by Amelia Grey
Series: First Comes Love #1
Published on May 28, 2019 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
What does a Wickedly Wonderful Widow really want? One noble suitor is about to find out. . .
Adeline, Dowager Countess of Wake, is all on her own after her husband’s sudden death. The good news? Losing him allowed her to find herself. Finally, Adeline is free to do, go, and be as she pleases. She cherishes her newfound independence and is not looking for another man to wed. But seeking out a new lover? Well, that is a whole ’nother story. . .
Lord Lyon, son of the two-timing Earl of Marksworth, wishes to have a respectable, loving wife someday. When he meets the beautiful and self-reliant Adeline, Lyon is instantly smitten. But Adeline would rather have the handsome suitor in her bed than to take his hand in marriage. It’s a scandalous proposal—and one that’s hard for Lyon to refuse. Unless the fire of his passion can melt Adeline’s resolve. . .and he can find a way to be the Wickedly Wonderful Widow’s lover for all time?
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I’m at odds about The Earl Next Door. By the end, I liked the book as a whole and would recommend it, but there were certain aspects that didn’t sit quite right as I was reading.
First and foremost, if you’re looking for a strong plot in a romance then you’re not going to find that here. The Earl Next Door is primarily focused on the interactions between Adeline, a widow new to the neighborhood, and her neighbor, Lyon, son of an Earl and nephew to a nosy aunt and her friend across the street. Usually, I prefer more story in my romances but in this case it worked out and I didn’t really mind the shift. With the exception of the last 30% or so, which lagged a bit for me.
Adeline and Lyon had some serious insta-lust with plenty of sexual tension hiding under the real tension caused by Adeline’s girl’s school (run by her and 2 other widows) sitting almost in Lyon’s backyard. I really enjoyed their back and forth over noise complaints, when the neighbor across the street thinks Adeline is running a brothel (and sends Lyon to investigate), and all the other mishaps in between. Parking issues? That was a thing. I absolutely laughed out loud at a few choice scenes.
And then they started noticing that there were other feelings underneath the barbs flying back and forth. I liked Adeline well enough until the relationship started taking hold. She’s a strong woman trying to make her way in the world, where being passionate about what you love wasn’t always acceptable by society, and on top of that she underwent emotional and physical abuse because of her former husband that put her off marriage. This became an issue with her relationship with Lyon, but I felt like her aversion to marriage was really an aversion to trying to have a child and often her arguments that stirred up drama didn’t ring quite true.
Lyon had a tendency to overreact. . . a lot, and it came off as a means to keep the story going rather than in-character for him, especially compared to how he acts for the rest of the book. But beyond that, I liked that he could keep up with Adeline’s sharp tongue but didn’t let her steamroll him either. That he stood his ground and didn’t just want to be her lover, but wanted to be in a respectable marriage with her because he valued her that much, really stood out to me for a male romance protagonist. He was a bit forceful with her to start out but quickly backed off and I felt like he truly cared about her and her feelings.
Though the book had a few elements that weren’t quite working for me, I ultimately enjoyed it and would definitely pick up the sequel. I have a feeling this is going to be a fun series, especially if it follows the other two widows.