Review: Condemned & Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife

Title: Condemned & Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife
Author: Bree Wolf
Publisher: WOLF Publishing
Release Date: August 2018
Length: 310 pages
Series?: Love’s Second Chance: Tales of Damsels and Knights #3
Genre: Historical, Romance

A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son. And a chance encounter on the high seas.

Twelve years ago, Lady Silcox fled England with her six-year-old daughter Violet to spare her the life she herself had been forced into: an arranged marriage to an older man.

Today, VIOLET WINTERS is a grown woman sailing the seas on her French stepfather’s privateer, dreaming of commandeering a ship of her own. However, when she stumbles upon a betrothal announcement of the man she was set to marry, Violet cannot help but feel honour-bound to protect the woman who had been forced to take her place. Fortune smiles on Violet and delivers an English lord into her hands – and with him the chance to return to England unrecognised.

OLIVER CORNELL, EARL OF CULLINGWOOD, is trapped in a life he abhors. Not seen as a son, but merely an heir, he dreams of sailing the seas, the epitome of freedom. By sheer happenstance, Oliver ends up on a merchant vessel, which is promptly boarded by a French privateer. On board the Chevalier Noir, Oliver meets the captain’s daughter, a woman unlike any other he has ever met. Utterly fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, he does not hesitate to offer his assistance when Violet finds herself in need of a guide to London’s upper society.

Reveling in his first taste of adventure, Oliver poses as her husband…only to realise before long that posing as her husband will not be good enough. Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after? Or is their love doomed to fail?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

Fleeing a loveless, almost abusive marriage, Lady Silcox sets to protect her daughter, Violet. How could her own husband bethrow their six year old to his elderly best friend? He would be ancient once Violet came of age!

That was a dozen years ago and everyone believes the note left behind claiming Lady Silcox drown her daughter and herself at sea.

Now, Lady Silcox is happily installed in France, the wife of a notorious pirate privateer. The man who leads the infamous Chevalier Noir.

Now an adult, Violet sails with her stepfather as part of the crew, dreaming of being captain of her own ship one day soon. But she is shaken when she reads an announcement in the paper – the man she was betrothed to as a child is now marrying another (presumably) young woman. Violet is dead-set on mending this mistake caused by her and her mother’s disappearance. Violet’s life creed is family above all else. She must do this.

How to sneak into England undetected and unknown? Turns out, an English earl falls into their hands at sea. While not practical or pragmatic, a plan is hatched to return Oliver Cornell to England and Violet will use that as her cover to “sneak” into England, gather intel, and save this doomed lady.

Oliver hates his life. He has never been seen as a child, loved, by his father. He is only an heir with responsibilities and duties to uphold. He longs for his own path. When he sees this adventurous determination in Violet, and he wants his own adventure. So he decides to involve himself in this plan. He offers Violet the way “in” to society: he will pose as her husband and also save his family the embarrassment of being ransomed – and his father’s ultimate ire and hate.

I enjoyed this installment in the series quite a bit. I think ever since reading Bloody Jack as a pre-teen I have fallen in love with pirates, ships, and the open sea. So I look forward to Henri’s book!

But there were some things that were extremely improbable: I don’t think Violet’s father would have allowed her to traipse off to England and and pretend to be married…to a stranger. I also don’t find it probable that he would support this crazy venture of hers at all – sending her to England to “save” some strange woman they knew literally nothing about. How? How was she supposed to “save” this woman from this impending marriage? He knows the rules of society. What would she do? Murder the man? Kidnap the woman? You don’t just run into a country you are at war with and not have a solution that will work.

There was definitely adventure and honor rolled up in this story. There was quite a bit to the plot, which I think will carry over into Henri’s book.


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