraged the two brothers to take the trip, assuming they needed the time together. But upon Albert's return, she cannot get over the changes in him. She is sad for his sake that his brother died, and at first, believes the changes in Albert are due to the grief over his brother. But as the days pass, Albert becomes more loving and passionate while Julia finds herself falling head over heels for her husband.

Figuring that his brother was doing this for Julia's sake, Edward goes along with the ruse, at least for a short while. After all, Julia is pregnant with Albert's baby and so far she has not been able to carry a baby to term. He will do anything to keep her from losing this one. But how long can he keep up the act that he is Albert, especially since he finds himself falling in love with her more each day? Will he lose her for good once she discovers the truth?

An enticing tale, THE EARL TAKES ALL, the second book in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lorraine Heath's THE HELLIONS OF HAVISHAM HALL series, is a witty, sensual historical romance. I empathized with Edward and understood why he behaved as he does. Desperately in love with his brother's wife, he does his best to take the high road and stay away from her. Julia does the same and though she is in love with her husband, she can't forget the passionate kiss in the garden with Edward.

A gifted storyteller, Ms. Heath tugs at your emotions more than once as you delve into this delectable tale. Although this plotline could definitely be a tricky one, Ms. Heath pulls it off beautifully. With respect for Albert, despite the unsettling way he died, this story unfolds in a believable and touching manner. This novel can be read as a standalone. Still, readers who enjoy this book should also check out the first book in this series, FALLING INTO BED WITH A DUKE. The last story in this trilogy, THE VISCOUNT AND THE VIXEN, is due to release in late November 2016. THE EARL TAKES ALL is a must read for lovers of historical romance.

By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Dottie

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