To Wed a Wicked Earl by Olivia Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this one up as an impulse and was very pleasantly entertained by this story. I loved the aspect of the hero, Lord Rothbury, being in love with Charlotte for six long years. She thought of herself as a wallflower, and was stuck on his best friend, Lord Tristan, who has saved her mother and herself from a carriage accident, for that whole time.
Adam, who is known as Rothbury for this whole book, watched her grow from a skinny young girl into a willowy young woman, admiring her from afar, even loving her bookish, spectacled appearance. You see, he didn't think he was good enough for her. Rothbury comes from a family of degenerate rakes, and was taught to act the same way his whole life. Although rakes are not my favorite heroes, there was heart to this hero, so that I liked him, even from the beginning. He was a rake because he had been taught to be one, and really didn't know any other life.
The plot is rather convoluted, which is strange. It's not exactly as the blurb says. Mainly it's about the interaction between the on the shell young woman, Charlotte, and Rothbury, who wants what he can't have, her. She doesn't realize how in love he is, because she can't imagine why a sophisticated man of the world would want her. Especially since she was was lead on slightly by Lord Tristan, that he would offer for her, but then he offers for another girl instead.
Charlotte approaches Rothbury with the offer of friendship, which was mainly a ploy for the author to have Charlotte and Rothbury interact, which they probably wouldn't have otherwise. What I found refreshing is that Rothbury didn't spend this whole book trying to get Charlotte in bed, and she didn't spend the book chasing or throwing herself at the rake so she could find out 'what it was all about.' I am very sick of this overused storyline in historical romances nowadays, and frankly it irritates me because it's unrealistic that a gently bred young virginal woman of good family would risk her reputation and future that way. Instead it was more of a friends to lovers story, and full of humor and quirkly moments which I found enjoyable. It was also very sweet how Rothbury really loved Charlotte, but wasn't sure how to let her know that, and didn't feel he had the right to. Plus he thought she was still in love/like with Lord Tristan. He saw her in ways that others didn't see. This is a couple you really want to get together instead of being annoyed at them the whole book.
Although there are few love scenes, the passion of their kisses was very well written and made the pages heat up. The love scenes towards the end were not long or graphic, but they were very intense and hot (for this reader). The love and passion that Rothbury shows Charlotte was very appealing. I think that there was some silliness in this story that wasn't needed for plot exposition, but it didn't ruin the story. I really ended up liking this book. It's a lighter read, but it has the emotional elements that I really enjoy. Plus I found this rake to be a lot more moral and honorable than some of the other heroes in this genre (even though he didn't see himself that way).
I will be adding Olivia Parker to my list of authors to buy, because she really succeeded in telling a romance story here that appealed to me, when I was starting to feel that a lot of the new releases were not to my taste.
View all my reviews >>