Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Andrew Cardwell is a man driven by duty to his country and to his family. After the death of his uncle, he’s determined to provide security and stability for his family as the new Viscount Cardwell—even if that means marrying and producing an heir. Surprising himself, Andrew decides to sponsor a young artist named Jeremy for the season, to help him find a patron. What he doesn’t anticipate is how well Jeremy fits in his bed…and his life.
Jeremy Leighton knows what it’s like to be a disappointment. The only son of a vicar, he’s refused to follow the path his father set for him, choosing his passion for art, instead. He accepts Andrew’s proposal, hoping to prove to his father—and himself—that he can succeed as an artist. After spending time with Andrew in and out of bed, Jeremy struggles not to fall for the damaged viscount, knowing the season will likely end in Andrew’s engagement.
Between a meddling cousin, a widow on the hunt for a new husband, and their own doubts about the relationship, how can Andrew and Jeremy shed the expectations of others to find true happiness?
After finishing The Viscount and the Artist (The Eccentrics #1) by Alyson Pearce I found I had mixed reactions to the story I had just concluded. My first overall impression is that this was an enjoyable read. The characters had just enough layers to them to make them interesting, the plot long and with enough obstacles thrown about to keep a reader wondering about Jeremy and Andrew’s future (such as it could be in those times) and the secondary cast supportive and fun.
Yes, I enjoyed this story. I like historical romances. I like them more when you get a feel for the times and cultural milestones in a story than one that pays lip service to the fact the the author says its a historical novel. So where on the line does The Viscount and the Artist fit in? Somewhere in the middle I’d say. The dialog and conversations seem almost a little too modern in places while the author’s got Andrew recovering from the Battle of Barossa in 1811, the Peninsula, which is right. The story bounces from spot on historical accuracy where the author’s research shows to areas in the plot, even at the beginning, where a Rector’s son doesn’t go fleeing from the advance’s of a Sodomite but agrees to move in (with his father’s unknowing approval) with him asap, that just astonish. I wish I could say Pearce made a case for that with her writing but in my opinion, the connection between the two men arrives later.
Much is made of Andrew’s inability to move forward from his PTSD and the loss of another lover. I think its handled well but it goes on so long that the effect is to leave both the reader and Jeremy dangling at loose ends at the middle of the story for far too long a time. For a while my attention started to wander and then the Widow arrived. That brought back the idea that Andrew was the last of his line and what was going to happen to his family estate and so on. That was a hugely important question back then when women were dependent upon relatives for their well being as well as their families futures. Bringing in his cousins made that real and believable. Nice touch.
More was to come, a villain, more angst, and a comeuppance or two. You expect those in historical novels. They work here.
The HFN seemed as good as the times would allow. It was a nice touch. I enjoyed the idea of their future together even if I don’t think I found it very plausible given the times. Although I’m not sure what other explanation the author could have arrived at. So I’ll settle for the one she did leave us with. It was enjoyable, I was happy along with the men. It worked out well.
I think this was a first story for this author. If so, I look forward to seeing what else she’s going to have to author for us.
Cover art is lovely and works for this story.
Published August 26th 2016 by Alyson Pearce
Original TitleThe Viscount and the Artist
SeriesThe Eccentrics #1