Friday, June 6, 2014

Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

The Basics:
Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Book One in the Midnight Meetings series
Historical Romance
Published May 6, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

Historical romance gets me every time, and add in an adaptation of a fairy tale and I'm sucker.


It's going to take a Beast to tame this Beauty

The Enigma Earl. The Lord Phantom. That's what the gossip pages call Lord Greenwich, a mysterious nobleman who doesn't show his face in London Society. With a reputation like that, it's no wonder that Lydia Montgomery is horrified to be dragged from bed and packed off to live with him to save her mother from penury.

While Lydia has received all of the training a lady should endure, she's decidedly un-ladylike. She despises her corset and isn't interested in marriage; in fact, she would prefer to remain unmarried so that she can spend her time improving her art. But if she wants a chance at happiness, she'll have to set aside her fear of Lord Greenwich and discover the man hiding behind the beast.

My thoughts:

Very, very good.

I didn't know what to expect in terms of quality for this one - and it does get off to a bit of a rough start. Lydia is pretty well blackmailed into a marriage  and that made me uncomfortable. I don't know why - we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast, I should have expected that in a romance novel marriage would be on the table.  But no, no, for some reason I just saw her as going to live with this guy and not actually agreeing to marry him up front.

Silly me.

This book follows in the recent(?) rush of 'smart, sexy' heroes - Lord Greenwich (Edward) is a scientist and a scholar. And not much of a gentleman, as he's taken to living like a recluse apart from society, and he's a big ole bossy boots, used to having his way in all things. Which is, really, quite fair given that he is an Earl, and surrounds himself with employees, for the most part.

Lydia made a great foil for him - uneducated but clever, with a huge heart, and a zest for life that Edward sorely lacked. I felt like she was this breath of fresh air, seeing the beauty in all things (and people), and also being refreshingly open and honest with Edward (well, for the most part!). I was very impressed that Lydia wasn't an action heroine - a lot of historical romance that I've read seem to pair clever 'nerdy' heroes with women who are literally kicking ass. This isn't to say that Lydia's a perfect lady - because she's not - but instead that her unconventional ways felt novel to me. I really appreciated that difference from the norm.

This book was solidly focused on the love story between these two, and built up to a love scene with a great deal of literary foreplay, as it were. I would have been happy with more physicality in the romance between these two, but it was wonderfully appropriate for the very frank relationship they developed early on.

Bottom line:

I had a hard time putting down Meet the Earl at Midnight and I immediately went hunting to see which couple will be featured in the sequel (which isn't available until April 2015!). Definitely recommend this one!

4.5 stars
For fans of historical romance, smart heroes, heroines from the 'lower classes', Beauty and the Beast

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