Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Harlequin Historical (February 22, 2022)

From Goodreads.com:  The earl she loved to hate

…until she stayed in his mansion!

Sophie Gilbert has thwarted the standoffish new earl’s plans to sell his country estate and the quaint village that forms part of it. But when disaster strikes and he offers her refuge, she must reconsider everything about this vexing, determined man. After the heartbreak in her past, it’s a revelation to feel her pulse racing and her body yearning for his touch… 

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I REALLY wanted to like this one more than I did, but there were just a lot of things that killed it for me. 

To begin with, I never bought into the romance between Sophie and Rafe. In fact, I much preferred it when they were at odds with each other as I felt that it made for a much more interesting dynamic. At least then it made sense for him to think of her as a witch, and for them to butt heads as often as they did. 

But then her aunt and Rafe are injured in a fire, and no one blinks an eye when he moves both her and her aunt into his house with him and his brother. I understand that the aunt was injured, but surely it would have been closer to move her into the home of one of the other villagers? It was a highly improper living arrangement, and as gossip minded as some of the villagers were, should have been turned into a scandal unto itself. However, it seemed to be glossed over to the sake of putting our two main characters into close proximity to one another. And for what? Even after they sleep together she still steadfastly refuses to be in a relationship with him beyond the physical. He still thinks of her as a witch. They still butt heads (although his brother Archie quickly moves into the spotlight as favorite character during this time).

It isn't until later on that it is suggested to Sophie by those same older, gossip mongering old crones that she seduce Rafe in order to get what they, as a village, want. Which sadly would have made more sense if that is how the author had chosen to go about it. I mean instead of her being the "wanton" she claims to be because once upon a time she was in love, what if she had seduced him for the sake of the village and then fell in love? To me that would have been a more interesting (and believable) story-line. 

Despite the issues that I had personally with this one, I am sure it will still appeal to those who enjoy historical romances set in small villages. 

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.

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                    The Earl's Inconvenient Houseguest is available from Amazon.com