“Marriage is good for no woman, Clarice. It binds her securely to a master as chains, and silences her voice as surely as if she had a gag stuffed between her lips. Why should I want that? I have been blessed with an affectionate, negligent father and am free to do mostly as I wish, with the resources to do it. I have no desire to subject myself to a potentially harsher overlord. I have work yet to do—so much work that I haven’t time to stand here and argue this with you.”
Katharine Ashe’s descriptive writing style shines in The Earl, the second installment in the Devil’s Duke Series. It is an elegantly written opposites attract love story which features suspense, fabulous dialogue, romance and history. I have been waiting for this story for several years and I was not disappointed! Lady Justice writes about social reform in her pamphlets. She and Peregrine are fierce political opponents who have appeared throughout Ms. Ashe’s Falcon Club series. The Falcon Club’s mission was to find missing people and return them. Lady Justice’s sister has been missing for seven months and she reluctantly turns to her rival Peregrine for assistance.
Lady Justice receives a note from Scotland which states that her sister is alive. She dismisses Peregrine and decides to find her sister on her own. Peregrine and Lady Justice meet unexpectedly at an inn in Scotland where they are mistaken for a pair of felons who have murdered a local woman. Outnumbered, they leave the inn on horseback. The couple is pursued from village to village. Lady Justice has no choice but to follow Peregrine. The trip through the Scottish countryside parallels the couple’s personal journey. To outsmart the people who are intent on capturing them, they must learn to trust and rely on each other. I was so immersed in the couple’s travels, that I felt that I was walking through the rugged countryside, down the puddle filled country roads and up the unforgiving mountainside with them.
Katharine Ashe creates characters who have purpose. Lady Justice and Peregrine are imperfect but, are perfect for each other. Both are strong willed and determined and these traits enable them to survive their ordeal. Ms. Ashe is not afraid to portray characters that appear to be strong but, in fact, are emotionally vulnerable. Lady Justice’s pamphlets show the importance and the value of the written word. The letters speak of social injustices, political reform and woman’s rights important topics in 1822 and in 2016. At first, the pairing of this couple surprised me. As I became immersed in the novel, I wanted them to elude the men who were chasing them and fall in love. The conclusion to The Earl was splendidly crafted–and made me cry-one person’s voice can make a difference!
Reviewer’s note: As a longtime Falcon Club reader, I chose not reveal the identities of Lady Justice and Peregrine in my review.