Book Review: How to Catch an Errant Earl

49216605Title: How to Catch an Errant Earl
Author: Amy Rose Bennett
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Pages: 336
Format Read: Ebook
Standalone or series: Book 2 of The Disreputable Debutantes series
Where I got the book: Netgalley
Date finished reading: March 19, 2020

Goodreads Description: After being expelled from a young ladies’ academy, it seems Miss Arabella Jardine will never find a well-connected husband. Not that she minds. A bluestocking at heart, she’d rather bury her nose in a medical text than wed. When Arabella is forced to accompany her family on a Grand Tour in Switzerland, she unexpectedly encounters the irresistible rakehell-in-exile, Gabriel, the Earl of Langdale. Arabella soon realizes the only thing worse than getting married to a charismatic but unrepentant rake would be to fall in love with him.

Dubbed the Errant Earl by the ton, Gabriel Holmes-Fitzgerald is no stranger to scandal. However, when Gabriel is caught in flagrante with the utterly delectable Arabella Jardine, he’s obliged to offer for her hand. He’ll endeavor to do the right thing even though he’s not a prize catch. He’ll certainly never let Arabella get close enough to discover the demons of his dark past. Indeed, there is one particular demon out to destroy Gabriel by exposing a long-buried family secret.

Soon Gabriel and Arabella find they are not just battling overwhelming desire, but in a fight to save their future together.

My Review: I am really grateful for nice period romance to help keep my mind off of reality. This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley.

How to Catch an Errant Earl is book two of a series. I had not read the first book in the series. While there were parts of the storyline I was curious about and was sure to have been explained in the first book, I felt that a reader could still engage with the romance between Gabriel and Arabella as a standalone.

While I did enjoy the characters of Gabriel and Arabella and their spicy romance, I felt that the pacing of the plot was a bit off. The first third of the story seemed to be telling a backstory of the characters without really revealing much, so I was a bit bored. However, the scene where Gabriel and Arabella meet for the second time, and Arabella fixes Gabriel’s dislocated shoulder is a great scene. It truly shows Arabella’s strength, which is what I believe is part of the reason that Gabriel is drawn to her. Then there is a crazy amount of action in the last quarter of the book: Gabriel’s mom shows up, Gabriel was spotted with an old flame, and Arabella is kidnapped. The kidnapping scene was exciting, but I found it hard to believe that any woman who had just been kidnapped and banged up because of her husband would just ignore the fact that her husband had been spotted with another woman just because he saved her and told her that he loved her, but maybe that is just me. I would have asked more questions.

I thought it strange that certain characters just disappeared. Gabriel spends half the storyline searching for his mother. When his mother appears, that character gets just a few pages and then we barely hear about her going forward. I would have also enjoyed bringing back Arabella’s horrible aunt just to see if someone would put her in her place.

I would have also been happier if Arabella’s “charitable” endeavors had been more defined. On more than one occasion she goes to spend time with an influential doctor to learn how she can move forward with her charitable endeavors, but we never really get to experience that interaction or what she intended to do in any real way that lives up to the character’s intelligence and ambition. She couldn’t be in charge of a clinic at that time, because she was a woman, but maybe she could have ran an orphanage. In the end it sounds like she more or less just threw some money around.

Though I found some weaknesses in this particular storyline, I believe the characters are strong enough to have a series based on them. I hope Olivia gets her man next…

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ 

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