ENGAGED TO THE EARL - Lisa Berne
The Penhallow Dynasty
Avon
ISBN: 978-0-06-285235-9
March 2020
Regency Romance

Whitehaven, England 1811

Fourteen year old Gwendolyn Penhallow has a brilliant idea to help her family because they are having financial difficulties. She proposes to her neighbor, seventeen-year-old Christopher Beck, that they elope to Scotland and marry. She thinks it is a perfect plan. It would save her family from the poor house and save Christopher from having to return to school, which he definitely doesn't want to do. Christopher briefly entertains the idea as a way to teach his father a lesson but realizes quickly it will never work. He won't come into his money until he is 21 and so is of no help to Gwendolyn. Besides, Gwennie is his sisters' best friend and still a child.

Whitehaven, England 1815

Christopher Beck has decided that school was never for him, and even before he receives his inheritance he ships off to parts unknown. His adventures take him far and wide, and eventually he learns to tame his fierce temper and impatience before he returns to England and the familiar.

Gwendolyn Penhallow has the opportunity to travel in Europe with relatives and jumps at the opportunity, putting off her first season. She is much more interested in seeing the world than starting the hunt for a husband.

London, England 1818

Gwendolyn has finally begun her first season, in the company of her cousin, the Duchess of Egremont, more of a grandmother figure than a cousin. Also having her first season, is Helen, the Duchess's granddaughter. Gwendolyn meets her future husband and it's love at first sight. The Earl of Westenbury. He's handsome, and the perfect man for her. Or is he?

Christopher Beck returns to London from his travels. He's matured but still has no time for fools. After meeting up with an old friend, Percy Penhallow, one of Gwendolyn's twin brothers, he agrees to attend a party the Duchess of Egremont is holding that evening.

Gwendolyn is in heaven, on the arm of her fiancé, Julian, the Earl of Westenbury. The engagement party hosted by the Duchess of Egremont is a smashing success. Then Gwendolyn spots a familiar face across the room, Christopher Beck, her old neighbor. Gwendolyn and Christopher get reacquainted and soon the behavior of Julian and his friends toward Christopher begins to bother her and opens her eyes.

What follows is a somewhat chaotic tale of friends, family and frenemies. Gwendolyn finds herself drawn more and more to Christopher's unconventional life and thoughts that toward her fiancé's perfection.

While the story was fun and interesting, it took me quite a bit to warm up to Gwendolyn. Considering her age and the times I found her shallow and immature. She grew on me as the story unfolded, but not enough for me to say I truly liked her. Christopher was a disagreeable young man, however, taking off on his own was the making of him. He becomes an imminently likable and admirable man.

ENGAGED TO THE EARL is an entertaining novel, filled with humorous dialogue and inner monologues. Regency fans will delight in the maturing of Gwendolyn and in the steadfast honor of Christopher, as well as natural progression of their relationship. Fans of Georgette Heyer will enjoy this regency romp with a happily ever after.

Terrie Figueroa