In the third installment of the Serendipity and Secrets Series, Erica Vetsch continues her sweeping saga with The Indebted Earl. (My reviews of the other two in the series: The Lost Lieutenant and The Gentleman Spy.)
Vetsch introduces us to a new tale of a vivid and resplendent Regency Era, transporting us to a time of Dukes, Earls and a life, for those of the aristocracy, of relative ease, except. . . when war, duty and commitments significantly interfere.
After Lady Sophia (Sophie) Haverly receives word her fiancé, Major Richardson, died in the Napoleonic war, she decides to continue caring for his mother, Mamie.
Captain Charles Wyvern travels to visit both Sophie and Mamie to fulfill what he feels is a debt he owes to his best friend, Major Rich Richardson. Little does he realize what he is getting into.
I had an easy time caring for the main characters as they all were so relatable, compassionate and truly likable. The characters face innumerable grave and daunting challenges with courage, resilience and determination.
The story is bursting with melodrama of the comedic and tragic type. Vetsch also incorporates Biblical themes, though not in a pressuring way. The Indebted Earl provides the reader with interludes of being transported to a different time and place.
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 fiancée 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.