Charis Michaels makes her Avon Impulse debut with the first book in her new historical romance series, The Bachelor Lords of London…featuring a brooding earl and the American heiress who charms him.
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Earl Next Door by Charis Michaels
Series: The Bachelor Lords of London #1
Published by HarperCollins on March 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, Regency, General
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
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…
Also in this series: The Virgin and the Viscount, One for the Rogue
Also by this author: The Virgin and the Viscount, One for the Rogue
Trevor Rheese is the reluctant new Earl of Falcondale. After years of obligations abroad he now has the freedom to pursue his long delayed dreams. All he wants is to leave behind the gloomy bitterness of England and to be alone. What Trevor wants and what he needs proves to be two completely different things.
The beautiful and effervescent American heiress Miss Peity Grey moves next door to Trevor’s London townhouse and, quite literally, comes barging into his life. Like a moth to a flame, Trevor is unable to resist Peity’s charms. Try as he might, he cannot stop himself from spending time with her, nor is she willing to forgo every opportunity to needle the curmudgeonly earl. Soon Trevor goes from begrudgingly assisting Piety with the renovations on her dilapidated new home to scheming to protect her from the unsavory machinations of her family. As Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy would say, he was in the middle before he even knew he had begun.
Neither party wants to want the other, yet they are exactly what the other needs. The rapport between the two characters leaps off the page. Even when they are disagreeing, there is a mutual admiration behind their heated words. Every scene with Trevor and Piety is well paced and interesting, whether it be a chess match or a bone-melting kiss. The intimacy between them develops naturally, first with honesty and forthright communication leading into a more physical relationship. I absolutely LOVE the conversations and banter between them.
The road blocks to Piety and Trevor’s happiness are many and varied — from meddling neighbors to disgustingly cruel relations and past evils. Miscommunication and desire are never an obstacle, however. Trevor is honest with Piety about his plans and how they impossibly conflict with the future she desires for herself. Trevor struggles to reconcile his plans with his growing feelings for Piety, as she learns loving Trevor means letting him go. Problem is, Trevor’s not no sure he wants to leave anymore and it’s his own stubbornness that thwarts his chance for love.
Regarding the secondary characters, I would have liked a bit more about exactly why Piety’s mother was so venomous towards her, it was understood but I think Piety needed to hear that it was not her fault. The foul Limpett brothers were effective villains, but I think that five might have been too many as their individual characteristics sometimes became muddled. Marchioness Frinfrock is perfect — nosey, bossy, cranky perfection.
The pairing of Trevor and Piety is an absolute delight. I love a brooding, grumpy hero who is unable to resist a disarming, vivacious lady. Piety gives Trevor hope and light while he provides her with respect and undying devotion.
The various threads of the plot flow seamlessly together, with excellent pacing. Add to that the engaging and well developed characters and The Earl Next Door becomes a novel worthy of adding to the top of any To Be Read List. I’m excited to read more from author Charis Michaels, her talent for marrying humor and heart are sure to be evident in her future novels, as is her skill with plotting and dialogue.
Excerpt from The Earl Next Door
“I dare say your planters are the most beautiful for several blocks, my lady,” Miss Breedlowe said after a moment. “Do you direct your gardener in their care?”
“They are not the loveliest on their own accord, of that you can be sure.”
“How talented you are.”
The marchioness snorted. “You can but see what becomes of a garden when left unattended, even for a week. Just look at the deplorable state of Lord Falcondale’s flower boxes and borders, if you can bear it. Such an eyesore.”
“Oh, yes. The new earl. Which house is it?”
“Number 24. There. Directly across the street. It’s been in his family for an age.” She gently tapped the window with her cane. “His late uncle, the previous Lord Falcondale, paid fastidious attention to the upkeep of those planters. Tulips and ivy mostly, this time of year. Simple flowers, really. No effort to maintain, but perfectly lovely if kept headed and weeded, which he did. Not to mention his staff swept the steps and stoop several times a day, even in the damp. But now his far-flung nephew has inherited, and I fear the entire property will fall into disrepair.”
“Hmmm,” said Miss Breedlowe. “That would be a great shame.”
“Doubtless it seems like a small thing to you, but this sort of irresponsibility can bring about the demise of order and calm in a quiet street like our Henrietta Place. It doesn’t help that Number 22,” she gestured again, “next door to Falcondale’s, has been unoccupied and for sale these last five years. The house agents keep it up, but there’s no substitute for the loving care of a devoted owner and staff.”
“To make matters worse, the new earl is completely unresponsive to neighborly suggestion. I dispatched Samuel to speak to his gardener, only to be told that the man has let him go, the careless sod.”
“Dismissed his gardener?”
“He sacked the whole lot. I’ve since learned that every servant has been turned out. Now I ask you, how is a house of that size to be maintained without staff?”
“I can only guess, my lady, but do take care. It would not warrant your becoming overset.” She ventured small steps toward the marchioness.
“The demise of order and calm.” Lady Frinfrock tsked, waving her away and rising slowly from her chair. She plodded to the window. “The demise of order and calm.”
As if on cue, a carriage, buffed to a sun-sparkling sheen, whipped around the corner, thundering down the cobblestones from the direction of Welbeck Street.
“Who the devil could this be?” the marchioness whispered. She drew so near to the window, her breath fogged the glass. The carriage careened toward them at a breakneck pace, slowing slightly as it neared Lady Frinfrock’s front window. With eyes wide, the marchioness watched it jostle past her house and well beyond the weed-ridden planters of Falcondale’s front door. Only when it reached the unoccupied house at Number 22 did it lurch to a stop, the coachman yanking the reins as if his life depended on it.
“Such traffic in the street today,” mumbled Miss Breedlowe.
“Nonsense,” said Lady Frinfrock, her eyes pinned on the carriage. “There is no traffic in Henrietta Place. Not on this day or any day. Such recklessness? A conveyance of this size? It’s wholly irregular!”
“Indeed. Perhaps a neighbor is expecting out-of-town guests?”
“No relation to the occupants of this street could afford a vehicle so grand,” she said. “Except, of course, for me. And I have no relatives.”
“Not even the new earl, Lord Falcondale?”
The marchioness harrumphed. “He cannot even afford a gardener.”
The carriage door sprang open, and Lady Frinfrock leaned in.
“Oh, look,” said Miss Breedlowe, cheerful interest in her voice. “It’s a young woman. How beautiful she is. And her gown. And hat,” she marveled. “Oh, she’s brought someone with her. A companion. Hmm. Perhaps a servant?” Her voice went a little off, and she crooked her head to the side, studying the two women collecting in the street.
About Author Charis Michaels
CHARIS MICHAELS is thrilled to be making her debut with Avon Impulse. Prior to writing romance, she studied Journalism at Texas A&M and managed PR for a trade association. She has also worked as a tour guide at Disney World, harvested peaches on her family’s farm, and entertained children as the “Story Godmother” at birthday parties. She has lived in Texas, Florida, and London, England. She now makes her home in the Washington, D.C.-metro area.