To Win a Viscount by Frances Fowlkes
Series: The Daughters of Amhurst #2
Also in this series: The Earl's New Bride, The Gentleman's Promise
Publication Date: July 25th 2016
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To gain a certain marquess's notice, Lady Albina Beauchamp aims to win the derby. What she hadn't planned for is the price handsome Mr. Edmund White asks in payment to train her to race: each lesson for a kiss.
A first place finish isn't the only thing worth racing for.
Lady Albina Beauchamp is in love with the Marquess of Satterfield. Unfortunately, his only interest is in horses, and doesn't know she exists. But when the marquess confesses he will bestow his undying admiration on the jockey racing the winning horse at Emberton Derby, Albina sets out to win his affections by training to race.
Mr. Edmund White is a master groomsmen for the Earl of Amhurst in line for a viscountcy, should he abandon his passion for horses and become a respectable sheep owner. But horses are his love--until he meets Lady Albina and her silly notions of racing. When she affirms she will enter the derby with or without his assistance, Edmund not only instructs his student in racing, but seduction as well.
For Albina, a first place finish isn't the only thing at stake. She must decide whether to take her place in society...or follow her heart and love a groom.
WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
So Albina thinks herself in love with a Marquess who can’t seem to give her the time of day. She liked him in book one but he only had eyes for her sister Henrietta – and it seems even though she’s now married he still has eyes only for Henrietta. Albina overhears the Marquess talking about an upcoming horse race that he will be entering his horse in. He knows that Albina’s brother-in-law, the Earl of Amhurst, will be entering a horse as well. When the Marquess states that he will “greatly admire” both the horse and the jockey who wins the Emberton race Albina knows what she has to do. She has to enter Emberton as a jockey – riding her brother-in-law’s horse and not have anyone be the wiser. She begs her sister and her cousin to ask their husbands to let her do this but when they do ask the men give an emphatic no.
Quite frankly I should have stopped reading at that point. I mean, what the everloving hell does this woman thinks she’s doing? Does she really think that this Marquess who doesn’t even see her will want to marry her because she’s made a spectacle of herself being a jockey? (Not that I think women can’t be jockey’s (or couldn’t back then) but they would have been so ridiculed for it and it would raise quite a scandal. Anyway I kept reading…
Albina tries to take one of the Earl’s horses out of the stables and is stopped by the head groom, Mr. White – Edmund. He’s been instructed that no one will ride the horse but himself, the jockey or the Earl. She somehow talks him into teaching her to ride properly so that she can win the race and he does…every morning for six weeks. His payment? He gets a kiss from her after each lesson. Now unbeknownst to Albina the Earl and her cousin’s husband, the Duke of Waverly who actually runs Emberton, talks to Edmund and asks if he thinks she can really win the race. Edmund says yes and the Earl and Duke agree to let her continue and enter the race.
We all know what happens with Edmund because this is a romance – of course she falls in love with him (and forgets the Marquess, thank God) and really, he’s a very nice guy who actually could be a viscount if he accepted his uncle’s ridiculous conditions which include never working with horses again. Completely unacceptable. I really liked him and he was the best part of the book. Albina wants to be with Edmund and doesn’t care that he’s a groom but they are eventually separated when the information comes out. Can they ever be together?
So that’s the gist of the book. There are obviously other things that happen – I’m not telling you the entire book by far. The whole end of the book is when I had an even bigger issue with the book. When I should have been feeling Albina and Edmund’s love and longing for each other so deeply all I could be was pissed off. Remember the Earl and the Duke telling Edmund to allow Albina to race? After she’s actually raced they call her in and act like they had no idea about her scheme and berate her up one side and down the other and put her to tears. I was so horrified by the way they were treating her when they were the ones that told Edmund to teach her. I just don’t understand why they couldn’t have kept it all a secret from everyone else and given her a little kudos on a job well done in private. Would that have been too much to ask? Apparently it was. I really liked the Earl from the previous book but after reading this oneI really don’t like him at all. What an ass! I’m sure that’s the way men treated women all the time back then but ugh! I don’t want to read about men being like that in my romance novels!!
Ok, I’m calm now (not). So those are my thoughts on the book. I really like Fowlkes’ writing but this story was not to my liking. It did have more moments of good than bad but I couldn’t get over Albina’s decision to race and since that was the whole basis of the book well…there ya go. I am looking forward to Sarah’s book as she’s much more level-headed than her twin Albina. I’m crossing my fingers that there won’t be any crazy hair-brained schemes to get a man to notice her in that one.
Rating: 3 out of 5
(The story gets a 1 star rating and the writing gets 2 stars.)