Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Love the Earl

I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden 1115

Margaret de Lacey has accepted her life of quiet spinsterhood, living with her brother Francis, a modestly well off merchant. Their world is turned upside down when Francis very unexpectedly inherits the Dukedom Durham and they are both thrust into society. Almost as a joke Francis settles an enormous dowry on Margaret that makes her much sought after by everyone in the ton, especially the fortune hunters. Rhys Corwin, Marques of Dowling is in desperate need of an heiress after his father and then his guardian squandered his money before he inherited and then a freak flood drowned the entire flock of sheep he was hoping to rebuild his fortune on. Margaret knows Rhys' game and has no intention of falling for it and from the very first set down she issues him Rhys knows that that Margaret is the only woman for him.

Rhys sets out to win Margaret's hand by befriending her friends and "appearing" everywhere she is and he maneuvers them into private setting as often as possible. Margaret begins to warm to Rhys, and it does not hurt that she is immensely attracted to him, and she realizes that she can not fault a man for being poor, especially in Rhys' situation. She is especially won over as the two of them discuss how he, how THEY, will spend her dowry once they are married and Margaret is able to place herself in his life and see that they will work so well as a married couple. Neither are prepared for her brother's reaction as he refuses to condone the marriage and threatens to withhold Margaret's much needed and anticipated dowry. Both of them work together to decide how they will make their life work and realize that as long as they have each other, and their love for each other, they will be fine.

This book is very short, only 144 written pages, and I am beginning to realize that there are some major advantages to a shortened historical romance. The first important aspect was that there was no big misunderstanding or any sort of misunderstanding. They met, they had words, and they slowly began to get to know each other and fall in love. There was no time for any betrayals or any behavior, on either of their parts, that made me cringe, and there were no mystery side plots what not that would poor me or take away from the romance. The romance between them was the entire focus of the book and I feel that Linden did an amazing job with such a short amount of space. While Rhys' immediate attraction to Margaret over her taunts was a bit odd, they spent a lot of time together and I felt like their love was really natural and flowed.

I liked that Margaret was a more mature heroine and that she was genuinely satisfied with her life, not just pretending, but wasn't about to turn down a happier future than she had envisioned. Rhys was amazing, I'm half in love with him myself, because his very moving conversations about how he would spend Margaret's dowry made it so clear that he wanted her in his life and that her dowry was just an added bonus that he would use to enrich THEIR lives together. There was some sex in the novel, it was very loving and pretty hot and it fit really well in the story. Francis was an interesting side character and the problem that he caused for the relationship was perfect because there did need to be a little conflict at the end and he provided it in a way that made the relationship stronger and really pointed out to the reader that Margaret and Rhys worked so well together.

Rating: A very good novella that showcases some of the best aspects of romance novels with two amazing characters who just meshed so well with each other.

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