Review: The Last Earl Standing (The Impossible Balfours Book 2) by Gemma Blackwood - .Red Wine & Books

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Review: The Last Earl Standing (The Impossible Balfours Book 2) by Gemma Blackwood

  


Print Length: 152 pages
Publisher: Gemma Blackwood (December 27, 2019)

From Goodreads.com:  A bluestocking with a secret nom de plume and a dashing spy compete to uncover a scandal – and their undeniable attraction puts all their secrets at risk.

Lady Anthea Balfour has never had much luck with eligible gentlemen – and she’d have even less if they knew she was the infamous Lady X behind London’s most popular newspaper column. When not one but two wealthy earls suddenly insist on courting her, all her investigative instincts are on high alert. Something is amiss, and Lady X will be the first to expose the scandal.

The last thing she needs is a third earl’s attention distracting her from her task. Even if he happens to be the charming, handsome and mysterious Lord Streatham…

George Bonneville, Earl of Streatham, cannot afford any distractions from his secret mission for the Crown. His work as a spy is dark, dangerous, and leaves no room for romance. But when he meets the alluringly outspoken Anthea, their magnetic connection overturns all his plans.

George soon finds himself locked in a deadly game between three powerful lords. The winner will take Anthea’s hand – but only George can offer her the passion she deserves.

Fortunately, he is accustomed to winning. At any cost.

Now, if only he could discover the identity of that pesky Lady X who’s been slandering his name in the papers…

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was a sweet (and clean) romance that is short enough to be enjoyed in one sitting.  It also doesn't have to be read as part of the series, although characters from the other novels are mentioned. Unfortunately, it is also just like every other story of it's ilk leaving nothing that stands out amongst the crowd. 

The characters themselves were interesting enough, if not overly complex. I admit, when I first read about Anthea having a "double life" as a column writer "slandering" people's names in the paper - I had expected a much more sordid and salacious plot than a woman simply making observations. Case in point George escorts Anthea into supper and then immediately abandons her - and he is mad when the following day a column appears taking him to task for his behavior and treatment of her? That's hardly slander, especially when names weren't even mentioned. 

There were also a couple of instances where this story started to veer into the unbelievable, for example when George goes and takes the credit for something he didn't do and its easily accepted as truth when it's so obviously a lie. Or when he is out driving in an open phaeton with Anthea and he's positioned his arm so that he can touch her. Things like that especially just weren't done unless a betrothal was announced and even then it wasn't very likely. 

Despite those things, the story was still well-written and pulled me in from the start. I still have two more books to go in this series, and I am enjoying it enough to continue on with them. I am especially excited for the next book to see what kind of trouble Edith finds herself in this time!

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                                                    The Last Earl Standing is available from Amazon.com
                                                             (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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