Quickie Review: The Earl Who Played With Fire – Sara Ramsey

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A woman courting ruin…

No one would suspect prim, proper Prudence Etchingham of lusting after her best friend’s brother. Nor would anyone guess that she’s responsible for dozens of the best forgeries in London’s antiquities markets. But if her love for Alex is doomed to fail, she must raise enough money to escape the marriage mart. She just needs one last, daring forgery to set herself up for life…

A man evading disaster…

Alex Staunton, the rich Earl of Salford, lives a charmed existence. No one knows that he’s dangerously attracted to his sister’s best friend. Nor has he revealed that he suffers from an ancient curse — one that has given him everything, but prevents him from marrying the woman of his dreams. But when an enemy from his past takes an unseemly interest in Prudence’s future, Alex must find a way to break the curse…or risk losing her forever.

A love they’re destined for…

Every seductive encounter brings them closer together — but their secret, smoldering desires will inevitably burn them. And when Prudence’s illicit forgery collides with Alex’s desperate search, more than their hearts are at stake. Can they break Alex’s curse and save Prudence from her unwanted suitor? Or will their love become a weapon that will destroy them both?

Oh, how I’ve waited for this book!  Prudence and Alex have danced around each other for quite a while, and as this book opens, we discover that the unrequited love we’ve felt one on side was not so one-sided after all.

To be completely honest, I’m a little uncertain as to how I feel about this book.  There is a light paranormal aspect that I wasn’t really expecting, and while it was fun and interesting, it also led to some scenes where I wanted to just reach through the pages and shake both of them.

Though I think that this series would be better read in order, the author did a lovely job of making it stand on its own. As you can imagine, I read so many books that it’s sometimes a bit difficult for me to keep series and storylines straight when picking up a book that is part of an established story arc. As such, I find it immensely helpful when authors sneak in little reminders and hints about the characters and their relationships, as well as little references to what happened in prior books — Ms. Ramsey did an excellent job of this without bogging the story down.

There was also a lovely amount of humor in this book, with the other characters both proving their loyalty and taking unholy delight in Alex’s predicaments at times.

It was also great to see a different side to Prudence’s mother — a mother who has thus far browbeaten her and impressed upon her the need to marry well without regard to her own happiness.

I confess I’m actually a little disappointed that this is the last book in the series, and the possibility that we won’t actually get a story about Thorington. For a villain, he was actually rather sympathetic towards the end, and I for one would love to read more about him.

Overall, this was a charming end to what has been a wonderful series. I’m still a little unsure of my feelings about the curse itself, but the lovely chemistry, steam, and angst more than made up for any of my misgivings.


A very solid 4/5 Stars


  1. Posted January 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for the lovely review! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the series – seeing this in my twitter feed this morning made my day :)

    I usually don’t comment on reviews (since I’m supposed to pretend that I don’t read them, which is clearly a lie), but I wanted you to know that I kind of fell for Thorington as well. So he’s the hero of the first book of my next series – DUKE OF THORNS should be out later this spring. I’ll keep you posted!
    Sara Ramsey recently posted..The Earl Who Played With Fire release and giveawayMy Profile

  2. denise
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    I remember reading a teaser a while back and it sounded delicious!

  3. Posted January 15, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    @Sara — Ahhh! That’s exciting!! I’d wondered about that (AFTER I’d scheduled this post of course), and I’m thrilled we get more of Thorington! You did an excellent job of making him a complete villain and yet still sympathetic. :)

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