Monday, February 6, 2023

The Reluctant Baronet - Review

The Reluctant Baronet

By: Elizabeth Watkins

Expected Publication: March 7th 2023 by Covenant Communications

? pages

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

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Goodreads description--When faced with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Scottish chemist Russell Parkinson finds himself thrust into a role he has never wanted: that of British aristocrat. Bearing his new title of baronet, Sir Russell circulates among the ton for the sole purpose of improving Society and saving lives. His plan is moving forward—but he did not anticipate meeting the charming Selina Clifton.

Selina is a survivor. She battled smallpox and won, her scarred beauty a testament to her strength. But she has no idea how she will survive what is now required of her. With her family’s estate in jeopardy, it is up to Selina to marry and produce an heir. She agrees to enter into a courtship with a gentleman deemed eligible but is less than smitten with him. When handsome new baronet Russell arrives in London, she is immediately swept up in their easy camaraderie. But as their feelings deepen, the complicated tangle of forbidden love that ensues will threaten friendships and futures—everything they’ve fought to protect.

The Reluctant Baronet begins with Selina in need of marrying and producing a male heir to pass her family estate down to. She has a cousin interested in the estate who it will pass to if she doesn't marry or have any male children to pass it down to instead. The problem is that her cousin wants to turn the property into hunting land, if I remember correctly. Selina must marry someone who will ensure the safety of the estate and the tenants. She has received an offer to court from someone via letter, but she doesn't know the gentleman in person and when she finally meets him he keeps everything surface level and appears to worry more about his terrible sense in fashion than anything else.

All isn't as it appears to be with Matthew. There's more to his story than meets the eye. I won't discuss things too much so as to not ruin them for potential readers.

About the same time that Selina is introduced to Matthew, she's also introduced to Russell. He is a scientist. He's studied the effects of mercury poisoning in people. Mercury was commonly used in the making of beaver hats which was a popular item of male clothing in this time period. He has a few other items that he's invented and improved during his research. And he proves instrumental in solving the main mystery and conflict of this story. Of course, he meets Selina and falls in love with her. Things can't be completely simple even though it seemed that these two would be awarded their happily ever after pretty quickly.

The Reluctant Baronet included several pieces of history in the story. Small pox, vaccines, the practice of medical bleeding, mercury poisoning, syphilis and more. I usually enjoy when real history is included like this within historical fiction as long as the relationships are the true focus of the story. And The Reluctant Baronet did that well.

Favorite quote:

-“Then, summon up your bravest demeanor, my friend. No woman worth her salt would marry a coward, no matter what his title. The look in her eyes when you begin to broach the subject should tell you everything you need to know.”

I enjoyed The Reluctant Baronet. The main story, the mystery, the societal strictures, the relationships, the side characters, and the real history of the time all worked together to make an exceptional book. I will be looking for more books by Elizabeth W Watkins. The Reluctant Baronet gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Reluctant Baronet? What did you think? Let me know!

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