Reviewed by May
“The most exciting thing has happened- the Black Earl is here.”
“The black who?”
“The Black Earl. Lord Wessex. It’s rumored he’s going to take a bride again.”
“No, truly? And this is an event we must not fail to witness? Is he going to take her right there in the ballroom?”
Gillian is awkward to say the least, and while her cousin Charlotte is renowned for her beauty and has all kinds of plans to find a husband she doesn’t have the same luck or interest. Not really… not until she meets the infamous Black Earl, that is.
Noble (aka the Black Earl) is in search of a suitable wife and yet finds himself drawn to Gillian – who is not what he claims to desire in a wife.
“My next wife will be a quiet, unassuming, biddable woman who will not draw attention to herself or cause scandal. She will be pleased to stay in the country, take care of my son, and provide me with heirs.”
Is this a predictable, nothing so unique historical romance? Absolutely. That being said – if you’re in the mood for such a book it might really hit the spot as it did for me with Noble and Gillian.
Courtship ensues, marriage begins as this story keeps a fast pace and has us moving right along. I really enjoyed both the banter and heat that simmered between Noble and Gillian. It was clear to see that they had an immediate attraction to each other but also that they grew to care for one another and that they would be a good match in the long term. So many authors just assume attraction is enough and skim over the rest, and I appreciated seeing more depth to their attraction.
What on earth had she been thinking, marrying the Lord of Manliness and Virility?
Gillian was such a delightful heroine, and despite having read numerous stories where we have a smart heroine who doesn’t fit in with societies rules I was charmed by her. There is but one element of the story that I was not charmed by and that was the mystery portion and the sudden resolution at the end.
Noble is hanging onto some very hefty secrets and he has an enemy determined to make him suffer as well. We don’t find out the extent of these issues until the end and when we do the story has a rather dramatic and violent twist that didn’t really fit in with the rest of the book. With everything so light and silly for the most part, it was jarring to suddenly find a character in real danger and for a villain so intent on physical harm to pop up the way he did.
Now it is true that throughout there are clearly signs pointing to where things are going to lead, and the “who” is very obvious almost immediately so I’m not sure why it was as disturbing and surprising as it was. Letting that part go – the other part to this problem is that Noble is holding such a huge amount back, he is so mentally destroyed from all that happened with his first wife – he never fully gets to happily ever after for me.
I found myself wishing that either more time, space, or perhaps a few more scenes were added showing that he is on the healing path and that he appreciates Gillian and all she has brought into his life including her patience and unconditional love. I really liked Noble as a character, but he needed some more development to really sell me on the ending. If you enjoy alpha males who aren’t the best with pretty words and expressing themselves – you may enjoy him as well.
A new fire roared to life when his eyes narrowed at the sight of that murdering bastard McGregor’s hand resting possessively on Gillian’s.
“Mine!” he roared, and scooped Gillian up and deposited her on the pavement behind him.
“I beg your pardon?” Gillian asked, poking him in the back. “Did you just shout mine in a voice loud enough to be heard in Canterbury?”
“Be still, woman, while I deal with this bastard,” Noble bellowed.
I do love a good over the top display of manliness.
As I said at the start of the review there is nothing especially unique here, yet it was a delightful read overall and I found myself enjoying the story, dialogue, and this author’s style of writing.