Review | The Earl Next Door by Amelia Gray

The Earl Next DoorThe Earl Next Door by Amelia Grey
First Comes Love #1
Historical Romance
St. Martin’s Press | May 28, 2019

About the Book: 

What does a Wickedly Wonderful Widow really want? One noble suitor is about to find out. . .

Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, is all on her own after her husband’s sudden death. The good news? Losing him allowed her to find herself. Finally, Adeline is free to do, go, and be as she pleases. She cherishes her newfound independence and is not looking for another man to wed. But seeking out a new lover? Well, that is a whole ’nother story. . .

Lord Lyon, son of the two-timing Earl of Marksworth, wishes to have a respectable, loving wife someday. When he meets the beautiful and self-reliant Adeline, Lyon is instantly smitten. But Adeline would rather have the handsome suitor in her bed than to take his hand in marriage. It’s a scandalous proposal—and one that’s hard for Lyon to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .and he can find a way to be the Wickedly Wonderful Widow’s lover for all time?

bn2


One of my favorite parts of reviewing historical romance is digging into the cover art.  There’s usually some ‘wtf’ in there somewhere. Can’t ignore this, and it’s a phrase I never thought I’d utter, but why is her pelvis sparkling?  Wait, her mid-upper arm is also sparkling.  Dude doesn’t quite seem to be looking at her; and her expression is one of ‘ha ha, okay, you can stop touching me now, please.  These sparkles are not for you, strangely corded neck man.’ Quite honestly, the background is freaking gorgeous.  

On to the substance.

I’m fairly sure this happens to every reader at some point: you read a story that contains just enough parallels to a current struggle you’re having, which causes you to catch some feelings.

I loved this story.  Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, is a young widow, her husband perished on a sinking ship. As awful as it sounds, his death saved her.  Her husband had been cold, controlling, abusive. To her husband, she was a tool to be used. Not a human to be appreciated, consulted or treated as anything other than an object possessed.

Sometimes, what those outside our lives view as a tragedy, is actually our own liberation. 

That concept struck me, and stuck with me. Adeline found herself finally free of intrusive abuse, yet still silenced by the dramatic tragic. One shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, or even sick, no matter how awful the truth is.

Adeline, Dowager Countess of Mine Own Heart, after seeing the genuine despair of the widows and orphans of crew members, makes two very important life choices:

  1. F*ck this matrimony noise. Peace and uncomplicated sex it is, and then get out of my damned house.
  2. Totally using my Badass Wealthy Widowness to help the daughters and sisters left despairing and destitute from the loss of their fathers and brothers.

Enter Lyon Marksworth, Earl of Lyonwood.

**Side note: in a previous review, I talked about the absurdity of Regency Man-Candies horse names.  Always uber-intense names with some reference to the underworld; Lucifer, Brimstone, Pumice, whatever.  Lyon, Earl of Lyonwood, has now made me long for a blandly monikered Regency Man-Candy. Like Greg, Earl of Shrewsbury or something. Something.**

Anyhow.

Lyon, of course, is captivated by Adeline. Determined to scale the walls around her heart and claim her undying love. *fans self*

In response, Adeline offers him friends with benefits. 

I may have loved the heroine even more than the actual story.

Five stars, Amelia Grey!  I’ll be reading Gone with the Rouge as soon as possible.


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