RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden


Title: I Love the Earl
Author: Caroline Linden
Publication Info: Avon Impulse 2011
ISBN: 978-0062115751
Genre: Historical: European

I Love the Earl This review was written by Willaful. This story was nominated in the Best Romance Novella category.

The summary:     

A single lady in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a suitor Margaret 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.

And here is Willaful's review:

The first word that comes to mind when I think of this historical romance is “direct” — and that's both its greatest strength and its greatest flaw. In a genre currently filled with coy, bloated stories, it's refreshingly crisp and straightforward. The downside is that everything happens very quickly, without much conflict or strong emotion.

The romance hinges on Margaret and Rhys's first meeting, so it's a shame that scene isn't more plausible. Margaret, thinking quite rightly that Rhys (the Earl of Dowling) is a fortune hunter, is extremely unpleasant — in Rhys's mind, this equals “a woman of passion and spirit with a sharp, bold wit.” He pretty much falls in love on the spot. After an opening which laid Margaret's physical plainness on very thick, I needed to see more interactions in which Rhys would come to appreciate her and discover her charms.

Similarly, Margaret believes in Rhys's affection quickly; he doesn't have to work hard to win her. Of course he does get the opportunity to prove that he really does want her, not her fortune — the story would be utterly unsatisfying without that.

I enjoyed the secondary characters, particularly Margaret's troubled brother, and was disappointed to discover that this novella is apparently more a side note to the series than a true beginning, much as The Wicked House of Rohan by Anne Stuart was.

My overall impression of “I Love the Earl”: pleasant, but shallow. I give it a C.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    kkw says:

    I also thought it was too quick, but I figure that’s because it’s a novella, an art form that is inherently not for me.  I’d still give it a B, because it was a throughly entertaining story.
    The main point where I differ from the reviewer is that I wasn’t bothered that he essentially fell in love on the spot. So what, she wasn’t beautiful?  He was in a transitional point in his life, and thus more vulnerable and open than he’d previously been, and his expectations about his future were so low, that she was like the answer to prayers he hadn’t even known he was making.
    It’s true, she was not nice to him, but she definitely came off as having ‘a sharp, bold wit’ (to be fair that might just be Caroline Linden, but the impression extends to her characters).  Undoubtedly she seemed spirited.  It’s true that ‘passionate’ is a descriptor that people generally reserve for someone they find attractive (unless it’s being used as a kind of WASPy put-down), but it’s precisely the sort of quality one uses to explain (an ultimately inexplicable) attraction to a person.  He finds her compelling, he needs her, he’s so grateful to discover that needing to marry for money doesn’t have to suck, there’s all kinds of sparks…  Totally worked for me.

  2. 2
    Jeannie S. says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves in romances is when a heroine is described as “plain”. Basically because I think all women are beautiful in different ways. There may be a few “supermodel beautiful”, but unless some woman ignores basic hygiene and goes out of her way to give herself an unattractive hairstyle, there are no plain women out there. I wish authors would get that word out of their vocabulary when describing heroines.

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