What a wonderful conclusion to a series that has quickly become one of my favorites! For readers who love clean Regency novels, I suggest picking up this entire series. However, even if you haven’t read the previous stories, The Indebted Earl can easily be enjoyed on its own.
The author did such a beautiful job of conveying the heartbreak that both Sophie and Charles felt at the loss of Sophie’s betrothed. It was very clear that Sophie loved Rich dearly and that Charles had lost a close friend.
I have loved the marriage of convenience aspect of all three of these novels, as that is one of my favorite tropes. The marriage of convenience does not happen immediately in this novel, instead occurring a bit later in the story. Instead, Sophie and Charles must navigate caring for three girls who become Charles’ wards. They also continue to care for Rich’s mother, Mamie. All of this while Charles must navigate a new and uncertain future.
I really liked the way Sophie and Charles began to connect and care for each other, even as Charles carried guilt due to Rich’s death and Sophie tried to balance her sadness with a newfound respect for Charles. This book, just like the two previous stories in the series, had a wonderful balance of romance, intrigue, and even some danger thrown in.
The Serendipity & Secrets series is a solid favorite of mine. I recommend all three books in the series, as well as a connected novella which takes place just after The Indebted Earl. It is Cilla’s story and is titled The Wonders of His Love. It can be found in the novella collection Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Can Captain Wyvern keep his new marriage of convenience all business–or will it turn into something more?
Captain Charles Wyvern owes a great debt to the man who saved his life–especially since Major Richardson lost his own life in the process. The best way to honor that hero’s dying wish is for Wyvern to escort the man’s grieving fiance and mother safely to a new cottage home by the sea. But along the way, he learns of another obligation that has fallen on his shoulders: his uncle has died and the captain is now the Earl of Rothwell.
When he and the ladies arrive at his new manor house in Devon, they discover an estate in need of a leader and a gaggle of girls, all wards of the former earl. War the new earl knows; young ladies and properties he does not. Still wishing to provide for the bereaved Lady Sophia Haverly, Charles proposes a marriage of convenience.
Sophie is surprised to find she isn’t opposed to the idea. It will help her care for her betrothed’s elderly mother, and she’s already fallen in love with the wayward girls on the Rothwell estate. This alliance is a chance to repay the captain who has done so much for her care, as well as divert her attention from her grief. When Wyvern returns to his sea commission, she’ll stay behind to oversee his property and wards.
It sounds so simple. Until the stalwart captain is arrested on suspicion of smuggling, and Sophie realizes how much he’s come to mean to her. Now she’ll have to learn to fight, not only for his freedom but also for his love.
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An Interview with Erica Vetsch, Author of The Indebted Earl
Q: The Indebted Earl is the final release in your Serendipity & Secrets series. Can you give us a recap of the series up to this point and introduce us to your new book?
The Serendipity & Secrets series is three books about three men who come into titles unexpectedly and the women who capture their hearts. In The Lost Lieutenant, a soldier is granted an earldom as a reward for bravery on the field of battle . . . but he is suffering from partial amnesia and cannot remember what he did to earn the title. In The Gentleman Spy, the new Duke of Haverly is wrestling with keeping separate his public life as a duke of the realm and his secret life as a spy for the Crown. And in The Indebted Earl, a naval captain inherits a title and an estate, three young wards, and the care of his late best friend’s fiancé and mother, all while trying to get back to his life at sea.
Three unexpected titles, three unexpected marriages, and three stories of secrets, love, and testing whether God is truly sovereign.
Q: How does the Captain find himself becoming Earl Rothwell? Is he eager to adapt to the new role?
Charles’s parents were estranged from his family before he was born, and there was an heir closer in line to the earldom than he, so he never expected to inherit the title. But when his cousin, the heir, is revealed to be a traitor to the Crown and is killed, Charles is next in line. He’s never met his uncle, the old earl, and his uncle has never shown the slightest interest in his nephew.
Charles has made a fine career for himself in the Royal Navy, and though the war has ended and many ship captains are without commands and looking for work, Charles is determined to continue a life on the sea. He knows nothing about managing an estate and cannot even ride a horse, having gone to sea as a child. He is a reluctant peer, but his life aboard ship has equipped him in some nonobvious ways to be at the helm of an estate.
Q: Can you give us a quick lesson in peerage and the hierarchy of society during this time period?
There are five ranks of nonroyal peerage in Britain: duke, marquess, earl, viscount, and baron, in descending order of rank. Most titles were entailed, meaning they passed from father to son, or to the next closest male in the lineage. Often a peer would also hold subsidiary titles at the same time, and his heir would be given use of one of the lesser titles as a courtesy. For example, an earl may also hold the subsidiary title of viscount, and while the earl is alive, his son would use the lesser title of viscount until he came into his inheritance.
The British aristocracy during the Regency period was quite small compared to the entire population of England. The government was divided into the House of Lords (where one must be a member of the peerage to have a seat) and the House of Commons, which was open to any elected official. Land was most often owned by members of the peerage. As the Industrial Revolution gained momentum, more and more commoners became wealthy, which caused some friction. As the wealth of a member of the peerage declined, they might look outside their exclusive set to marry some of that new money.
Q: Will you be sad to let this trilogy—your first Regency series—go? What can readers look forward to next?
There’s such a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in seeing this series completed, but to answer your question . . . YES! I am so reluctant to let these stories and characters go that I’m bringing some of them back in my new series, the Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries!
The first book, The Debutante’s Code, should arrive in the fall of 2021 and features Lady Juliette Thorndike and Bow Street Runner Daniel Swann in a fast-paced tale of intrigue, espionage, and art thievery!
Q: Where can Regency fans go to interact and talk about books on Facebook?
I am thrilled that we have a place on Facebook to discuss all things inspirational Regency romance. There is a lively and growing community of readers that can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2568745689914759. We have contests, giveaways, polls, notices of sales, reviews, and much more, and we’re always welcoming new members.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
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