Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey

What does a fiercely independent young widow really want? One determined suitor is about to find out...

When Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, learns of her husband’s sudden death, she realizes she’s free. At last, she can do, go, and be as she pleases. Finally, she can have the life she has always dreamed of. She doesn’t need, or want, to remarry. Especially not the supremely dashing future Marquis of Marksworth, who makes Adeline yearn for his desire...

Lord Lyonwood, son of a philandering marquis, will not be like his father. He wants to run his estates and watch them flourish—and find a wife who brings love to his life. When he meets spirited and self-reliant Adeline in a case of near-scandalous mistaken identity, Lyon feels he’s met his match. But Adeline isn’t interested in a marriage proposal. She will only accept becoming his lover—and Lyon finds it hard to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve...

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The Earl Next Door is the first in a brand-new series by Amelia Grey, which does an excellent job of introducing the characters while setting up future books.

Romance, especially historical romance is filled with novels featuring pretty young things, right on the cusp of womanhood, no longer a child yet not a full grown woman either, where they are easily manipulated by family, friends, and the hero – their only life purpose to get married, taught to lie, scheme, manipulate, and plot to get a husband. Those portrayed as the median age of the reader, are often times shown in a negative light. On a shelf by age 24, with the males always in their prime, no matter their ages. Generally, with a large age-gap, because the males had to sow their wild oats and grow up first.

Adeline is a different type of woman. Not shown as the on-the-shelf, out-of-date wallflower. While still young, she's a widow, and with that affords her respectability in her maturity. She knows how life works, because she's lived it, not because she's daydreamed and plotted about it with her mother and friends.

Adeline resonated with me as a heroine, because she wasn't impressionable, easily warped by the hero into who he wanted a wife to be. She was set in her ways, feisty and lively, but not in an over-the-top obnoxious fashion that is often used in this genre. While flawed, she accepts what she wants, and refuses to accept anything but what she sees for her future.

After losing her husband at sea, while there was no love lost between the two, Adeline uses her influence to open a school for girls who lost their guardians in a similar fashion, with her widow friends. Adeline and her new neighbor, Lyon, have a misunderstanding of a meet-cute, where he thinks she's doing something vastly different (don't want to spoil this, as it was cute yet infuriating yet hilarious).

Misunderstanding out of the way, Lyon is patient and kind, a man who also knows who and what he wants out of life, but is mature enough to coax it, not demand it. A bit of banter and tension, most of the time, the newly forming couple comes off as comfortable...

Adeline and Lyon did seem a bit boring, and I say that in a positive way, even if it doesn't sound like it. It was a more mature take on the mating dance and romance, where they were honest and didn't get in their own way. Readers who are looking for juvenile behaviors, while this brings excitement and keeps things angsty, the mature romance in The Earl Next Door is befitting of a widow and a grown man.

The main reason I didn't hand out a 5-star rating is the flow, the execution, and the meandering nature of too much inner monologue. Adeline and Lyon liked to explain their actions, reactions, and motivations, sometimes at ad nauseam. This affected the overall flow, making the novel feel longer than it was, slowing the pacing to a crawl, while pulling me from the storyline.

I look forward to future installments, intrigued by the stories for Adeline's widow friends. The premise of a series surrounding widows will have me coming back for more and more, looking for a more mature take on romance, especially in the Historical Romance genre. Highly recommend to fans of the author and the genre, and I can't wait to get my hands on more.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she's been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter, and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the Heirs' Club trilogy and the Rakes of St. James series. She's been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida.

Connect with Amelia

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of The Earl Next Door (First Comes Love #1) by Amelia Grey to read and review.

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