The Earl’s Lady Geologist
by Alissa Baxter
Publication Date: February 28, 2021
Series: Linfield Ladies Series, Book One
Genre: Regency Romance
Cassandra Linfield is a lady fossil collector who declares she will never marry as no man will ever take her studies seriously. When circumstances force her to travel to Town for the Season, Cassy infiltrates the hallowed portals of the Geological Society from which she has been banned. She is horrified when she comes face to face with her nemesis, the infuriating Earl of Rothbury.
Lord Rothbury is a gentleman-geologist with a turbulent romantic past. After a youthful disappointment he vows never to fall in love again, and makes the decision, instead, to seek out a convenient wife when he returns to England from his geological travels abroad.
Brought together by their close family ties, Cassy and Rothbury collaborate on a geological paper and discover a powerful attraction. Marriage, however, is the one subject they cannot agree upon. But when Cassyís life is threatened, the two realise that love matters more than their objections.
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Praise for The Earl’s Lady Geologist
“A gentle Regency romance, full of sweetness and intelligence. Alissa Baxter’s writing is period perfect.” -Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Matrimonial Advertisement
“The Earl’s Lady Geologist by Alissa Baxter deftly weaves together the charm of a traditional Regency romance, fascinating information on scientific society of the time, with a quiet subtext about the challenges faced by women interested in pursuing science. This first book in a new series is wonderfully satisfying on many levels!” -Mary Jo Putney, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author
“While immersing the reader in the mores and life of the Regency era, Alissa Baxter manages to write strong, independent heroines whom modern-day women will cheer and root for. Plus the addition of little details that wrap around the plot and the characters make reading her books all the more special because you never know when you might land on a little Easter egg morsel in the beautiful and engaging prose. Historicals with heart and engaging characters that read real–that’s what you get in Ms. Baxter’s books.” -Zee Monodee, USA Today bestselling author
“A truly traditional Regency romance, with lots of witty banter, very reminiscent of Georgette Heyer. Recommended for anyone who likes a completely clean traditional Regency, with strongly authentic writing, historical accuracy and a satisfying romance. Baxter’s writing is excellent, and her dialogue, manners and settings are true to the era. A spirited heroine, a brooding hero, lots of sparkling banter and an authentic Regency setting–with added fossils! Great fun. From Lyme Regis to the drawing rooms of London, Alissa Baxter takes the reader back to the time of Jane Austen.”
Mary Kingswood, author of traditional Regency romances
About the Author
Alissa Baxter was born in a small town in South Africa, and grew up with her nose in a book on a poultry and cattle farm. At the age of eleven she discovered her mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer novels. The first Heyer novel she ever read was Sylvester and she was hooked on Georgette Heyer after that. She read and reread her novels, and fell totally in love with the Regency period and Heyer’s grey-eyed heroes! After school and university, where she majored in Political Science and French, she published her first Regency novel, The Dashing Debutante.
Alissa travelled overseas and worked as a flight attendant in Dubai before she moved to England, where she did an odd assortment of jobs while researching her second novel, Lord Fenmore’s Wager, which she wrote when she moved back to South Africa. Alissa’s third Regency novel, A Marchioness Below Stairs, is the sequel to Lord Fenmore’s Wager.
Alissa has lived in Durban and Cape Town but she eventually settled in Johannesburg where she lives with her husband and two sons. Alissa is also the author of two chick-lit novels, Send and Receive and The Blog Affair, which have been re-released as The Truth About Series: The Truth about Clicking Send and Receive and The Truth About Cats and Bees.
From their first meeting, Cassandra Linfield and Edward, Lord Rothbury, are at odds over her passion for hunting fossils. Related through the marriage of his mother to her uncle, Edward has been called upon to help ensure the success of Cassy’s first Season. With Cassy set against marriage and Edward’s aversion to love, the missteps, banter, and slight misadventures as they are more and more in each other’s company see them becoming ever more intertwined and slowly less reluctant on their bumpy road to romance.
Set partly in Lyme Regis with historical figures such as Mary Anning, and references to Jane Austen that feel quite appropriate to the story, along with some favorite Austen quotes and even an impassioned speech that brought a certain part of Jane Eyre to mind, there is much here to delight readers of Regency stories. With a lighthearted feel, even when touching on more serious topics such as heartbreak and grief, and just enough friction and danger to add a bit of excitement, Baxter has crafted a romance that is both well researched and entertaining.
From the first page, Alissa Baxter’s The Earl’s Lady Geologist is sheer reading pleasure. Highly re-readable and with a lively cast of secondary characters, this is a promising start to a series of chaste Regency romance.
This review refers to an advance digital copy I voluntarily received. A positive review was not required and these are simply my own honest opinions.
The beach between Lyme Regis and Charmouth, England, December 1817
A cry rang out from the other end of the beach. Cassandra Linfield spun towards the sound. Mary must have found something of interest. Clutching her fossil finds in her hands, she hurried in her friend’s direction, stumbling over a jutting rock in her haste. Regaining her footing, she peered up at the blue-hued cliffs. The limestone-and-clay structure leaned ominously forward. She shivered a little and continued to where Mary crouched on the foreshore, below Black Ven.
After the violent storm last night, the cliff face was unstable. Should a chunk of mudstone dislodge and tumble onto Cassy’s head, it would render her insensible—or worse. Fortunately, in all the years she had lived in Lyme Regis, she had never sustained an injury while fossil hunting.
She took even greater care these days. Cousin Agnes made it clear when she came to live with Cassy after the death of her mother that she disapproved of her foraging activities. If she so much as sprained an ankle, her cousin would probably write to Aunt Ella, who would then insist that she come to live with her.
The wet brown sand crunched beneath her iron pattens as she threaded her way around the fallen rocks to Mary’s side. “What have you found?”
The other girl shoved her hat to the back of her head, leaving a streak of dirt on her forehead. She peered at a nodule sticking out of the mud and then chipped at it with her hammer. “It’s a fossil fish.”
Cassy bent over. “What a fine specimen. The scales are perfectly preserved.”
Mary squinted at her. “It’s a good cury and will fetch a good price.” She returned her attention to the fossil. “See how the skull is undamaged? Ma will be pleased. Have you found anything?”
“Only a couple of belemnites and a sea urchin.” She opened her palm to reveal the treasures, but her friend didn’t even glance at them. Instead, she fixed a wide gaze on something behind Cassy.
What had so captivated the other girl’s attention? Alarm gripped her stomach in a painful clench as she swung in a slow half-circle.
A large male figure strode along the foreshore in their direction. Within minutes, he was upon them, and his expression did not bode well. Tall and broad, he wore buff breeches, black boots, and a form-fitting double-breasted riding coat. A slate-grey gaze swung from Cassy to Mary and then back to Cassy again.
“Miss Linfield?” The clipped tone did nothing to relieve the ache in her stomach.
She nodded. How did he know her name? If she’d ever seen this man before, she did not recall the occasion. She doubted it not, as his was a face not easily forgotten. His hair was dark—nearly black—and a slightly piratical cast to his features brought to mind legends of wild men upon the seas. However, the rigidity of his square jaw and his flinty eyes gave the lie to her initial impression that this was a man ruled by his passions.
His gaze swept from her well-worn straw bonnet to the pattens over her visibly muddy boots. His gaze narrowed on her gloved hands. Stained and filthy, they must present a peculiar appearance to this gentleman who somehow knew her name. For he was a gentleman, that she did not doubt—a gentleman in none too pleasant a humour.
She raised her chin. “I am Miss Linfield.”
He removed his hat and bowed. “I…” He paused as his gaze shifted from Cassy to Mary and the spherical-shaped stone beside which she knelt. Frowning, he took a hasty step forward. “Cease your hammering, girl, before you damage that fossil.” He bent down and studied the nodule Mary had split open. “It appears to be a remarkable specimen.”
Cassy clicked her tongue. “Mary is an experienced fossilist and is in no danger of damaging anything.”
He straightened and glanced at Mary, who now stood defiantly before him. “You are Mary Anning?”
Mary bobbed her head.
“My friend Buckland has spoken of you. My apologies.” His gaze returned to the nodule. “Will you sell me this fossil?”
The dark storm clouds gathering on Mary’s face cleared at these magical words. “Yes, sir…for a crown.”
The man agreed to the price without demur, and the girl’s eyes lit up. “I will take it back to Lyme and clean it for you, sir. Where must I deliver it?”
“I am staying at the Three Cups inn.”
The man’s penetrating gaze returned to Cassy. “Mrs. Linfield requests that you return home directly. I shall escort you.”
She took a step back. “My cousin sent you?”
“Indeed. She is perturbed that you are out here on the beach alone.”
“But I am not alone. I am with Mary, and Miss Elizabeth Philpot is further along the shore.”
“Nevertheless, Mrs. Linfield is in high fidgets, and it would be well to return home directly.”
She took another step back. “With a stranger?”
He bowed. “I have been remiss in introducing myself. Rothbury at your service.”
He bowed again.
Cassy swallowed. So this was the legendary Lord Rothbury. Even though they were related by marriage, she had never met Aunt Ella’s eldest son, Edward, the Earl of Rothbury.
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