My Brown-Eyed Earl: A Wayward Wallflowers Novel

My Brown-Eyed Earl: A Wayward Wallflowers Novel

by Anna Bennett
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Overview

My Brown-Eyed Earl: A Wayward Wallflowers Novel by Anna Bennett

NEVER SEND A DEBUTANTE…
William Ryder, Earl of Castleton, is at the end of his noble rope. Not only has he broken ties with his longtime mistress, his mother has publicly announced her wish for him to marry a suitable young lady—if only to help him raise the young twins in his care. Hiring a governess should solve some of Will’s problems…but when he meets the candidate in question, he finds himself in an entirely new predicament.

TO DO A WALLFLOWER’S JOB

Miss Margaret Lacey is brainy, beautiful, and, once upon a time, Will’s betrothed. But she bowed out of the engagement—and, since then, has never been the same. A tragic accident robbed her of everything, and now, at age twenty-three, her marital prospects are slim to none. Penniless but not without pride, Meg convinces the vexingly handsome Will to hire her for the job. What neither of them could have expected from this arrangement, however, is an attraction that burns stronger than ever. Are these two lost souls finally ready to be schooled in the art of love?

Don’t miss the Wayward Wallflower books by Anna Bennett!
My Brown-Eyed Earl (Book 1)
I Dared the Duke (Book 2)
The Rogue is Back in Town (Book 3)


What Reviewers are saying:

“Sharply drawn characters, clever dialogue…simmering sensuality.”
Library Journal

“A new favorite among romance enthusiasts!” - BookPage on I Dared the Duke

"Will truly win readers' hearts." - RT Book Reviews Top Pick on I Dared the Duke

"Bennett brings new life to traditional Regency stories and characters. " - Kirkus Reviews on I Dared the Duke

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250100917
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/04/2016
Series: Wayward Wallflowers Series , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 48,349
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. She is the author of My Brown-Eyed Earl.


Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.

Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Other weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. She is the author of My Brown-Eyed Earl.

Read an Excerpt

My Brown-Eyed Earl


By Anna Bennett

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Anna Bennett
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-10091-7


CHAPTER 1

London, May 1817


Miss Margaret Lacey — Meg, to her family and friends — had the odd but unshakable feeling that the next half hour could alter the course of her life. Forever.

Which was just as well, because heaven knew that she and her sisters couldn't remain on their current paths — not if they wished to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies.

"Trust me, Meg. You're perfect for this position." Her friend Charlotte linked an arm through Meg's and bustled her down the street toward a row of elegant Mayfair townhouses.

"Perfect is a bit of a stretch." Meg had hoped to find work as a companion to an aging dowager, fetching fans and lemonade. Elderly people, she understood. Persons under the age of twelve were another matter entirely. "Shouldn't a governess have a way with children?"

"You've two younger sisters," Charlotte said.

"They're only a few years younger, and the only useful thing I've taught them is how to ignore insults from puffed-up debutantes."

"Nonsense. You're kind, intelligent, and patient. I've no doubt you can manage a pair of six-year old girls." Charlotte stopped and faced Meg. "Show me your best governess expression."

Meg glanced sideways at her friend and gave her an encouraging sort of smile.

"That will never do."

"Why not?"

Charlotte sighed. "The look is your primary weapon."

"Weapon? You said they were six."

"Suppose the twins complain about doing their sums. A good governess does not deign to argue with her charges. She simply gives them the look. Now, let's see it."

"Very well." Meg did her best to imitate the withering, mildly disdainful expression that had seemed etched onto her own governess's face.

Charlotte grimaced and bit her bottom lip.

Oh dear. "They're not going to do their sums, are they?"

"Heavens no. They'll think you've eaten a bad kipper." Charlotte took her arm, pulling her along once more. "Never mind — we shall work on that. But I can assure you that you are qualified. Honestly, Meg," she added with a warm smile, "any child would be lucky to have you as a governess."

Meg swallowed. She liked children, truly she did, in spite of their tendency to be terrifyingly unpredictable. "Let us hope I can convince my potential employers."

And convince them she must. Dear Uncle Alistair would never admit it, but Meg and her sisters had been a tremendous burden on him and his dwindling fortune. He'd generously taken them in after the unexpected and tragic deaths of her parents eight years ago. But now she was twenty-three, old enough to venture out on her own — and to try to save Uncle Alistair from debtor's prison.

"Employer, actually," Charlotte corrected. "He is a bachelor, and apparently at a loss for what to do with the twins."

Meg arched an eyebrow. "A bachelor with twins?"

"I don't know the details of his situation, but I'm certain you'll learn more during the interview." Charlotte pulled a scrap of paper from the pocket of her cloak and compared the address on it to the one above a stately town house entrance boasting polished stone steps and a gleaming black door. "This is it. You don't want to be late."

"No, of course not." Meg smoothed her hands down the skirt of her lilac dress, which was three years old and the nicest she owned. "Wait. You haven't told me his name."

"He's an earl." Charlotte consulted her paper. "Lord Castleton."

Oh no. The edges of Meg's vision turned fuzzy, and she stumbled on the pavement.

Charlotte steadied her. "You look as though you've seen a ghost. What's wrong?"

Everything. Lord Castleton was the man her parents had chosen for her to marry.

She'd been a sullen, spot-faced fifteen-year-old when they'd summoned her to the drawing room to meet him. Mama and Papa assumed she'd be thrilled with the arrangement. After all, he was a handsome, strapping young man who would one day be an earl — more than the plain daughter of a vicar could hope for. And it wasn't as though they'd be wed right away. He and Meg could get to know each other over the next few years — easily accomplished, as his family owned the estate next to their humble cottage.

Meg hadn't objected to the match in theory — she wasn't daft. But she had objected to the way he'd looked at her, with the thinly veiled dread and horror of a young man receiving a life sentence in Newgate.

Her pride simply wouldn't tolerate it.

So she had tossed her head, crossed her arms, leveled her gaze at him, and said, "I would sooner shave my head and enter the convent than marry you."

Burning at the memory, Meg pressed her gloved palms to her cheeks and turned to her friend. She'd never revealed that particular chapter of her past to Charlotte. It was tied up with too many painful memories. And did not cast her in a favorable light. "I can't do it."

"But you must! He's expecting you."

"Are you certain? That is, is he aware that I'm the candidate?"

Charlotte shrugged. "I'm sure Lord Torrington informed him. Why are you suddenly so anxious? Do you know the earl?"

Meg swallowed. "I used to — before he inherited the earldom." She'd been careful to avoid him once she and her sisters came to London, which was easy, for they did not move in the same circles. He was the ton's golden boy, while she lived in the shadows. "I fear I made an awful impression."

"You are being far too dramatic," Charlotte said. "He probably doesn't even remember the encounter."

Meg knew the words were meant to comfort and reassure, but the idea that he might have forgotten their meeting — the one that haunted her daily — pained her even more. "I suppose you are correct." He had no doubt moved on. Still, it was horribly awkward to be in the position of needing his approval now.

Charlotte narrowed her pretty gray eyes. "Why do I feel like there is more to this story?"

"I promise to tell you the whole of it. Later." Meg drew a long breath and willed her heartbeat to slow to a civilized pace. "Suffice it to say that if I was nervous before, I'm doubly so now. The earl is not likely to overlook my lack of experience." Not when paired with her past indecorous behavior.

"It's natural to feel some trepidation before an interview," Charlotte said kindly. "Is there more to it than that? Have you changed your mind about wanting the position?"

Meg hesitated only a moment. "No. Of course I still need it. It was just a shock, learning that my prospective employer is the earl." She could not afford — quite literally — to let her pride overrule her good sense. "If he's willing to consider entrusting his children to me, the least I can do is meet with him."

"Please, forget everything I said before. Just be your usual, charming self."

Meg squeezed Charlotte's hands. "Thank you for arranging the interview. I shall endeavor not to embarrass you or Lord Torrington." She winked at her friend. "But no promises."

"Go on. You'll be late." Charlotte gave her a little push toward the grand town house. "Tea this Sunday afternoon?"

"Of course."

"With any luck, you'll be a governess by then."

Meg's belly twisted in knots, but she managed a cheerful smile as she ascended the stone steps on wobbly legs. "Yes, luck. And there's some comfort in knowing the interview can't possibly go as badly as the ghastly scene I've conjured in my mind."


* * *

"The young lady applying for the governess position is waiting for you in the drawing room, my lord."

William Ryder, the Earl of Castleton, peeled his face off the surface of his mahogany desk and growled. "Damn it, Gibson. I asked not to be disturbed."

Unperturbed, the butler set a tray on the corner of the desk. "Yes, I am quite aware, my lord. But you made that request three hours ago. I hoped that your, ah, condition would be much improved by now, and —"

"For the love of God, call it what it is."

The butler's forehead creased. "Begging your pardon?"

"It's not a condition. It's the devil of a hangover."

"So it would seem. In any event, I assumed that you would wish to keep the scheduled appointment. However, if you would like me to send her away —"

"No." Will rubbed eyelids that felt like they'd been singed from the inside out. "I need to deal with the problem."

As if on cue, one half of the problem slid down the hall outside his study, squealing in an octave that set Will's teeth on edge.

"My turn!" called her sister, a matching blond-haired sprite. A second later she, too, glided over the polished floorboards on stockinged feet, colliding with the first twin and sending the pair of them sprawling onto the floor.

"You should have waited," cried the first.

"You should have moved out of the way," retorted the second.

Will pressed his fingertips to a throbbing temple. "Gibson!"

"Allow me, my lord." Turning to the girls, he said, "Diana. Valerie. Young ladies do not skate across the floor in their stockings."

"They should," said one. "It's quite fun."

The butler cleared his throat, and two spots of color appeared on his cheeks. "I suggest that the two of you return to the nursery," he said sharply. "At once."

With another chorus of head-splitting squeals, the twins scrambled to their feet and tore down the hallway.

"I don't believe I've ever seen you so flustered, Gibson." Will smiled. "I daresay I'm feeling a little better."

"All too happy to serve as a source of amusement," the butler said dryly. He plucked a cup from the serving tray on Will's desk, filled it with steaming, pungent coffee, and set it in front of him.

"I suppose I shouldn't add anything to this," Will said, taking a few scalding sips.

"It would rather defeat the purpose."

"Fine. Let's get this interview over with. Bring the governess here."

Gibson's gaze flicked around the room as though he were mentally cataloging all the reasons why a respectable young miss should not enter the decidedly male realm: the snifter of brandy and half-filled glass on the sideboard, the painting of a nude Aphrodite above the mantle, the discarded cravat draped over the arm of his chair. "If you're certain, my lord."

"I am." This was killing poor Gibson.

"Shall I ring for Phelps?"

Will leaned back in his chair and spread his arms. "Why would I need my valet?"

"Forgive me for mentioning it, my lord, but you look somewhat disheveled. I thought perhaps Phelps could tidy you up."

"Blast it, Gibson. I don't require tidying. I'm looking for a governess, not a mistress." But then, maybe his butler was trying to tell him something. "Wait. Is she ...?"

"Is she what, my lord?"

Will wanted to say comely or beautiful. "Young?"

"She is. And not at all your usual sort of companion."

"Then why all the fuss, damn it? Show her in here."

The butler's nostrils flared in his otherwise stony face. "As you wish, my lord." He turned stiffly and headed toward the drawing room at a glacial pace.

Hell. Will leaned forward on his elbows and pinched the bridge of his nose. Somehow, in the space of a week, his highly ordered, luxurious life had fallen apart.

First, Marina, the beautiful widow he'd been seeing, hinted that she wanted more than the mutually pleasurable arrangement they'd agreed to, forcing Will to break things off with her.

Next, his recently deceased cousin's mistress showed up on Will's doorstep with the twin girls, threatening to leave them at an orphanage unless he took them in.

And then last night, he attended a dinner party in honor of his mother's birthday. In front of a dozen guests, she announced her sole wish: that her son marry before she turned fifty — in exactly one year. After choking on his wine, Will promised to give the matter some thought.

Then he had gone directly to his club and drunk himself into oblivion.

Jesus. He stood, ran his hands through his hair, and checked his reflection in a mirror between a pair of bookcases. Gibson was right — he looked like hell.

Bad enough to scare off a potential governess.

He swiped the cravat off his chair, slung it around his neck, hastily tied it in some semblance of a knot, and buttoned his jacket. There was nothing to be done about the stubble on his chin or the faint imprint the desk blotter had left on his cheek, so he threw back the rest of his coffee and congratulated himself. Within the hour he'd have a governess to manage the twins, and at least one aspect of his life would be set to rights.

Gibson was already shuffling down the corridor. "My lord," he intoned from the doorway, "may I present Miss Lacey."

Will blinked. Lacey ... it was a common name. Surely the potential governess couldn't be —

She glided into the study and cast a wary look his way. "Good afternoon, Lord Castleton. It's a pleasure to see you again."

Dear God. It was her. The vicar's daughter who thought she was too damned good for him. Standing in his study, cloaked in a drab dress that might have been lilac once but now more closely resembled gray. No ribbons adorned her brown hair. No ringlets framed her face. In fact, the only decoration she wore was the light smattering of freckles across her nose.

The butler raised his bushy brows. "I was not aware that you were already acquainted."

"Thank you, Gibson. That will be all."

The butler left reluctantly, closing the door behind him.

Miss Lacey pressed her lips together as though she longed to say something and silence herself at the same time. From what he recalled of her tongue, it was best kept under lock and key.

"What on earth are you doing here?" Will demanded.

"Applying for the governess position. I assumed you knew."

"No," he said curtly.

"I see." She glanced over her shoulder at the door. "Perhaps it would be better if I —"

"Be seated, Miss Lacey." He inclined his head toward the armchair in front of his desk.

She hesitated, and for a moment he thought she'd refuse. But then she walked toward the chair, looked at the seat, and froze. Just as stubborn as he remembered, unbiddable as ever.

He bristled. "Perhaps you'd prefer to remain standing for the entire interview?"

"No. It's only ..."

"You object to meeting in my study?"

She narrowed eyes that were not quite green, but not quite brown either. "No, but I hoped to avoid sitting on this." In one, fluid motion she leaned over the chair, picked up a pink, lace-edged scrap of satin between her thumb and index finger, and dangled it in front of his face.

CHAPTER 2

Lord Castleton snatched the frilly handkerchief from Meg's hand. He started to stuff it in his pocket, apparently thought better of it, and shoved it into a desk drawer. "Let me assure you, Miss Lacey. Nothing untoward has occurred here in my study."

Perhaps not. But something untoward had definitely occurred somewhere.

Meg sat in the chair in front of his desk, glad she no longer had to rely on her shaking legs for support. "I'm certain that's none of my concern."

"I'm glad we agree."

She was curious, though. If her parents had had their way, the man who was now sitting across from her and cursing under his breath would have been her husband. Difficult as it was to fathom, she would have been his countess, probably blessed with a couple of children at this point.

The sight of him now, sporting rumpled clothes, a scowling face, and a foul mood, made her think she had dodged a rather nasty bullet.

The earl steepled his fingers under his chin, dark with stubble. "Now then, why don't you begin by telling me why you've been reduced to applying for a governess position?"

Dear Lord, this was humiliating — not needing to work, but having to explain herself. To him. She didn't want to reveal just how desperate she was. Or confess that suitors weren't exactly lining up outside her front door.

"My two sisters and I live with my uncle, Lord Wiltmore." Meg studied the earl's face, waiting for the moment he realized she was one of the infamous Wilting Wallflowers.

The ton had cruelly dubbed Meg, Beth, and Julie thus after their first season had proved highly unsuccessful. The cause of their disgrace was a reputation-shattering combination of unfashionable gowns and their uncle's eccentric behavior. Revealing her connection to Uncle Alistair inevitably prompted one of two responses: derision or pity. The former was far easier to accept than the latter.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett. Copyright © 2016 Anna Bennett. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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My Brown-Eyed Earl 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
MoniqueD More than 1 year ago
Meg’s mind was made up: she needed a position. Her friend Charlotte Winters lent a helping hand, and that’s how drab, dull wallflower Margaret Lacey became a governess to two six year-old twin girls. What Charlotte had neglected to mention was that the twin’s guardian was none other than William Ryder, now the Earl of Castleton. The same Will that Meg had curtly refused to marry him eight years before, when her father had urged her to accept this arranged marriage. Will’s life has gone topsy-turvy when the mistress of his deceased cousin unceremoniously dropped sisters Diana and Valerie on his doorstep. Not at all recovered from a hellish hangover, Will must interview governesses, and he certainly has not forgotten Meg, and when he sees her applying for the position, Will thinks the time has come to get back at the girl who thought she was too good for him. But deep down, Will is not the vengeful type, and when he hears how Meg is trying to keep her sisters Beth and Julie fed and clothed while financially helping her kind uncle Alistair, he hires her. Will has no doubt that Meg will do well, even if she’s sure she will fail. The premise for MY BROWN-EYED EARL is one that can go two ways: it can be very unpleasant or charming; everything depends on how the characters are defined and how the author goes about it, and I’m happy to say that every single page was a delight! MY BROWN-EYED EARL is evenly paced, the story flows smoothly, and the writing is seamless. Meg and Will clash often, but in civilised fashion and the verbal sparring is extremely witty and entertaining. Will likes Meg’s quick wit and her gumption; they are very well matched, and I loved how those two strong personalities interacted. They are willing to listen to reason and admit they’re wrong, and there are no silly misunderstandings because they both speak their minds. The romance was inevitable, not because the author said so, but because Meg and Will do belong together, it’s a given just as the sun will rise tomorrow. MY BROWN-EYED EARL is so carefully plotted that, every time I thought I’d predicted the outcome of a situation, I was wrong! The romance is absolutely lovely; Meg and Will’s love grows through respect, mutual attraction, and it blossoms quietly but deeply, and the sex scenes are sensuous and elegantly written. I also liked that the twins are neither monsters nor angels; they’re perfectly normal little girls and essential to the plot. There is also a bit of suspense, which at some point had me scratching my head at the purpose of a certain situation, and I must admit that Ms. Bennett definitely knew where she was going! The (gorgeous!) cover conveys precisely the mood of the book: mostly light-hearted, playful, and delicately exquisite. I also found MY BROWN-EYED EARL a surprisingly quick read: before I knew it, the book was over and not for a second was I ever bored. I’m already looking forward to book 2 of The Wayward Wallflowers series and Beth’s story. Dare I repeat myself? MY BROWN-EYED EARL is a delightful, genuinely charming, and most lovely story! I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I really enjoyed this book but will not continue this series at $7.99 for an e-book. I can buy the paperback cheaper, what's up with that?
Anonymous 10 months ago
Enjoyed the book. Telegraphed a bit much, and there was an abrupt change in her position right at the end with no solid premise. Still a good read.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I can't remember having such a distaste for a character in a romance novel before . Meg was so miserable and contentious , and snapping at perceived insults where none were intended. Why Will fell in love with her is nothing short of a miracle . I fully expect if Mother Teresa had met Meg she would have slapped her. Even though it all worked out in the end, there's just no excuse for thinking such boorish behavior is a good plot line for romance .
Historical_Romance_Lover More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Meg and Will's story. I always love a good reunion story and this one was a pleasure to read. The twins and their antics were an added bonus! I'm really looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series to see how Meg's sisters get their HEA!
Vijetha_Kumar More than 1 year ago
I was given a copy of 'I Dared The Duke' by Anna Bennett to review. And due to my self-torturing (only sometimes!) and self-imposed rule I do not read a book in a series out of order. Hence I had to pick up it's predecessor. And, I'm really glad I did it! At first I was skeptical about picking this book up. Because not only is it a debut novel, but a historical debut. Put those two together and many a times I have found that combination go awry! But Anna Bennett surprised me with this sweet as a candy, well written historical romance. When I started this book, like I said earlier, I was skeptical. I was actually waiting for something to make me not like the book. I was reading on eggshells this one! But, I stand corrected. This was one of the sunniest, cutest historical I have read in a long time. It was not gloomy despite having it's fair share of tragedy. It was rather simple in it's exuberance. We first meet William Ryder, Earl of Castleton. A rake of first order who has recently been thrust a unexpected, unwanted responsibility. When his cousin dies of a riding accident he leaves his twin daughters in the care of Will. Will doesn't know the first thing about caring for children, hence he resolves to find a solution for the problem. And as solution personified enters Miss Margaret Lacey. Meg and Will where neighbours growing up. After a rather unfortunate incident due to meddling fathers they haven't seen eye to eye. But, present circumstances has forced Meg to seek out a job as a governess to aid her uncle. Meg is ready to undergo the humiliating encounter with Will if at the end of the day she can provide for her sisters. Thus begins a dance of unexpected chemistry and dangerous seduction. Will finds Meg and her prideful nature compelling. Never has anyone challenged him like Meg does. She intrigues him and leaves him wanting. similarly for Meg, all the world sees her carefully painted facade of composure, but Will seems to be the only who sees through it and enjoys rattling it. What follows is two lost souls finding their way to each other. What I liked: The pace and tone of the book. It was like a stroll in a nature park, simply satisfying. Diana and Valerie. I do love when there are children in the plot. And these two were so sweet. The Lacey sisters. This book definitely did what it was supposed to do. Intrigue me. I am definitely looking forward to the stories of Beth and Julie. Writing Style. For a debut novel, the author has accomplished a lot. What I could have liked better: Somewhere along the middle I felt the book could have picked up the pace. It was slow and although the end did salvage it, I felt it could have been done better. The tone again. The story was like a straight line. There was rarely any moment that made me hold my breath. It was bland in some places. I would have liked something more exciting! The Voice. One suggestion to Anna Bennet is that she work on the voice of the writing. Historical Romance is a vast field and to be heard the most you need to have a distinguished voice like Julia Quinn, Katherine Ashe, Sabrina Jeffries, Elizabeth Hoyt and Sarah Maclean. Something that will make the work distinguishably hers. Whatever my feeling were in the middle I can surely say I loved this book. I liked Meg and Will and the story. I am also looking forward to Anna Bennett's future works. She has got a lot of potential. I give this book: 4 Stars!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was so happy to see she was going to start a new series with a new pen name. The story was well written and had a good cast of characters. Meg and her sisters are living with their uncle and need money. Meg is off to get a governess job and doesn't realize it is with the man she refused to marry. There is a bit of mystery and danger but it all works out in he end?
wtfareyoureadingFR More than 1 year ago
There has never been a man placed between so many rocks and so many hard places in such a short time-span 1. His mother is demanding that he marry before HER birthday. 2. His cousin dies, leaving him guardianship of 6-year old twin girls. 3. He has given his longtime mistress the boot. In favor of another woman. 4. He has fallen hard and fast for the beautiful and spirited governess that HE hired to instruct the twins. 5. Said governess is also the childhood crush who spurned a betrothal orchestrated by their parents. 6. She, Miss Margaret Lacey, is also...the only woman that he, William Ryder could ever love. Authoress, Anna Bennett, brings a fresh fire, brash banter, and even a bit of wit and whimsy to Regency Romance. In this, the first offering in her Wayward Wallflower series. Leading lady, Margaret Lacey makes quite the splash. As a downtrodden debutante, and the eldest of the "Wilting Wallflowers". Miss Lacey is a woman determined to do whatever she can to reverse the fortunes of herself, her sisters, and her eccentric yet lovable uncle Alistaire, The Viscount Wiltmore. Even if "whatever" means putting herself in the employ of the one man that she once vowed she would... "Sooner shave her head and enter the convent than marry." But you know what they say about beggars being choosers, and with the threat of debtor's prison becoming more of a possibility for her uncle with each day that passes. Margaret Lacey understands that while she may object to marrying The Earl of Castleton, her family's coin poor coffers will be quite welcoming of his money. William Ryder may be all grown up, able to summon the best and brightest beauties of the ton to his bed with nothing more than a look. But he never forgot her. The young, coltish, and free spirited young girl, whom he longed to see every time his father's temperamental tirade would drive him out of the house. Now...after all this time. She's here and she needs him. More to the point however, he and the twins need her. In their lives. In their hearts. In their world. My Brown-Eyed Earl is a story brimming with dilemma, heart, and a ferocity of spirit that makes the story and its characters come more alive for readers with every turn of the page. Though both the tale's leading man and lady circulate within social spheres of immense wealth and privilege; they are possessed of a grit, and drive to live life on their own terms, that readers cant help championing. Further sweetening the ever simmering plot pot. Their tragedy laden past ties, and the equally emotional bonds of their shared concerns for the futures of Will's young twin charges serves to provide a solid emotional playing-field for the two. A playing-field which quickly morphs into a minefield, when weapons of the heart come to bear. It is those weapons of the heart and the heat of the passionate fight, which serves to make this nearly perfect tale of love complete. With both of adult hearts open to the precocious, but unadulterated adoration that Valerie and Diana provide. It is only fitting that the shared desire that they share for each other be brought to the fore...to shine in its own right. In short. If you love your ladies smart and full of snark. Your men soulful and strong. And... your happily SPECIAL. Look no further than My Brown-Eyed Earl
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book for the first..I personally wanted a little more depth and passion. I liked the witty banter. Overall a good read bit I like my books to have more heat and details. There were sex scenes but I personally felt them lacking. I look forward to the next book and hopefully the author adds more chemistry and passion between the characters. Also ended, needed an epilogue.
def618 More than 1 year ago
This is Anna Bennett’s first book and it won’t be the last one of hers that I read. I enjoyed this story very much. You’ll like the hero and heroine, but you’ll lose your heart to the two little girls. Margaret Lacey was at one time engaged to Will Ryder, Earl of Castleton, but called it off for reasons I won’t spoil. After her parents’ tragic death, she and her sisters are penniless and living with their elderly uncle. She must find work and a friend has told her about a governess position, but did not tell her who needed a governess. Will needs a governess for the twins he’s suddenly inherited from his deceased cousin but is not aware of who the applicant is. He just wants someone to deal with the girls as his mother announced her sole wish he marries in the next year, before she’s 50. Living in the same house brings Meg and Will closer, to his mother’s dismay. I don’t like plot spoilers so you should read this as there are some funny and dangerous occurrences. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.
grandmareads102 More than 1 year ago
Miss Margaret Lacey is determined to save her sisters and uncle from debtor's prison. She knows that she needs employment so she plans to become a governess. How hard could it be? If your new employer is Lord Castleton, the situation is impossible. Meg turned down his marriage proposal eight years ago and his pride still smarts. Now he needs her to take care of twin tornados. The girls are his wards and he doesn't know anything about children. Will is a good man in a difficult situation. I liked him for his honor and his wicked sense of humor. Meg is a feisty, stubborn and opinionated. She won't back down. There is chemistry between these two that pulled me in. Their interaction is romantic and humorous. They are perfect for each other. i wanted a HEA, but I was worried about the mysterious stranger who's stalking the girls. I couldn't stop reading My Brown-Eyed Earl. London and its history provide the perfect setting for this romantic adventure. Anna Bennett's characters are likeable and her plot has unexpected twists that took me by surprise. I'm looking forward to the next book in this series (A Wayward Wallflowers Novel). I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
sportochick More than 1 year ago
A brilliant start to a new series! This is not only a love story between two hard headed people but between children and adults who are not related by birth. It is refreshing in it's manner of presentation of different types of family's and that the ones not accepted by society can be impactful, meaningful and loving. The Earl of Castleton won my heart from the start of the book. He is a heart throb who heats up the pages with his self involved "I want what I want attitude". The plot slowly shows the real Will as you read further into the book. The author does a smooth transition in this process causing the reader to become deeply in love with who he really is. I do admire a heroine who may be a wallflower but will always find a way to help her family and others while still standing up for herself. Miss Lacey's attitude is refreshing and to the point throughout the book. She intrigued me as to how she would deal with Will and her feelings. What was interesting about this book is that the reader is involved in not just her story with Will but how she fights to help the twins and teach them how to behave in the world. Her fighting spirit is brilliantly shown in the area of her presence in society that will bring to mind times that the reader may have felt like she did and thus want to cheer her on for being strong. I give this book 5 STARS for showing deep relationships involving love outside the bounds of what society thinks in proper or normal. Voluntary review of Advance Reader Copy via Netgalley
DebDiem More than 1 year ago
My Brown-Eyed Earl is my first book by Anna Bennett but won't be my last. Ms Bennett impressed me with her storytelling abilities and her smooth writing style. Meg and Will's story is packed with drama, humor, action and sizzle. My favorite thing about this book though is Ms Bennett's amazing, well-developed characters. The interaction and dialog were fantastic. I enjoyed reading My Brown-Eyed Earl and look forward to my next book by Anna Bennett. My Brown-Eyed Earl is book 1 of the Wayward Wallflowers Series and can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book that I received from NetGalley.
Bube987 More than 1 year ago
Very good debut novel! Lately I have read a lot of historical romance books, and when I started to read My Brown-Eyed Earl, I was so excited, the first 80 pages were incredible, witty banter, great dialogue, amazing characters, but after the 80 pages, I do not know what happened, somewhere on the way I lost a little bit of my excitement, I think that mystery part wasn't necessary, but regardless of that, this is a very good story, author's writing style is great! Looking forward to read I Dared the Duke :) *Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
TammyS32 More than 1 year ago
This was a good read for me. I liked the story as well as the characters. It was a simple, sweet romance that had its funny moments. The characters were interesting and the story was entertaining. I liked it.
Sissymae1 More than 1 year ago
'My Brown-Eyed Earl' by Anna Bennett is the first book in "The Wayward Wallflowers" series. This is the story of William Ryder, Earl of Castleton and Miss Margaret Lacey 'Meg'. Meg is on of the three sister that are called 'Wayward Wallflowers'. They lost their parents when they were younger and now have been staying with an caring Uncle but he is eccentric. Meg thought to help their family out by find a job. Her friend set her up for an interview that lead her to Will. Will lost someone that was like a brother to him and then on top of that two little girls were dropped off on him that used to be his friend that he lost. Now his mom has went on a about marring and settling down. Next when he goes to hire a governess he finds Meg at the door asking for the job. Meg name was one that in a earlier time was to be his fiance but she turned it down. This was such a enjoyment to read! I can't think this is the first book by this author. I will surly be looking for more from Ms. Bennett along with more from this series!. I received an eARC, from NetGalley and the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
London - 1817 Miss Margaret (Meg) Lacey, age 23, is hoping to find a position as a companion, but her friend is insisting she apply for a governess position to twin 6-year-old girls, Diana and Valerie. Meg and her two younger sisters have been cared for by their Uncle Alistair after the deaths of their parents 8 years ago. However, she realizes that her uncle’s finances are in bad shape and she needs to find a way to earn money. The man Meg is applying to for the position is none other than William Ryder, the Earl of Castleton. Lord Castleton is the man her parents had wanted her to marry. At the time, she was only 15 and was not interested in marriage at all and ended up insulting him. Fighting a hangover, William is ready to interview the prospective governess. Why is he hungover? His mother has just requested that he marry within a year. William offers Meg the position with good pay. Although she doesn’t really feel qualified to teach the girls, she work hard to make sure she is doing a good job. The girls’ mother was the mistress to his recently deceased friend. She dumped them on William because she does not want to keep them. If he didn’t take them, she would have put them in an orphanage. Meg enjoys working with the girls even though they can be rather trying at times. The girls develop a fondness for her too. As Meg and William spend more time together, a spark ignites that turns into heated desire. This is a good book with a great plot and I enjoyed it immensely. There is a bit of suspense added to the story that will keep the reader guessing and drawing them deeper into the story. Do grab a copy of the book. I think you will truly enjoy it. Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
William Ryder, Earl of Castleton and Margaret “Meg” Lacey tap dance around one another after she takes up her position as governess of twin girls he has become guardian of. They knew one another slightly in their youth and had a few encounters in the past that both would like to forget. Meg and Will are drawn to one another and become devoted to the twins as they spend time with them and together. There is a bad guy to deal with, an ex-mistress, a mad uncle, a young woman who wants Will, Will’s interfering mother, an almost kidnapping and a lot going on through the story. Meg’s sisters will no doubt star in the next two books of this series as the three sisters are known in society as the Wayward Wallflowers. If you can discard the idea of a young woman who has made her debut in society being able to become a governess for a titled bachelor without scandal ensuing then have a rather torrid relationship with him under his roof without worrying about pregnancy or her reputation and believe that two people could fall madly in love in a matter of weeks then this might be a book you will enjoy. The writing is well done and the story kept me interested throughout. I would like to know more about Meg’s friend Charlotte and wonder if she will have her story told at some point in the future. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.