Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess began Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.
I received a complimentary copy of “The Earl’s Winning Wager” direct from the author Jen geigle Johnson in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
I had the lovely opportunity to read the first novel in this series which was “The Duke’s Second Chance” late last year wherein I found Ms Johnson’s writing style to be quite lovely for those of us who are seeking INSPY Romances set in the Regency. As a Romance reader – I regularly move between the Regency & Victorian eras – whether I am reading mainstream and/or INSPY.
Let’s look back and find out what stood out to me as I first ‘met’ this series:
It isn’t easy to find a writer who can tap into that emotionally wrecking moment of personal loss – to find a way to entreat inside the gutting realisation that you’ve just lost the love of your life and to write it so eloquently within that static moment of disbelief – I found the way in which Johnson handled Gerald’s intense grief and the shocking blow it took on his soul to be beyond realistic because it is the moment he was in a heightened state of euphoria – the expectations of joyful celebration on the cusp of his spirit; his heart was not prepared for the news the doctor had to reveal to him and thus, his reactions to this newbourne child was one I felt keenly realistic to how Johnson presented his reaction. You cannot even begin to judge his words nor his responses because how can anyone fully understand the moment of that kind of loss? It would take time to heal and further time to resolve what is unthinkable to have happened. I felt Johnson excelled in this moment of hypersensitive awareness of a husband’s reaction and of a father’s unwillingness to see the positive out of the shock of despair.
As gentle as a cloud Johnson moved us from the point of loss into a teahouse – a place where you expect the serenity of time to drift against tea leaves and conversations but for Gerald this would mark the moment he would accept his heart needed to heal. I was thankful the route Johnson took to show how Gerald was making progress – the slowness of his healing and the purposeful intention he still had to honour his wife but with the unfortunate leaning towards denouncing his child. It was here in an unexpected place such as a teahouse where you first see how someone can interact with a grieving widower in such a way to break through that tide of anguished grief. His family and even Morley were just tip-toeing round him to the point of allowing him to wallow without letting him face what he needed to face head-on. This woman named Amelia was touching the cornerstones of his soul, allowing his mind to catch-up with his grief and for his spirit to allow someone else to linger over the words he needed to say even if he wasn’t the best at accepting the responses they would receive. It was a marked moment for Gerald and one I felt was written with the same earnest honesty as the death scene of his wife.
The confidence Morley shares with Amelia was one of my favourite scenes because it shows the interesting way a commoner can have a slight influence on the ton but also how the ton are not entirely shunning of the commoners! Johnson intermixed the social standings of her characters in such a way as to allow for a meet-cute situation to occur but in a unique fashion of interference. She built off that first meeting with an impromptu reaction on Amelia’s part and when it came time to respond to that obstacle, it was Morley who interfered next on the Duke’s behalf. I gathered Morley was the character who held the Duke’s conscience in his heart and as his best mate, attempted to steer Gerald on a course the Duke would lateron not regret. In that, Johnson held firm to the Regency – the traditions and the social classes notwithstanding but also the little ways in which even in the Regency, rules can become broken if will was fiercely strong as fire!
Such confounding ire to have in a dust-up just when you are attempting to give your best of impressions – at least, this is how I found Lady Rochester to be in front of Gerald! She was such a wretched woman who had her own issues to wrought out in front of him that I am uncertain if even Morley could’ve protected him from this disgrace if he had known first-hand of her nature! I admit, Johnson played the scene so dearly well – it was like I had mentioned previously, a play before your eyes as if the characters were on stage, taking their queues and entertaining you with a dramatic romance set in the Regency! This woman much to her ails was the fitting fool to besiege an audience with her lunacy but more to the point, half the time you’re observing her you’d think she was the one with the goose up her sleeve in an ill-attempt to pool the wool over the Duke’s eyes and to justify herself in sitting herself on a newly devised throne!
There is such a quick pacing of this story – before you even realise it you’ve reached the ending and part of the ending involves the curiously inherited sisters which I felt still have a place in the series! Finding out Lord Morley’s story is the sequel to The Duke’s Second Chance is rather fittingly brilliant because his story is the one I was most curious about seeing expanded! Anyone who would go to such lengths as himself to not just protect but aide a friend like Gerald deserves to have more of his own story told! Not to mention perhaps a bit of dashing happiness cast his way?
Johnson has written a wonderfully dramatic romantic comedy set in the Regency as at first I thought it was mostly a drama but in the end, it had such beautiful strokes of comedy which turnt it quickly into a dramedy! Laughs. You get swept into the lives of Amelia and Gerald; their slow-burning romance, the friendship which sparks something more between them and the world outside their rendezvous is equally fetching when you factor in his Mum and sister, her father and the extended relations of her grandparents. Everyone rounds out this feast of relationships and follies to be a wicked good reading for the romance reader who is seeking a lightly spun Sweet Romance with a touch of INSPY to guide them through the deeper context of the scenes!
-quoted from my review of The Duke’s Second Chance
The Earl's Winning Wager
Subtitle: Lords for the Sisters of Sussex
by Jen Geigle Johnson
Source: Author via Singing Librarian Book Tours
Lord Morley's life will change forever when he wins a game of cards
and a family of sisters to go along with it.
Miss Standish in none too pleased to have become the responsibility of yet another Lord, even if he is full of charm and goodness. Her responsibilities are to her sisters first.
With the repairs on the castle moving forward nicely and concerted efforts in a season in Bath made to find suitors for them all, Miss Standish and Lord Morley must determine where duty stops and matters of the heart take over.
Read this warm tale of family, sisters, loyalty and love to get a huge dose of the best part of a regency romance fans of Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer would enjoy.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: Author Interview Jen Geigle Johnson (Regency House Party), The Duke's Second Chance
Also in this series: The Duke's Second Chance
Published by Self Published
on 22nd April, 2020
Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback
This is a Self-Published Novel.
Formats Available: Trade paperback and ebook
The Lords for the Sisters of Sussex series:
The Duke’s Second Chance (book one)
The Earl’s Winning Wager (book two)
Her Lady’s Whims and Fancies (book three)
← a Digital First Release August 2020!
Suitors for the Proper Miss (book four)
Pining for Lord Lockhart (book five)
The Foibles and Follies of Miss Grace (book six)
Converse via: #LordsForSistersOfSussex as well as #INSPYRomance
#INSPY or #CleanRomance + #HistRom & #Regency or #RegencyRomance
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: