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Emma and the Earl*

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Poor Emma and her earl! Emma is just trying to help the gentleman out of a tricky spot, which she doesn’t completely understand, when through no fault of her own—or his even—she becomes utterly and thoroughly compromised. She hadn’t wished to marry in general, and she certainly did not want to marry a man like the earl or marry without love. They’re also quite different in their preferences for living; the earl is decidedly a city man while Emma much prefers the country. Their initial moments after the wedding are a bit awkward, but he will not force her into any intimacies she is not ready for. Their relationship becomes a bit of a game when they make a wager before going to the country to see one of his friends. She is bound and determined to make him like country life on this little visit, and so she makes a deal with him: he will do everything that she requires of him during the stay, and if she convinces him that the country life is a good one, he will agree to spend some time in it; if she cannot convince him, she will not continue to pester him about it.

I like these two characters. They both had such strong history coming into the story, him with a desire to continue his roguish ways in the city and her preferring to keep to her bluestocking, confirmed spinster ones. But they are both good people who are trying to make the best of a bad circumstance. I like the interplay between them as their relationship thawed. All in all, I thought this was a very enjoyable Regency.