Monday, May 27, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey

I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey is an enjoyable Regency Romance that ticks all the boxes for current trends in Regency.

Adeline, the Dowager Countess of Wake, is a fiery, feisty, very young widow whose previous marriage was a disaster, leading her to swear off marriage for good. Being left financially secure, she decides to endow a school for girls – girls of lower social standing who will be taught marketable skills. (She’s supported in this endeavor by two friends, also young widows, to set up the next books in the series.) Adeline’s mission gets off to a shaky start. The new home she purchased in front of the new school is next door to the home of Lyon Marksworth, the Earl of Lyonwood.

Lyon made the mistake of listening to ill-informed gossip. He believes his new neighbor is a madam and the house will be used as a brothel. He marches over to confront the owner and insults Adeline with his behavior and suspicions. She’s furious, mortified, and attracted to Lyon.

They spar for a while, then make peace, then fall in love.

It took a little while to be drawn into the story. Lyon is a sensitive if impulsive hero. Adeline is a generous and bold heroine. Once the plot settled into the two resolving their difficulties it was a pleasant read. The ending was a little too simple. It was what I expected, but the story could have been more original and impressive had it refused to conform to Regency conventions, letting the characters forge on with the relationship despite the obstacle, rather than having the obstacle simply disappear.

Nevertheless, the characters grew on me throughout the course of the novel. Their growing love for each other was believable. And the plot was sweet.