American heiress Piety Grey is on the run. Suddenly in London and facing the renovation of a crumbling townhouse, she’s determined to make a new life for herself—anything is better than returning to New York City where a cruel mother and horrid betrothal await her. The last thing she needs is a dark, tempting earl inciting her at every turn…
Trevor Rheese, the Earl of Falcondale, isn’t interested in being a good neighbor. After fifteen years of familial obligation, he’s finally free. But when the disarmingly beautiful Piety bursts through his wall—and into his life—his newfound freedom is threatened…even as his curiosity is piqued.
Once Piety’s family arrives in London, Falcondale suddenly finds himself in the midst of a mock courtship to protect the seductive woman who’s turned his world upside down. It’s all for show—or at least it should be. But if Falcondale isn’t careful, he may find a very real happily ever after with the woman of his dreams…
How the book starts doesn’t give a reader a decent hint as the hilarity, romance and fascinating dialogue that ensues as a reader meets all the players on stage. Piety, Trevor, Miss Baker, Ms. Breedlowe, and the crusty but loveable Lady Frinfrock, are all delightful and I enjoyed every single moment visiting with them.
Piety is the unconventional American heiress who comes to England to escape the machinations of a mother who is a parent in name only. How wretched and callous that woman is can only be appreciated upon reading her dialogue and viewing her actions. The author convinced me that the heroine was wise to run. Add in her evil, icky step-brothers and it’s almost like a twisted Cinderella story.
Trevor is a grumpy bug. His early life was not a picnic and now he’s doing everything he can think of to live as opposite a life as he knows how. On one hand, he’s honest, sometime too honest and that causes one of the conflicts later. And when he becomes less than honest, with the best possible of intentions, well, that causes conflict too. He doesn’t follow his heart and it’s almost his downfall. I liked Trever. I cracked up when he tried to tell himself, not to ask, not to make it his problem, not to look, not to want – but he always does and the results have him falling in love and lust with Piety even more. It was fun to watch.
There’s plenty of internal conflict that both Piety and Trevor have to work through but it’s the external conflict from a man that’s like a Greek mafia boss which really brings the tension and worry to a fever pitch. He’s a great addition because not only does he provoke drama and suspense, he prods the hero to do the right thing, even if it’s one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. An effective evil villain brings out the white knight in the best of heroes and Trevor passed with flying colors – and a few flying fists. And a knife – can’t forget the knife because the author used it effectively and deserves a mention.
Some readers might think that everyone fell in love with Piety too easily, and their acting so protective of her so quickly and thoroughly was a bit unrealistic. I found her likability delightful and it made this story more upbeat, positive, a pleasure to read. I like to think that the marchioness’s ability to size a person up was razor sharp and she astutely determined that the heroine was worth her trust and sponsorship. Certainly I enjoyed her wit when it came to dealing with Piety’s horrid parent.
The Earl Next Door is truly delightful. Ms. Michaels has penned a winner with characters who are engaging and charming and a story that completely entertains. I enjoyed myself immensely and will not hesitate to recommend this novel to anyone who asks.