Okay, ya’ll (and yes I say ya’ll because I’m southern). Here is the review of the most recent book I read and reviewed for booktasters. Again, if you’ve read my earlier post “Don’t Attack the Sundae,” you know that thanks to Mr. Vonnegut, I have a rating system for books from ‘Ice Cream Sundae’ to what I’m calling ‘Mithril.’ This book gets a solid Full Plate Mail rating from me (basically four out of five stars).
The “Earl and the Enchantress” is everything you want in a romance novel, coupled with an unexpected yet satisfying journey into deeper themes. Lizbeth and her sister, Charlotte, embody the classical divergent points on women’s rights. Charlotte, the social butterfly, yearns for a husband to take care of her and provide status, which she finds in her Duke. However, Lizbeth is dedicated to avoiding marriage altogether, content to be in control of her own destiny and experience life through the safety and confines of the books she adores. Lizbeth meets her match in the Earl, who matches her intelligence and abhorrence of social norms. Moreover, the Earl’s attentions draw out a part of Lizbeth she’s never known.
The surprising twist as a reader is the traditional formulaic romance novel is shattered. The ‘happily ever after’ isn’t achieved with the marriage of the characters occurring halfway through the story, but instead through a true test of their relationship. The Earl harbors a dark secret he believes will push Lizbeth away for good. When the secret is revealed, Lizbeth not only accepts him, but finds the truth of the secret, leading to a gratifying ending. Thus, this novel highlights how love can cast away the darkness of soul and mind.
The writing itself is flawless (even my old university English teacher, who deducted a letter grade per error, couldn’t find fault with this novel). The verbiage is at times highly intellectual, which provides a delightful challenge for the educated mind.
Every character is dynamic. Even the stodgy mother-in-law shows growth.
Some critiques of this novel reference historical inaccuracies. To those critics, I say, it is a work of Fiction, and any inaccuracy doesn’t take anything away from the story.
My only complaint is the swiftness with which Lizbeth and the Earl agree to marry. The ‘romancing’ of Lizbeth is so carefully crafted that I wanted to see the ultimate moment of choice detailed a little more. In fact, upon opening the book, I thought it too long for a romance novel, but every page is certainly worth the effort.
Until next time Lords and Ladies!
[Please note, in exchange for a free copy of the novel, I agreed to provide a HONEST review.]