I read the first book in her Infamous Somerton series, An Artful Seduction, which was charming and hard to put down. The characters were likeable, and the plot was fresh. The author carries this ability into the second book, Real Earls Break the Rules, though to a lesser degree.
Amelia Somerton is the middle sister in a family of three girls whose father was an art forger. She is a gifted painter, but previously dabbled in forgery herself to pay the bills. Now that the oldest sister is happily married and able to support the family, Amelia would like to paint under her own name, though that is not proper in this time period. Like in most things at this time, women can't paint for a living anymore than they can work, play sports, or even act like they have a brain!
She catches the eyes of the Earl of Vale, Brandon, because she's lovely, and her talent can help him pay off the debts his late father piled up. Yes, Brandon is an impoverished earl; he needs to marry a rich woman, but he only has eyes for Amelia.
The courtship and love story that follows is sweet, and unfolds realistically. Amelia doesn't capitulate immediately, yet you can feel her angst; she wants the Earl as much as he wants her. When they finally consummate their passion, it's with enough heat to make the reader reach for a fan, yet it's not too explicit. Perfect for me.
I liked the little mystery surrounding the textile mill, and the culprit was quite the surprise. I found the reason Brandon and Amelia couldn't get together a bit contrived, but it worked out well, and the story was so nicely crafted that I could ignore that issue.
All in all, I highly recommend this book to Regency readers. The characters are all so very likeable, the plot is interesting, and the love scene descriptions, as well as the historical accuracy, is so well defined you will be lost in another world.
As always, I wasn't disappointed with Ms. Gabrielle's writing. I look forward to the third book in this series.