I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden (The Truth About the Duke #0.5)

12025403Margaret de Lacey has accepted her unmarried state with dignity, if not delight. She had no suitors when she was young and starry-eyed, though regrettably poor, and it’s unlikely any man will court her now that she’s older, wiser, and still just as penniless. Until, that is, her brother unexpectedly inherits the dukedom of Durham and settles an enormous dowry on her, making her the most eligible heiress in town.

No gentleman in London is more in need of a wealthy bride than Rhys Corwen, Earl of Dowling. He contrives an introduction to Margaret because of her dowry, but she swiftly sets him right: no fortune hunter will win her heart or her hand. Far from put off, Rhys is intrigued. Interested. Entranced. And soon the only thing he needs more than Margaret’s fortune…is her love.

Review:

I’m not a huge novella person.  They often feel rushed, and if they’re any good I want more pages, darn it.

I Love the Earl somehow hits a sweet spot.  It’s the perfect length for the story it covers, and I didn’t find myself wishing for a subplot.  Would I enjoy it expanded out to a full-length novel?  You bet.  But it’s not necessary.

Let’s call that the first thing good.  Here’s the rest:

  • There’s no Big Misunderstanding, and all the characters respect each other.  The plot doesn’t hinge on someone being stupid or doing something rash.  It’s refreshing.
  • The hero and heroine have a couple of conversations that boil down to, “Hey, this is what it would mean to be married to me.  Are you okay with that?”  Positive relationship modeling, yea!
  • It’s a comfort read.  I read a good chunk while enjoying a lazy morning in bed – heaven.

The not-so-good:

  •  Being so short the character development is a little lacking, but it’s still a nice setup for the series.

I’m finding Linden to be a go-to author when I need a warm literary hug… with the way the world has been going lately I may be running back into her arms soon.  ~sweatdrop~

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Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden (Scandalous #1)

Synopsis:

16065684Joan Bennet is tired of being a wallflower. Thanks to some deliciously scandalous—and infamous—stories, she has a pretty good idea of what she’s missing as a spinster. Is even a short flirtation too much to ask for?

Tristan, Lord Burke, recognizes Joan at once for what she is: trouble. Not only is she his best friend’s sister, she always seems to catch him at a disadvantage. The only way he can win an argument is by kissing her senseless. He’d give anything to get her out of her unflattering gowns. But either one of those could cost him his bachelor status, which would be dreadful—wouldn’t it?

Review:

Feel beset by the tragedy in your latest read? Sick of disaster/dystopia/dying/dread? Have a hankering for some happily ever after? A literary rainy day of any sort would be a perfect time to read this romance.

Joan Bennet is living her life. Her mom is a little controlling, her brother could use a little more sense, and her marriage prospects could take a boost but all in all her life isn’t all that bad. Tristan Burke is a lord and a bit of a rake but his hobbies keep him occupied. So… they’re normal people, if titled and wealthy can ever equal normal. But you know what I mean – no pirates, no orphans, no murders.

Our pair meets, sparks fly to differing degrees, and they fall in love just like in any other romance. But, and this is a big difference, there isn’t any angst. At all. No misunderstanding, no crazy plot device to keep our couple together (or apart), no mystery to solve. Relatives add some conflict but the main of the book is spent watching these two people banter and grow into themselves as they grow to like each other.

Linden deliberately fakes out the reader at times by heading straight at a trope (“Here comes the Big Mis, oh no!”) before the characters resolve it like real people would (“Oh, she asked him about it. Problem solved!”). It’s refreshing. However if you’re into high-stakes, oh-no-is-he-gonna-die story lines you may be left yawning.

Take Love and Other Scandals for what it is – a romantic story that will soothe any wounds on your literary soul.