How to Entice an Earl by Manda Collins

February 13, 2013
Lordy, lordy,'s time for a group hug!

I love historical romance novels.  Always have, always will.  I've read them for a l-o-n-g time, so it would be fair to say I've seen my fair share of lords and ladies.  Some of them correctly titled and some of them not - some of them correctly addressed and some of them not.  Even though I have a copy of Jo Beverley's nobility title "how to" instructions, I do not keep it by my bedside...nor do I easily spot incorrect titles.  All that is leading up to my take on the third in the Ugly Duckling series by Manda Collins, How to Entice an Earl.

I have read the previous two in this series, and I found them charming.  Even with the "group rescue" in the last one, I was looking forward the Christian and Maddie's story.  Or should I say Lady Madeline Essex and Colonel Lord Christian Monteith aka Earl of Gresham.  And, here is where I ran into some problems.  There was a plethora of lords and ladies in this story.  There was Cecily, Duchess of Winterson; Juliet, Lady Deveril; Lord Fielding, Lord Lawrence Tretham, the Duke of Endover, Lord Phillip Byrnes, etc.  It was Lady Madeline this or Lord James that, Lord Snool said this to Lady was very distracting.  I was almost to the point where I was going to start counting the number of times the title Lord or Lady was used, but decided against it.  So, when I finished the story, I analyzed my reaction to all the lording.  I'm sure it's not the first time I've been inundated with aristocracy.  Although, I have to say I was thrown out of the story right from the beginning because the title waving was in the very beginning of the story and the use of it seemed awkward.  But, I might have overlooked all the lords a leapin' if I had liked the heroine better.

Maddie, disguised during the day as a mild-mannered plain stubborn girl also has the ability to turn into a super heroine.  Super Maddie, able to sneak in and out of her house, go to dens of iniquity, make friends with prostitutes, dress in sleazy clothes,leap tall buildings, and capture killers.  Along with her trusty sidekick our hero Christian, who just cannot say no to this rash woman.  Maybe it's because she let's him imbibe of her "Lucy and Ethel" at parties.  There were just too many things about Maddie that were far-fetched.  How she can do her super heroine fetes was beyond me, she still lives with her parents for Pete sake.  And, these are not the normal standard absentee romance parents, these are strong in-your face what are you doing parents.  She claims to be concerned with her reputation, however, we are supposed to believe she can leave the house without proper chaperon, hop into a carriage with Christian and attend a tawdry party with lascivious people and at that same party partake in a big wet kiss with Christian and not have anyone find out about it. 

I didn't quite understand the family dynamics of this story, especially since the parents were painted so strong one moment and then left in oblivionland the next moment.  And, while I'm on the topic of parents, the back story of the abusive-but-only-when-he-drinks father was also a distraction.  I'm not sure why it was in this story.  It seems he had/has a mistress and some children by her.  And by the way Maddie and her brother used to play with these children when they were young.  But, I didn't see any connection with this particular story.  Maybe this made Maddie the super heroine she is today.  I can only think that this side family is going to show up in their own series.

I was disappointed in How to Entice an Earl.  While Christian had a promise of being a nice hero, Maddie was quite close to being a TSTL heroine.  She was not a "different" heroine, but reckless, stubborn and just might have multiple personalities.

Time/Place: Regency England


nath said...

I was initially intrigued by this series, but when I tried reading the first book, I just wasn't hooked, so in the end, never read this author. Do you think I should give it another go?

SidneyKay said...

nath: I always like to give new authors a chance. A lot of times, I will give them more latitude. I can only say this about this series, if you want to read it I'd check it out of the library before investing. I was disappointed in this third entry, but I'm not ready to give up on Ms. Collins yet.