Community standards certainly held sway in the Regency period, the setting for the effervescent How to Engage an Earl by Kathryn Caskie, the second in a charming trilogy about three sisters. Anne Royle believes she is the dullest woman around why else would she be treated as though she were invisible? Too bad she can't really be invisible, for she's found in a compromising position with the notorious rake the Earl of MacLaren with all of London's best looking on. There's only one solution: an instant betrothal, which Anne assumes they'll nullify once the hubbub dies down. MacLaren has other ideas one of which is to prove that a rake can be made a gentleman. As the pair begins to genuinely fall in love, the complicated secrets of a generation past threaten to steal away the possibility of happiness. The plot has refreshing twists, and the characters are a fine lot, but it is Caskie's clever writing that makes How to Engage an Earl such a sweet escape.

Barbara Samuel has written more than 30 novels. She blogs regularly about books, food and travel at

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