Title: Enchanting the Earl
Author: Lily Maxton
Series: Townsends #1
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 17th April
Llynmore Castle is the only place Annabel Lockhart has ever considered home. For years, she’s been able to live as she wished, freely roaming the wild moors. Now there’s a new earl, as arrogant as he is handsome, and he wants her out. But if he thinks she’ll go quietly, he’s in for a surprise.
Theo Townsend returned from war a changed man. After unexpectedly inheriting an earldom and a secluded castle in the Scottish Highlands to go with it, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world—until he arrives to find a spirited, beautiful woman already in residence. He can’t just throw her out, but surely there’s a way to get her to leave on her own. The sooner she’s gone, the better, especially when he realizes there’s more than just mutual dislike between them.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Scandalous via NetGalley
While I found this an engaging read at times, I never fell in love with it and my attention wandered quite a bit throughout. There were moments when Annabel really got on my nerves and Theo felt a bit lacklustre, while all of the secondary characters were sadly underused. Then there were times when the plot picked up, pulling me in as I couldn’t see how certain things would turn out. So it’s was a mixed bag for me.
Annabel’s situation is normally one that would have me thoroughly on the side of the heroine. She’s been told to leave the only home she’s ever truly loved, her sister is in hiding and in danger and she sees no reason why she should go. Yet somehow, her manipulations and tricks didn’t work for me. I didn’t find them funny – I mostly found them annoying – and my main problem was that I felt sorrier for Theo than I ever did Annabel.
Theo is haunted by his years of war, not to mention wounded. He just wants some peace and quiet, and while he knows he can’t shut out his siblings, that doesn’t mean he has to put up with Annabel. Prickly, poking, pushy Annabel, who thinks provocation is the best way to deal with anything. He’s also a good man, and it’s fairly obvious from early on that he’s the sort to help out those in need (since he’s pretty reasonable about finding Annabel and her aunt alternative accommodations), so I kept wondering why Annabel didn’t ask for help with her sister.
Ah, that sister. The one who somehow manages to keep completely out of sight, along with her young daughter. I know the castle is big (although not so big that one servant can’t take care of everything), but you have four Townsends roaming the place, so I expected more to come of that. I also felt like the plot line was forgotten for most of the book until, suddenly, it becomes important. I would have liked more from that side of things.
I would have liked more from Theo’s siblings too, especially his sisters, who were rather interchangeable. His brother seemed promising at times, but like Annabel’s sister, they all just faded into the background for most of the book. Kind of like Theo’s earl status. I know he’s only just inherited the title, but I would have expected more business and work from him over that.
So in all this book was okay. It starts off well and ends strongly, although I did feel some things at the very end were dealt with far too easily, putting a rather rosy glow on everything. The middle dragged a bit for me and it would have been nice if the secondary characters had been developed more. Regardless, I’d still be interested in reading the next one, if only to see how the rest of the family turn out.
Enchanting the Earl is out April 17th.
Visit Lily Maxton for more details.