Book Review | Why Earls Fall in Love | Manda Collins

Murder, mayhem and the boundaries of social class. Book Review | Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins. www.readwithacuppa.com


Murder, Mayhem and the Boundaries of Social Class


Is murder a valid reason to cross the boundary lines of class?

 “Don’t you see, Mama?” Lydia said in a bored voice. “He’s smitten with the little companion. If it weren’t so revoltingly vulgar I’d say it was sweet.”
Lydia, Ch. 15, pg. 234, para. 3

Within the Leaves of Why Earls Fall in Love

London, England

The Prologue lets us, the reader, in on a terrible secret - The demise of the Duke of Ormond.

Though it was self defense, someone blames Perdita, the now widowed Duchess of Ormond, her sister Lady Isabella Wharton, and their friend Georgina Mowbray for his death and perpetrates an elaborate scheme to make them all pay dearly.

Now it’s Georgina’s turn.


“I know what you did last season.”
Letter, Ch. 1, pg. 17, para. 3

Bath, England

Georgina Mowbray is forced to find work as a Companion to Lady Russell after her husband was killed in the battle of Waterloo and left her with very little to live on. 

Lady Russell is celebrating her birthday with a week long family gathering and though Georgina is not family, she is invited to participate in many of the outings.

When she is not needed Georgina spends time in the company of a couple of other widows she knew while they were also ‘following the drum’.

Lady Russell’s nephew Dominick (Con), The Earl of Coniston, has already made the acquaintance of Georgina while he was engaged for a short time to her good friend Perdita, the young Dowager Duchess of Ormond.

With Georgina’s dowdy attire, severe look and lack of connections beyond her two noble friends, he never could quite figure out what, aside from charitable works the three woman had in common.


“From what he could remember, the widow had followed the drum with her husband, who had been killed in the war. It was a rough life for a woman, he knew, and now that he glimpsed the beauty beneath the serious demeanor, he wondered if perhaps her usual manner wasn’t something she used as a defense against unwanted attentions.”
Narrative, Ch. 1, pg, 23, para. 5

But when Georgina starts to act nervous and reluctantly confides to Con of having seen her dead husband in Lady Russell’s garden, his genuine concern for Georgina and his Aunt prompts him to look into matters.

His concern grows when he see’s this ‘ghost’ himself during a picnic outing and then later at the theater. Also, out of the blue Georgina is accused of stealing jewelry from Lady Russell and is promptly removed from her position.


“Georgie had been surprised at certain times in her life, but nothing prepared her for the shock she felt as she heard the housekeeper accuse her of stealing Lady Russell’s diamond and ruby cuff.”
Narrative, Ch. 15, pg. 230, para. 1

With murder in the air, mysterious threatening letters and someone out to ruin Georgina, Con, with the assistance of his good friend Lord Ashton and Georgina’s friends Perdita and Isabelle, will do whatever it takes to make sure she is safe and her reputation intact.

Can they discover the menace threatening Georgina before it finds her?

Sweet-Tea Rating for Book Title: 
 Sugar Lumps

I have previously read two of the Ugly Duckling series books by Manda Collins and greatly enjoyed them, so it was easy to pick up this one when I recognized the author’s name.

The Cast: 

I really enjoyed the blend of duty and decorum and lively wit and mind that made up Georgina. Her confidence in her femininity and abilities was refreshing in a story set in a time period when it was usually the men who took care of the ladies.

The supporting cast has a little bit of everybody in here:

      A couple of dashing heros (Con and Ash)
      Strong, intelligent woman (Georgina, Perdita, Isabella, Lady Russell)
      The ‘Dandy’ (Phillip)
      The ‘Spoiled Little Rich Girl’ (Lydia)
      And for fun the’ Randy Sisters’ (Take a peek in the drawing room on page 66 for them. You may get a bit of a shock!)

It was fun to read how each different personality interacted with the other.

Character I would most like to share a Cuppa with:

I would like to sit down and share a cuppa with Mr. Geoffrey Callow. I suspect I would learn the most amusing things about his family.


“Have you got lifts in your shoes? I thought -“ He broke off as his wife, none to gently, poked him in the ribs.
Geoffrey Callow, Ch. 1, pg. 20, para. 3

Element Ratings for Book Title

Story Flow: 
 


Much was made of how Bath was not the place to be. Being lacking in amusements and entertainments compared to Brighton and London. But over the coarse of the story, Bath was definitely not a boring place to be.

I found the flow read very natural as the story built itself up. The only jolt I experienced was when Con first met up with Lord Ashton at the Angry Piglet tavern. It just felt like a sudden jump to a character I was supposed to know, but didn’t.

Nail Biting: 


The challenge between Georgina and Con is set just before the end of Chapter 1.


“All right,” she said with a rueful smile. “But you must agree that if by the end of the week I still feel this way, then you will leave me at peace with my shyness”
Georgina, Ch. 1, pg, 30, para 2

Con, being a healthy, determined male could not resist such a challenge to steer Georgina to think better of him. The grounds were set, and you already know, that as the hero in the story he’s going to win.

I must say that Georgina has an excellent reason for her reticence, the nail biter here was in what chapter she would get over it.

HEA: 



Her:
“There was just something about Dominic, Lord Coniston, that made her want to unwrap his tidily knotted cravat and muss him up.”
Narrative, Ch. 13, pg. 206, para. 2

Him:
“What sort of man would make a beauty like Georgina dread any kind of physical closeness? A dead man, his memory reminded him. A dead man he wished he’d made that way,” 
Narrative, Ch. 4, pg. 78, para. 6

Georgie and Con had met in Book 1of this series, Why Dukes Say I Do, while he was engaged, all be it briefly, to Perdita so they were not strangers to each other at the beginning of this story. However, they didn’t get to know each other very well in the first book.

They did manage to build trust and respect in one another and have the benefit of a mutual circle of friends.

I believe this match is destined for a Happily Ever After.

Swoon: 


Dominic, Lord Coniston is an easy going, friendly and artistic soul. He does not simply ignore people who hold lower rank than himself, he converses with them. 

However, his male, upper echelon upbringing has kept him a little out of touch of the realities of being a female ‘commoner’.

Him:
“Con asked, puzzled by her stance. “But surely a husband brings something to the marriage as well. A home, an estate, security. Is that not enough?”
Con, Ch. 13, pg. 202, para. 3

Her:
“He brings those things only at his discretion. If he chooses, he might take them away from his wife on a whim. A wife is no more than another possession under English law.”
Georgina, Ch. 13, pg. 202, para. 4

His even temper and quick intellect keep him level headed during stressful situations and his natural humor makes him affable during mixed social ones.

I totally swooned over Con.

Emotion Coaster: 


I was caught up in the charming banter between Con and Georgina from the beginning. The prejudices they needed to overcome were set in the first book during Perdita and Con’s short lived betrothal.

I was intrigued by the experiences shared between Georgina, Lettice and Mary about being a wife who lived ‘following the drum’. It gave a basis of why these women think and feel about general society as they do.

I greatly admired the bonds of friendship that were strong and consistent throughout this story that carried over from the first book and I know will continue through to the third. It’s like being able to support friends through a tough time, that you have known for a while.

And what a twist at the end! That was NOT who I suspected.

Hot-Tea Rating for Book Title: 

This is not a story to read if you like them steamy. The physical act is left to your imagination, but the reader is along for the ride with the inner dialogue.


The Last Drop:

Though this is the first book in the trilogy I read, it is very much a stand alone story. It’s thoughtfully plotted storyline infused with rich characterizations and building intrigue kept me up way past my bedtime to finish.

I have since read Isabella and Perdita’s stories and though the plot line that binds the three books together is referenced throughout, at no time did I feel kept out of the loop when reading this one. 

I highly recommend Why Earls Fall in Love.



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Cheers,

     Gerry


Read the book review for Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins at https://www.readwithacuppa.com/2018/07/book-review-why-earls-fall-in-love.html

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