Review: The Earl's Secret Passion (Scandals of Scarcliffe Hall #1) by Gemma Blackwood


Print Length: 218 pages
Publisher: Gemma Blackwood (August 25, 2018)

From Two warring families. One forbidden love.

Lady Cecily Balfour was always taught that the Hartley men are mad, bad and dangerous to know. When she meets Robert Hartley, Earl of Scarcliffe, she makes a few additions to that list:

Stubborn. Infuriating. Handsome. Charming. Tempting.

Society expects Cecily to make an advantageous match of her father’s choosing. What can she do now that her own choice is a man she is expressly forbidden to see?

The Earl of Scarcliffe enjoys hunting, drinking, billiards, and bachelordom. Love does not feature on his list of requirements. Especially for a woman with a stubborn streak a mile wide and a penchant for riding off on his favourite stallion. And if that same woman is a Balfour? Not a chance!

But Cecily just happens to have a pair of striking blue eyes, a taste for adventure and a rapier-sharp sense of humour…

Robert’s heart is in as much danger as his head will be if they are caught together.

When Robert and Cecily defy their powerful families for love, what will they have to sacrifice in return?


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

On the whole this was a good, clean historical romance with just a dash of mystery thrown in. In my opinion, the mystery was the best part of the story, although it didn't quite make sense why it had kept the families at odds for so long. Anyone could see that both of the families  stories didn't quite make  sense. Why would one of Cecily's ancestor's kidnap one of Robert's when she was supposedly in love with someone else? Especially when the families had been friends up until that point. 

Speaking to the feud, I found the reconciliation between their father's to be a bit unbelievable considering the depth (and the length) of their hatred for one another. I would have liked to have  seen more from that particular plot-line (especially Cecily showing Robert's father the portrait she had uncovered and returned as well as the painter of said portrait having a meeting with them as well). 

That being said, I did enjoy the author's take on the forbidden lovers troupe. I wish there would have been more of a chance to watch these two fall in love, as it seemed to go from them being enemies to being in love awfully quickly. It made it feel like it wasn't actually love, but more a case of wanting what they knew they weren't supposed to have. 

                                                     The Earl's Secret Passion is available from
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