Friday, June 28, 2013
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover
Lady Pippa Marbury is newly engaged to Lord Castleton, a kind if uninspiring man, but her scientific and logical mind compels her to research more about what her marriage will entail. She decides to ask Cross, one of the infamous owners of the fabulous gambling club, The Fallen Angel, for help since she believes he too is of a scientific bent. Cross is flabbergasted that a lady would enter his club, risking ruination and while he finds himself drawn to the beautiful bespectacled young woman, secrets in his own past forbid him from risking her future happiness and he turns away. Cross has problems of his own as the owner of a rival gambling establishment, Knight, holds his brother-in-law's debt and is threatening Cross's sister if Cross does not agree to marry Knight's daughter. Pippa is not about to give up her search for answers as she is determined to make the most of her marriage even though no one thinks it is a good match. She goes back to The Fallen Angel to enlist the help of a lady of the evening and Cross is furious that she is once again putting her reputation at risk, and not just because her brother-in-law is his friend and fellow co-owner of the Fallen Angel. He agrees to help her but vows to himself that he will not allow her to be tainted by her association with him.
Cross finds himself attracted to the seriousness of Pippa and her logical mind and the more time he spends with her, the more he finds that his resolution to leave her alone is destined to fail. He cannot stand the idea that Pippa will marry another but continues to believe that he will never be good enough for her and that she deserves a happy life which he cannot provide for her. Pippa too is beginning to wonder if she can go through with her marriage now that she has tasted what a true relationship between equal minds can be like. But she is furious to discover that cross is actually the Earl of Harlowe and that their stations would mean that they could get married if he would get over his feelings of inadequacy. When she learns about the threats against his sister she is determined to help him and prove to him that she is a match for him. He realizes that he has misjudged himself and this beautiful woman and that their pasts do not matter when it is a matter of true love.
This book is second in a series and although I had read the previous book, it had been awhile, and I found myself taking awhile to remember what had happened and I would not recommend reading this book without reading the first. Having characters from former books make frequent, often overwhelming, appearances is something I tend to dislike in romances and this book fell into this category quickly and often, which I really did not appreciate. Pippa's logical mind came up several times in this book and I just could not buy it as it was not logical for her to go into a gambling hall and I could not understand how she knew Cross was likewise as logical. Cross's background and brooding melancholy on his past was just utterly ridiculous; I understood how it would cause him distress, but it was just completely overblown and made him into a very unlikable fellow. Because of their situation they really could not spend all that much time together outside of the gambling club and I did not see how a relationship between a scientific bluestocking and a dissolute gambling hall owner would work in the real world.
The sexual tension between Pippa and Cross burned up the pages and I knew that when these two finally got together it was going to be an explosion. Unfortunately the sexual tension was dragged out for the entire book because of Cross brooding about how he wasn't good enough for her and believing he had to make up for his past. I could not believe how flowery and drawn out their sexual relationship was and how disappointing it ended up being. I enjoyed reading about the plot with Knight and wondering how Cross and Pippa were going to get out of it, but it seemed to blow over a little too quickly and it had a lot of scenes where a character would get an idea and then we'd cut to another scene so we were left in the dark about what would happen. The writing was very wordy and the book seemed to drag quite a bit, perhaps because of the melancholy overtone to the entire novel and I would have liked a more fun reading style.
Rating: I could not get into the relationship and the great sexual tension ended with a small poof while the writing dragged.