Review: Defying the Earl (Lords in Love #4) by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 221 pages
Publisher: Webmotion (April 21, 2023)

From Miss Matilda Dodd refuses to be any man’s property. She’s a month shy of her majority, and cannot wait to live life on her own terms. Rather than meet her unwanted new guardian as instructed, she attends a ball and comes kiss-to-kiss with an adorably befuddled handsome lord instead. But the grumpy, sexy stranger turns out to be the new guardian, hell-bent on marrying her to someone else!

Titus Noble, the Earl of Gilbourne, is an emotionless, rigid automaton who lives for predictability and order. There is no room in his exacting schedule for a ridiculous matchmaking festival, and there is no room in his peaceful life for an unexpected ward. The only solution is to marry the chit to the first fool willing take the hoyden off the earl’s hands. That is, if Titus can keep his hands off his maddening, kissable ward…


My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Normally, I am a fan of this author and her stories, but this one just missed the mark on a lot of levels. 

To begin with, I found it very hard to connect with any of the characters in the story. Throughout most of the book Titus is a tyrant (yes, he has his reasoning for it unbeknownst to Matilda), but he has a tendency to glare at her, grunt instead of respond, or talk about her to others as though she's not even there. Eventually, he starts to do things for her (like take her to balls and all of the nonsense he should do as someone who wants her married ASAP and out of his hair), but even then, he doesn't really talk to her or interact with her in any way; instead, he glares at all the eligible men who ask her to dance. Because you know, he's fallen in love with her even though there is really no reason for it other than he is surly and people avoid him, and she doesn't (although not by her own choice as she is his ward after all). 

Matilda is crafted as the antithesis of Titus. Despite having suffered the loss of her family, and fears of her own, she throws herself into society while Titus hides away. She is sunshine where he is rainstorms. She claims to have plans for herself once she comes into her inheritance (but doesn't actually have concrete plans once she meets Titus and decides she is in love with him). Honestly, I excepted more from her. At least give her a backbone.... or at the very least an actual friend in the ton (which she claimed she wanted to make, and then... doesn't expect for one girl close to her age who only shows up when it's convenient to move a plot point along). 

And I think one of the main reasons that this one didn't work for me was because we don't really see Titus and Matilda getting along and developing a connection except here and there because the story has so many time skips. Sure, it moves the story along, but when the couple only has three weeks to get to know each other while Titus supposedly looks to marry her off to the first eligible bachelor he can find; then suddenly a week passes with nothing happening other than us being told a week passed? It makes the entire thing read more like a rushed novella than a fully fleshed-out story. 

There was also an (again, in my opinion) missed opportunity to use Matilda's bully to drive a wedge between them (or at least cause some drama). Instead, she was such an over-the-top shrew that Titus was able to nip her involvement in the story before it had a chance to mean anything. 

Overall, even though this one didn't work for me, I know there are people who will enjoy it much more, and because I know what this author is capable of, I will continue to read more of her works.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                           Defying the Earl  is available on

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