Mad About the Earl
When I think of a DIK, it has to be more than just a great book, it has to have re-readability. It has to be a book that I would reread a bunch of times and love it each time like it was the first. While I don’t think that Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke has rereadability, I think it is a fantastic book that is well worth the read.
This book is the second book in a series called the Ministry of Marriage series. Rosamund Westruther has been matched by her guardian to the Earl of Tregarth, Griffin. Poor Griffin is not your typical Regency era hero. He compares himself frequently to a gargoyle in looks and mannerisms. But Rosamund falls for him instantly. And this just confuses the heck out of him. He can’t understand, or truly believe, that this beautiful angel would actually want to marry him.
Unfortunately, when Griffin’s grandfather dies and a minor scandal affects him, he is forced to push off his wedding day. To Griffin, he thinks he is only doing Rosamund a favor. He can’t believe that she actually wants to marry him, so he figures if he just leaves her in London, enjoying the social life there, she will eventually catch someone’s eye and he will allow her to marry where she wants. No one is more surprised than he when she waits patiently for him and doesn’t even seem to form any sort of attachment to any of the London beaux who would be more than happy to take her off his hands.
In London, Rosamund is quietly seething over what she sees as abandonment by her betrothed. But she is patient and willing to wait until he is ready to fulfill his obligation and marry her. She has had a unique upbringing, having lived with her guardian and her cousins because she was removed from her mother’s house. Her mother, well, let’s just say she puts the v in viper. As Rosamund’s brother Xavier says at one point, they would have been better off raised by a pack of wolves. This unusual upbringing has left Rosamund very empathetic to other people’s pain and it makes her a perfect match for Griffin.
I will say that there is not much plot to this story. Yes, Griffin’s sister had that minor scandal that comes up and causes problems between Griffin and Rosamund, Rosamund’s mother is horrible at one point by creating a revealing painting of her daughter, and there is even the problem of one of Rosamund’s former beaux, but overall, the book doesn’t have a Plot, with a capital “P”. Instead, this is a great romance that focuses on the characters and their relationship and the way that it develops and that is why I loved it. The author doesn’t need to drum up outside tensions, the characters don’t hide from what they are obviously feeling (though they don’t necessarily admit it, they don’t hide from it), and the story moves at a great pace. For me, that is just the kind of story that I like and that is the reason that I loved this book so much.
One thing that I will say is that the whole premise of the Ministry of Marriage was very strange to me. Perhaps it is explained better in the first book in the series, but its whole existence remained a mystery to me throughout the whole book. But to people who had read the first book and understood where the Ministry came from, I would think that there would be no need to completely retell and explain and, truthfully, not understanding didn’t prevent my enjoyment of the book.
Although this book does not have a complex plot and nuances to be discovered in a reread, I found it very enjoyable. I liked the characters, I liked the writing, and I liked the relationship and the way that it developed. Would I feel the urge to read it again? Probably not. And for me, that keeps it in the B range. But I know that I will be looking for other books by this author in the future and I will go back and read the first book in the series. Though it isn’t a DIK, it was a great book and one that I am confident in recommending.