Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle

EARL
Meet the Earl at Midnight by Gina Conkle
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (393 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

It’s going to take a Beast to tame this Beauty

Enigma Earl. The Phantom of London. That’s what the gossip pages call Lord Edward Greenwich, a mysterious nobleman who doesn’t show his face in London Society. With a reputation like that, no wonder Lydia Montgomery is horrified to be dragged from bed and packed off to live with him to save her mother from penury.

While Lydia has received all of the training a lady should endure, she’s decidedly un-ladylike. She despises her corset and isn’t interested in marriage. She’d prefer to remain unmarried and spend her time improving her art. But if she wants a chance at happiness, she’ll have to set aside her fear of the earl and discover the man hiding behind the beast.

Will Edward and Lydia’s greatest discovery be each other before time runs out?

Right from the first chapter I was intrigued because the hero and heroine met in a most secretive, unusual and rather unsavory manner. The beginning of their relationship certainly wasn’t normal but the dance between man and woman, and the subsequent attraction and seduction is as old as time.

Edward, the hero, starts off being mysterious. What I gradually learned about him leant a layer of depth to his character and put me solidly in his corner. He’s actually a brave, noble and lonely man who takes his passion for living and turns it to plants. He’s a smart guy with horticulture but is totally out of his emotional depth when it comes to trusting and loving a woman. The best sentence in the whole book is, “Give my friend his life back.” Such a simple sentence but it’s profound. What I learned about the hero right before that was said truly presented me with a man that absolutely, positively deserved a happy ever after. Even if I had not read that scene, all the interactions with Lydia throughout the book gradually showed me the measure of the man. He earns the title of ‘hero’.

Lydia is a fighter. She’s not some lily-livered, weak and insipid woman. She’s a heroine in the truest sense of the word. She stands up for herself, is willing to compromise on some things but proves her mettle against some very strong personalities. The most strident was Edward’s mother. What a dragon!

Lydia also has a secret agenda that, once revealed, actually helps create a bond that propels the budding romance between her and Edward forward. My favorite characteristic of her personality is that she’s a problem solver and constantly comes up with solutions to the issues that plague her and eventually Edward too. She’s the perfect counterbalance for the hero.

I know I said that the hero’s mother is a dragon but in her own crabby way, she loved him too. I liked how the author found a way to make an ally out an enemy and in doing so, healed a family that was thought all but broken. It was another type of happy ever after that I appreciated.

Most of the conflict in this story is personal, between the main characters, with some of the secondary characters, and of course some internal angst spiced up the struggle too. I guess that means this is a character driven story. They sure had enough interesting baggage to wade through between them all; it was fascinating reading trying to figure out how it would all be resolved.

If a reader likes sensual buildup, Meet the Earl at Midnight has it in spades. The reason it takes so long for the two of them to get together is the deal. But sticking to the arrangement becomes a problem for both of them – they come to the realization that they don’t want to wait. I practically felt the sexual frustration sizzle off of the pages. When they finally, FINALLY sate their desire, it was well worth the wait – very romantic.

I enjoyed reading Meet the Earl at Midnight and recommend it to historical romance fans. The novel thoroughly explores a unique relationship between two dynamic but opposite personalities and presents an entertaining and clever journey of love, discovery and the proving of the old adage that “love conquers all”, even stubborn, mule-headed heroes.

Comments

  1. Yay for Historicals 🙂 Beautiful cover, love the colors!

  2. Fabulous review! I have read a book by Gina, but haven’t had a chance to read this one. I will be adding it to my TBR.
    I enjoy books with personal conflict. They usually make for very interesting reads. 🙂

  3. Xeranthemum says:

    I agree, Eva – but what is INSIDE is even better. 😉

  4. Xeranthemum says:

    Aww, thanks for the compliment on my review, Tina B! 🙂
    I really thought that Lydia was a true heroine in the story – she had her work cut out for her in trying to save Edward from himself. She was one smart cookie. 🙂

  5. Loved your review! Cannot wait to read this story! 🙂

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