The Earl Next Door
The Earl Next Door is the first in a new series, First Comes Love, by Amelia Grey. I liked the sound of the story of a widow exercising her new-found freedom after living under the thumb of a jealous, oppressive husband, but sadly, that was just about all I liked. The romance is of the insta-lust variety, so much so that I found the whole thing hard to buy in to. Add to that the author’s preoccupation with stuffing as many adjectives into a sentence as possible, as well as her confusing writing style and I somehow think it unlikely I’ll be reading her again.
The story begins with Adeline, the Dowager Countess of Wake, trying on a box of slightly racy gowns and what-not sent to her by mistake by her modiste. She is twirling around her new parlor wearing a crimson corset and big gold bow when she is interrupted by a man storming into her house and demanding to see its owner. Lyon Marksworth, the Earl of Lyonwood, has been asked by his aunt to rid the neighborhood of a house of pleasure that is about to open next door – and of course, Adeline’s attire confirms Lyon’s suspicions about her house. A great deal of misunderstanding ensues until Adeline finally slaps Lyon and reveals her identity to him. Poor Lyon is shocked and dismayed. Luckily, they both get the immediate hots for each other and so the evening is not a total loss.
Adeline and her two friends are opening a girls’ boarding school (hence all the beds being delivered which led the neighbours to the conclusion about the pleasure house!) to aid the daughters of sailors who perished when the Salty Dove sank two years earlier off the coast of Portugal. Adeline and her friends’ husbands were among the nearly 150 who perished. Although concerned about the scandal her establishment may cause, Adeline is determined to help the orphaned girls.
Lyon doesn’t like the idea of a girls’ boarding school in the neighborhood any more than he liked the idea of a brothel, and he starts to plot its demise, in addition to dealing with his other troubles. His father, the Marquis of Marksworth, is anxious for Lyon to marry and produce an heir. In fact, the Marquis is so anxious for another heir, that he himself is marrying (for the fourth time and never mind his three existing mistresses). Lyon protests but the Marquis insists he can have his cake and eat it too.
You are just like your mother. Always trying to understand me – and it can’t be done. She never understood why I was never satisfied with what I had for long. She knew and accepted the time would come when I’d want more. Horses, land, businesses…women. I can’t explain it now any more than I could explain it to her twenty years ago.
Poor, misunderstood Marquis! And lucky bride number four!
Well… back to our main story. The Marquis tells Lyon about the Salty Dove and why Adeline is opening the school, and now Lyon feels like an ass for trying to thwart her. He stops by to apologize and lucky for him, Adeline is still hot for him.
The earl entered and stopped beside her. Lyon’s gaze immediately met Adeline’s. Suddenly it was as if every one of her senses spoke to her at once. Let me touch him. Let me taste him. Let me smell him. Let me hear him. Let me see him.
Let me put you out of your misery and tell you that Adeline and Lyon get their HEA. But not before a lot of misunderstandings, innuendo and internal dialogues where we are told over and over and over again about their lusty feelings. When they finally have a sexual interlude, Adeline reviews it in her head the following morning.
No, she’d awakened with no doubts, no concerns, and no regrets about the few passionate minutes she and Lyon had shared last night. She finally felt wanted for who she was. Desired. Their time together was indescribable and she wasn’t going to try to understand….The only thing she wanted was to enjoy how she was feeling today.
A “few passionate minutes”..? Well really, I think I’d rather just have a nice cup of tea and a good book!
The idea behind The Earl Next Door is interesting but it is so buried under lustful musings, overly crafted sentences, an enormous number of grammatical errors and under-developed characters that I couldn’t find my way to liking it or the characters. Lyon’s father, the Marquis of Marksworth was presented so many different ways – a womanizing cad, an overbearing father, a “favorite companion” to Lyon, a great marriage catch – I had no idea what to think of him.
I also had trouble with Ms. Grey’s writing style. The phrasing was off sometimes: “That be as it may” or created a disturbing visual such as: “His voice washed over her as silkily as an embroidery thread pulled through a delicate fabric”. Ouch! She also used names that pulled me out of the story. For example, her friend was married to the heir of the Duke of Sprogsfield. Really? Sprogsfield? (Which my British editor reliably informs me would conjure the image of a field full of babies on her side of the pond, seeing that sprog is slang for infant over there!) And the adjectives, my god, the adjectives. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t give authors a limit on the number of adjectives they’re allowed to use – and a fine if they go over!
The flower-decorated ballroom hummed with the constant strum of violins and cellos flowing flawlessly in tune with the melodic tinkling of ivory-colored keys, frenetic chatter, and uninhibited laughter.
Wow! So go ahead and get that nice cup of tea but choose another book to snuggle up with!
Buy it at: Amazon/Apple Books/Barnes & Noble/Kobo
Visit our Amazon Storefront