Review: True Love for the Reluctant Earl by Eleanor Keating


Print Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Publish Drive (January 4, 2022)

From When Edward was sent away from Bellham Manor to join the military after an argument with his father, he never expected to return to London. Forced back by his father's death - he must fulfil a mysterious stipulation or risk losing everything that’s rightfully his.

Having already lost one woman he loved dearly, Edward does not want to marry for convenience.

My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The weird thing about this book is that when I look, it says I borrowed it from Kindle Unlimited in October of 2022, yet the book no longer seems to be available on Amazon at all, nor is it still listed on Bookbub. 

And honestly, I can only hope that that means the author took it down in order to give it a good overhaul because lord, it needed one.

 Don't get me wrong the makings of a good story are there, we have Adelaide our headstrong female lead who loves nothing more than burying her nose in a good book to pass the time and Edward, newly returned Earl with a tragic past, and a big secret. A chance meeting at a masquerade ball is all it takes for these two to realize that neither one is what they have come to expect of the typical member of the ton, and they find that refreshing. An introduction and a few more meetings later, and they are convinced that they are perfect for each other, but of course, there are obstacles to be overcome on their way to happiness, including another very persistent suitor for Adelaide's hand. 

See? The bones are there, and there are moments when this story is really good. I liked that there were no sex scenes in this one, it was refreshing for once to not have our characters fall into bed together and call it "love".  I even enjoyed the stark contrast between Adelaide and Maria (the girl Edward's mother chose for him), as well as the contrast between Edward and Charles (the other man vying for her hand if it could be called that). And while I didn't particularly like either of Adelaide's parents, I could understand where they were coming from considering the time period and Adelaide's impending spinsterhood as overbearing parents is a trope I am well versed in. 

Now here are the things that didn't work for me. 

There are a few times (mostly earlier chapters) where the same thing is told from two different perspectives (one chapter from Edward's and one from Adelaide's), and while I completely understand that the author was trying to give us more of an insight into their emotions and what was going on inside of their head, I feel like a more condensed version would have worked better. I already know what happened and how they got to the point they did. I can tell from the context clues that they both enjoyed the encounter. I don't need to see it start to finish twice. 

How oblivious Adelaide's parents are when they want to be. We are told time and again how her mother watches her every move to make sure she is behaving as she should (and to later rake her across the coals for any slight misstep she might make), and yet she sneaks out of ballrooms not once, but twice and neither parent notices? She dances with Edward not once, but twice (and it is said numerous times in between how they look at each other) and yet her keen-eyed mother whose only goal is to see her daughter married doesn't notice the attentions of an Earl? In fact, Adelaide's supposed lack of interest in marriage is the driving force in her father trying to betroth her to a man she cannot stand, but she never once speaks up herself to point out that Edward has also expressed an interest in her? 

And finally, Adelaide's childish behavior when the secret comes out. Yes, it's a big one. And yes, it's intentionally sprung on her by Maria. But here is the thing. When Maria throws it in her face, Adelaide claims it is none of her concern as she hardly knows Edward (which is true, at this point they have had less then a dozen interactions with each other). Yet, when she goes outside her inner monologue is nothing but talk of how it was a "lie of omission" and "unacceptable behavior".  She even goes on wonder how he could have kissed her as though he loved her, if he could "lie" to her "so easily". And when Edward attempts to explain, she tells him that she doesn't want to hear his "excuses" and how a "betrayal" such as that was "unforgiveable".  

Seriously? You only met each other maybe a month prior, if that, and have never gotten the chance to know each other well enough for him to have the confidence to divulge such a secret to you.  And the way she just blew it out of proportion and refused to even listen to him made me dislike her to the point I didn't care if she was forced to marry the other man or not. For someone who was considered "almost a spinster" her attitude and actions there were that of a much younger girl, and as her mother would say, "entirely unbecoming". 

Oh, and one entirely trivial annoyance. I really, REALLY wanted to see Adelaide's father go back into the dining room and see the fall out once the truth had been revealed to him about her other suitor. I feel really let down that we didn't get to see ANY of that after being told time and again how formidable her father was. 

Despite all of that, this is a book I would have recommended if it were still available, and I hope, as I said, the author is revising it. I would be happy to give it a re-read should it be re-published with some changes later on. 

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