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Monday, April 14, 2014

REVIEW: "Never Entice an Earl" by Lily Dalton


Never Entice an Earl (One Scandalous Season, #2)
Never Entice an Earl by Lily Dalton
(One Scandalous Season #2)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 18+
Historical Romance

Forever -- April 29, 2014
Ebook, 384 pages
Received from Netgalley

THEMES
Beta Hero

SUMMARY
A Deception Most Reckless...
Lady Daphne Bevington would do anything for her maid Kate-including masquerading as Kate and sneaking around the wrong side of London to settle the poor girl's debt. Yet her innocent ruse takes a scandalous turn when "Kate" runs into a handsome gentleman on a secret quest of his own. A moment of passion could cost Daphne her reputation, but how can she ignore the stranger's searing kiss?

An Arrangement Most Wicked...
Lord Cormack Northmore is determined to find the immoral peer who ruined his sister. So when he learns that the irresistible woman he knows as "Kate" is the Season's most sought-after debutante, Cormack plans to use her connections to help him set a trap. Now, the closer Cormack gets to uncovering the villain who haunts the ton's ballrooms, the more he realizes that the lovely lady is in danger herself. Will he abandon his quest for revenge-or risk losing his one chance at love?


FIRST LINE
"At the first glimpse of stonework through the trees, Cormack Northmore exhaled at least half of the breath he'd been holding."

MY THOUGHTS
I adored Lily Dalton's debut historical, Never Desire a Duke, last year and was excited to read more of her work.  I found Never Entice an Earl to be a lighthearted, easy read though it wasn't without its flaws.  The characters are likable and intelligent and the romance is very sweet. 

The main story line of this book involves Cormack who returns from India to discover that his sister is dying after giving birth to an illegitimate son.  Cormack feels tons of guilt for not being there for his sister and is determined to seek revenge on the baby's aristocratic father.  This starts him on a journey of ferreting out the truth about a secret society of peers who thrive on drinking, gambling, and unwilling women.  During one of his investigations, he meets a pretty housemaid named Kate who appears to be in some type of trouble.  Things get even more complicated when it is revealed that "Kate" is actually Lady Daphne Bevington.

I really liked both Cormack and Daphne.  I'm not always a fan of vengeful heroes, but I could understand where Cormack was coming from and I thought it was nice to see him take an intelligent approach to his revenge.  He really endeared himself to me when he became so protective of Kate/Daphne and actually thought about her feelings while pursuing the revenge.  His character was also interesting because his family suffered from financial issues until he traveled to India so he does not take his current status for granted.

Daphne took a bit of time for me to get used to her.  I was a little annoyed by her recklessness regarding her masquerade as her maid, but the author did a good job of slowly revealing key points of her personality.  Like Cormack, Daphne is dealing with guilt over something that was really not in her control and it has taken over her entire viewpoint on life.  Because of a long ago event, she is determined to make everyone else around her happy in penance for her perceived failings.  This made her much more endearing to me and I loved that she got to find someone (in Cormack) who showed her that she did deserve to be happy.     

The romance between Daphne and Cormack was very sweet even if it did start off with deception which is not always my favorite theme.  They both are dealing with guilt issues and I think it helped them understand one another.  It was just nice to read about two likable people finding someone special amidst a ton of external drama.

Besides the romance, the plot of Never Entice an Earl focused on Cormack's pursuit of his sister's attacker.  I was invested in this storyline until the later part of the book when I felt like things got a bit out of hand.  The ending (while it satisfied all the plot threads) seemed very rushed and a little too Deux Ex Machina for my taste.

Though I did have some issues with the pacing and the conclusion of the revenge plot, I still enjoyed this book.  The character development was easily my favorite part and I think that is something that Lily Dalton really excels at in her stories.  The third book in this series is going to involve Daphne's sister, Clarissa, and I can't wait to read it. 

I received a free copy of this book from Forever Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Flush -- Detailed descriptions of lovemaking though nothing overly graphic.


FAVORITE QUOTES
"I would marry you now, in this moment, if I could.  My darling, I don't believe we shall ever see such a day like this again, ever in our lives.  I felt nothing but despair this morning, but now I am the happiest woman alive."

BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Never Desire a Duke
2. Never Entice an Earl
3. Never Seduce a Scoundrel (Coming 2015)

CHALLENGES READ FOR

 

4 comments:

  1. Oh this one sounds like I'll enjoy it more than the first. I had some difficulties with the heroine in that one but really enjoyed the writing and loved the hero. I'm thinking Lady Daphne may be more to my liking. Thanks for the heads up on this one. Didn't realize it was coming out this month!

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    Replies
    1. I loved both characters in this book. The heroine from Never Desire a Duke got on my nerves as well especially when the hero was trying so hard. Lady Daphne was much more likable especially in the later half of the book. I hope you try it!

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  2. Okay, so even though you weren't madly in love with this one, it looks so cute, and I totally want to read it. I'm also a total sucker for heroines named "Daphne"!

    I'm also going to look into her first book - Never Desire a Duke.

    I've never asked you, Jennifer. Have you read Julie Garwood? What are you thoughts? I ask because you say you're not always a fan of vengeful heroes, and one of the heroes in one of my favorite Garwood books is kind of vengeful.

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    Replies
    1. The only Garwood historical I've read is Castles which I really liked. I tried Honor's Splendour a few years ago and had to DNF it because of the heroine. The Secret and The Bride are on my wishlist.

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