Sunday, June 2

Mad About the Earl by Christina Brooke

Book 2 in the Ministry of Marriage series

This is the first review I've done in a while, so bear with me as I organize my thoughts.

First, I love Beauty and the Beast tales - and boy was this a good one! Lady Rosamund Westruther is the perfect innocent, a lady with stars in her eyes. While those stars may dim a little throughout the course of her tumultuous romance with the occasionally boorish yet strong and handsome Earl of Tregarth (Griffin), her strength of character, persistence, and innovation make her a lovable and unique heroine. I enjoyed her from the very beginning when she first set her stubborn sights on Griffin and set him in his place. Brooke did an excellent job walking the line between emotional strength and high-strung prissiness with Rosamund. Similarly, I enjoyed how Griffin never truly lost some of his more gruff, burly qualities. Rosamund may have polished him a little bit, but she certainly didn't make him change for her. Rosamund's naivety was a little startling at times, considering her mother's more scandalous behavior, but I found her shy sensuality adorable and refreshing. I think the only thing I could have wished for was to understand Griffin's epiphany moment a little better - it seemed rather sudden and unprovoked. 

While the romance itself was lovely, a dash of drama with hints of tortured hero and exasperated heroine, the main plot of the book was overused. Hint, hint: There's a murder and some smugglers. To be honest, I didn't like this overly dramatic plot the first book I read it in, and become less enamored with it with every reboot. Also, the plot feels a little rushed - it's undermentioned in the first half of the book, so suddenly we're in a cave, fighting some smugglers like 'the fuck'? When the real murderer is revealed, the motivation behind it doesn't real come across so you're left confused as to why the author chose to use this inane plot device in her story at all. The sheer annoyance of having to read through the babble about the 'mystery' really turned me off during the second half of the book and I couldn't have wished it to be over fast enough.

For supporting characters, we have a clever and cynical Duke (Rosamund's guardian), a nasty mother (on that note - the painting catastrophe was also a strange and unnecessary addition to this book that I could have done without), a supportive sister, and a set of sometimes-loyal-sometimes-not townsfolk. I'd love to see more of the Duke and Xavier (the brother) for sure and was happily amused at the mother's situation, as it was revealed during the epilogue. 

Favorite Quotes:
Sadly, I did not take down any this time - I was not planning on reviewing the book (due to limited time constraints indicated by my clear inactivity on my blog in the past year or more) so I didn't take any notes. But trust me, there were many heart-melting and rotfl-inducing moments in this tale!

"Sexy"ness Rating: Hot! Only a few lovemaking scenes but dayum are they delicious!

Overall Rating: B+

Bottom Line: If you like gruff heroes and the stubborn heroines who step on their toes then this is a book for you. Beware the overused and dramatic main plot - skim if possible - and enjoy!

Pages: 328
Published: January 3, 2012
Genre: Historical