Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A tale set in Stuart England, where the king’s life depends on his most loyal of subjects.
Anthony Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, delights in his reputation as a charming rogue. Life is never quiet at the court of King James I, especially with his good friend and secret lover, Sebastian Hewel, by his side. As an actor with the celebrated King’s Men, Sebastian has his own admirers, but neither man has eyes for anyone else.
When a plot against His Majesty is uncovered it threatens Anthony and Sebastian’s charmed lives, and they are dragged into the political intrigue and the race to save the king from danger. Fear that a traitor is linked to the King’s Men leaves Sebastian and Anthony with no choice but to stage a very public dissolution of their friendship, so Anthony can be free to be the patron of a new rising actor, and Sebastian can be the prodigy of another noble.
It is a dangerous game they are playing to expose the plotters and still find a way to meet in secret, as Anthony is adamant that they will not sacrifice the love they have fought so hard to win. They will do whatever it takes to protect the king’s life, and their commitment to each other.
I have loved this couple from the start of their relationship. That was Rebecca Cohen’s The Actor and the Earl, the first story in the The Crofton Chronicles. That series was told from Sebastian’s pov and actually stretched through their lineage into the modern day Crofton Hall. It is a terrific series, one I rec to anyone who adores M/M historical romance.
I had thought that Rebecca Cohen was finished with the Croftons, the series over. But with the release of this new story, the author has also started a new series as well. This time told from Anthony’s perspective and what a joy and entertaining ride it is.
Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen picks up after the events of Forever Hold His Peace (The Crofton Chronicles #3). You don’t have to have read that story as the author fills in all the details nicely here. But if you have, this feels like coming home again and your fingers will itch to go back and pick up the other series as a foundation. Sebastian is treading the boards as a popular and extremely successful actor of the day, with his ex brother in law Anthony as his patron. It’s again trying times to disguise their true relationship as lovers behind this masquerade but they are taking precautions and Anthony’s new engagement to Lady Sarah (which also shields her love for her maid Beth) will also help hide them.
Then a plan to kill King James by a Scottish insurgency intent on returning Catholicism and a far different reign to England comes to light and Anthony and Sebastian’s assistance is needed.
What makes this novel so enjoyable is that not only are the characters so well drawn but that the author has done her research for the time period and it all flows together so beautifully. The plays, the cloths, the court, the politics and intrigue. It all comes together in high romance, suspense, and no little amount of anxiety at times over the safety of our main couple. And their happiness!
If you have read the other three books that make up their wild beginning story and path towards love and a real relationship, you can more readily appreciate the stage Anthony and Sebastian are at here in their lives. If you haven’t, I have listed them for you below. They are well worth reading before you get to this one, trust me because they are the foundation story for this couple.
Anthony, Earl of Crofton by Rebecca Cohen ended just as I hoped after such a thrilling adventure for them both. I can’t wait to see what the next installment brings. It will sure be one of great romance, high adventure, more than a little suspense and a love that lasted through more turmoils and troubles than anyone could expect.
The story is fast paced, sexy, fun, and so well written that it just flies by. You will definitely want more once it’s finished. I highly recommend reading all the Crofton stories as I love them all, including this one.
Cover art: Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Designs. Well, I would have thought Anthony would be one with a little less swagger but then again maybe not.
Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 25th 2019
Edition Language English
The Crofton Chronicles Series – Anthony and Sebastian from Sebastian’s pov:
Forever Hold His Peace (this is where Anthony, Earl of Crofton picks up)