Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Loving the Earl by Sharon Cullen

In Sharon Cullen’s sizzling novel of scandal and seduction, a headstrong beauty is pursued across Europe by London’s most notorious rake.

Having vowed never to wed again, widowed viscountess Claire Hartford is about to do the unthinkable: travel unaccompanied across the continent in search of a lover. Her adventure begins sooner than expected, when she meets a magnificent cloaked stranger on her ship’s gangplank. He is Lord Blythe, a man whispered about in London’s ballrooms and drawing rooms, a scandalous rogue hell-bent on seduction.

Nathan Ferguson curses the day he agreed to look out for his best friend’s wayward sister. The charismatic earl is traveling to Paris to uncover the truth behind his father’s death, but his desire for Claire threatens to be his undoing. From France to Italy, on a journey of passionate discovery and danger, Nathan is honor-bound to protect her—from himself most of all. What can he offer Claire? Only love, as he sets out to prove to the woman of his dreams that she belongs to him—body, heart, and soul.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Mistletoe and Magic, What Not to Bare, and After the Kiss.

~A copy was received from Loveswept for review~

I can't even properly express how thankful I am to Loveswept and Sharon for providing me with a copy of such an amazing book. I've already recommended this book to several of my friends, even the ones who don't even like historical romance. I stayed up very late last night starting finishing this book, laughing and crying my way through this superbly-written story. I can't wait to read more of Sharon's novels in the near future!

Loving the Earl picks out all the best parts out of every historical romance and puts it all together into this one amazing book. There's the hot rogue who hides under an unsocial mask, the beautiful, bold woman trying to live her life after an abusive marriage, a brother who hires afore-mentioned rogue to protect his sister, mysterious letters, stolen luggage, false companions, sex (uhhhh....), highwaymen, gamblers, and a very happy ending. Besides, the guy on the cover does look pretty hot himself.

The two main characters in this book were what made it best. They were just so in depth and I constantly looked forward to their more than hilarious banter. I loved how instead of Claire being "the one" to change Nathan into a good man, Nathan was a good man all along. He was very easy to trust and every single action he made or word he spoke kept my interest, even as my eyes were drooping shut. And Claire...oh, Claire. She has had a terrible past and is trying to make it up in the present and trying to find an adventure, as well as an Italian lover. However, it's not for the reason(s) you might expect.

The plot was pretty realistic in that both characters made many mistakes, and there were lots of ups and downs in their...I guess you could call it a friendship. What was queer though was that when Nathan first met Claire, but before he knew who she was, Nathan viewed her with only annoyance, with only a bit of personal curiosity and interest. But when he found out who she was and started analyzing her more and whatnot, suddenly he's exclaiming at her beauty and how he wanted to run his hands through Claire's silk hair, yada yada. That struck something sour in me, but luckily the moment was over quickly.

Claire's past with an abusive husband and siblings who always tormented her about being socially respectable was by far the most interesting part of this novel. Besides the romance of course. Ever since I knew the truth about her spouse, I was desperately waiting for Nathan to put together why Claire reacted as she did to him, or for Claire to just tell Nathan directly. The resulting emotions and conversation were exquisite, and I once again found myself awed at Sharon's writing skills. I wasn't surprised in the least when I got to the back of the book and found out that Sharon had a degree in journalism; only a person with prior experience in writing could write such a divine little romance.

It was very surprising to find that even though the actual novel was only 260 pages, the story felt never-ending, which in this case was a good ending. The book took me only 2 hours to devour late last night, but it felt like so much longer. Still, even as I was nearing the end, I found myself wishing the book would never stop.

Anyhow, that wasn't the only thing that startled me about this book. The author made all the characters so real, including some of the side characters. The side character that stayed in my head throughout this book and even after I finished it was Emmaline, who is apparently a female sailor, and a friend/relative of Claire's. We never actually meet her, but there are so many tiny mentions of this mysterious lady that I figured there was probably a book before this with Emmaline's story as the plot. Expecting this, I looked up the book and it turns out this book ISN'T A PART OF A SERIES! My thought at that moment was literally "what the heck?!??"

In conclusion, I just want to brush up on the fact that any and every fan of historical romance should read this book because I'm absolutely sure that Loving the Earl is a very loveable book in general, as well as the best historical fiction (out of those containing sex) novel I've read this entire year. Also, I want to mention that after reading this book, all readers will be "unconditionally and irrevocably" in love with the Earl (trust me, Nathan really deserves that capital letter).
Title: Loving the Earl
Author: Sharon Cullen
Publisher: Loveswept
Released November 11, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance

No comments:

Post a Comment