Lady Philippa Marbury has always felt out of place in society; with her keen and intelligent mind, she’s far from the ideal debutante. Regardless, she’s managed to snag a fiance, Lord Castleton and she can’t help but be curious about the marriage bed, since no one has ever really told her what might happen. In search of a man with experience who won’t make her feel uncomfortable, she propositions Cross, part owner of the gambling den with her brother-in-law. She doesn’t want to do anything in particular, she just wants to learn what might happen, so that she’s prepared for her wedding night. Cross is immediately attracted to Pippa, but of course refuses; he can’t tell her what she really wants to know, it would be completely wrong, and besides that, his tortured past means he hesitates to let her in at all.
Sarah MacLean is one of the romance authors that I always give to newbies of the genre. Her books are accessible and brilliant at pulling in those who aren’t quite familiar with the tropes as the rest of us are. She’s a fantastic writer, and she has the ability to really make you feel for her characters and hope for the outcome that, despite knowing it’s assured, seems impossible in the meantime. This book is really no different, with a great, smart heroine and a tortured hero. Like many readers will, I desperately wanted Cross and Pippa to get together. I loved that Cross adored Pippa because she was a little bit strange, because she is intense and smart and doesn’t just flirt and tease as normal society girls do.
One aspect of this book that I particularly liked was the simple fact that Pippa’s fiance is not a terrible person. In fact, they might have even gotten on together well, it’s simply that there is no real spark of passion in their relationship. Comparing Castleton to Cross is difficult because that spark is there with him, but I liked that he was a kind, logical man and, more importantly, that there were no stupid excuses required for Pippa to get her own happy ending. He’s certainly not Cross, who for me was the star character of the book, but he’s a perfectly acceptable man.
I suppose I’d say the only thing I didn’t like, really, was the fact that for a woman who often comes across as very intelligent, Pippa also comes across as very stupid. Propositioning the owner of a gambling den, even though he knows her brother-in-law, is an extraordinarily stupid move no matter how understandable the motive, and some of the actions that Pippa takes indicate that she’s so comfortable in her own little world that she’s lost sight of how dangerous the real world can be. It’s a very classic case of intelligence versus common sense, and Pippa seems to have very, very little common sense at times. It’s not that she’s unrealistic, as I think we’ve all met people who are very clever and very dim at the same time, it’s more that in these circumstances I wanted her to act with some sense and caution.
Saying all that, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and I fully intend to keep up with Sarah MacLean’s future releases in this series. Highly recommended for other romance readers.
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