The Earl Next Door
First Comes Love #1
St. Martin’s Press, May 2019
300 pages, Kindle, Paperback, Audible, Audio CD
Historical Romance, Romance
Provided by NetGalley
The cover shows a lovely couple sparkling in the evening light. The background and the woman’s gown are richly colored, but for some reason, the picture seems fake. I mean, we all know it’s fake, but this one doesn’t seem to make any effort to appear real or cohesive.
The story, however, was really fun to read. It’s one of those “widow glad to enjoy her freedom after a horrible marriage” vs. a “man who is determined to have her as his wife”. The Dowager Countess of Wake, Adeline, is young and attractive and very glad to be free of an unwanted husband. She’s determined to never be married again and to enjoy her widowed state. She’s going to be in charge of her life from now on. No man is going to tell her what to do or how to live her life ever again. She and her two other widowed friends are quietly starting a school for children orphaned by the ship lost at sea in which they also lost their husbands. But a nosey old neighbor and “the earl next door” are determined to stick their oars in and interfere at each step. Sometimes it’s embarrassing. Sometimes it’s infuriating. And sometimes it’s just more than she can resist. Especially since the earl next door happens to be the very handsome and very eligible Lyon Marksworth, the Earl of Lyonwood, one of society’s leaders.
A to and fro of verbal swordplay makes for a brisk getting-to-know-you period. When they finally realize that they are on the same side, they settle down a bit and become rather good friends and more. This is a really fun romance and I highly recommend it to any of you who like historical romances. She only slaps his face once, but he really deserves it.