The Gypsy Earl by jjares []
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Thunder & roses

by Mary Jo Putney

  Print book : Fiction

The Gypsy Earl   (2017-02-22)


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by jjares

If you are looking for a different kind of book, this one with a Gypsy earl might fit the bill. This book is unique in so many ways; I can't remember reading a romance that spent this much time explaining the Romany side of life. This story takes place in a Welsh community, not the usual English countryside. Mining is an important part of the plot.

Nicolas, the Gypsy Earl, is a fascinating mix of both sides of his family tree. Bitter from an awful first marriage, Nicolas also has a tortured relationship with his grandfather. Nicolas has traveled the world and has some interesting souvenirs from his time abroad. Nicolas' personality is unique in that he lacks (generally) the dour outlook of many Regency heroes. He's interesting to watch because he's such a complex man.

Clare is a Methodist teacher, daughter of a devout minister to the community. At first look, Clare and Nicolas have nothing in common. However, the author's skill soon shows that to be a false assumption. Clare comes to the Earl asking for his help with the serious problems at the local mines. The earl owns them but has leased them to an old friend, Lord Michael Kenyon. However, Lord Michael hasn't been taking care of the mines and turned over their care to another, less caring man.

The reader senses the brooding anger of Nicolas when he demands something in return for his help; he wants Clare to live in his house for three months. Now, this is absolutely shocking; Clare will lose her reputation if she does this -- even if nothing happens between the couple. But Clare's father was killed in a mine, and she desperately wants to save the other workers. She decides that her friends will know her true character and not be swayed by her residence in the Earl's home -- and the others won't matter.

At first blush, Clare seems perfect. It doesn't take long to see that Clare's spiritual life is not what she wants it to be. It is remarkable to see Clare's relationship with God changing while with the unchurched Nicolas. This is a subplot that really shows the author's deft hand.

This is a complex and fascinating study of life among Welsh miners. They take their lives in their hands each day they descend into the mines for another day of work.

There is so much more to this book; I hope I've given you a taste of why I think it is a remarkable tale.

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