Hey Ya’ll! I am back from submission hell with a review on a sweet little romance read. This book achieves my Chain Mail Rating, three out of five stars (see my post ‘Don’t Attack the Sundae,’ if my rating system confuses you).
The Earl of Sunderland is well written novel of love in the midst of tragedy and letting go of the past to seize the future. Grace’s mother dies giving birth to Grace’s brother, leaving Grace to care for her distraught father and newborn brother. Years later she meets Christopher who, soon thereafter, experiences a loss of his own. In order to find their happily ever after, Christopher must lay down the ghost of war and embrace his new title as Earl, and Grace must defeat the trauma of her past while trusting the Earl will not wrench away her freedom.
Jane Austen would be proud. It is very clear the author views Ms. Austen as an inspiration.
We, as women writers, often forget there was a time when we couldn’t publish under our own name. Being a female author was tacky, and it was illegal to even sign a publishing contract. The author beautifully executes a parallel of Austen and the main character Grace. Austen’s quotes adorn many of the novel’s chapters, the work of an author seeking independence in a time woman had very little. Grace fears losing her independence if she marries.
The theme of actual love being a release and not a shackle is as gracefully presented as Grace herself. It is a beautiful and romantic read which still manages to achieve a presentation of realism. The novel itself evokes the memories many of us have as young woman curled up with a classic romance novel dreaming of love. There is a subtle heat which writhes just under the surface of the books pages which is powerful and wild, a difficult task to achieve. The dialogue and language are also historical accurate and flows at a nice pace.
The only real criticisms I have with the book are two. First, the length is too short for my taste (oh how I wish the story wasn’t over so soon). Although, I believe the characters appear in other works by the author. Secondly, the Wicked Earl’s Concept is presented with vagueness which distracts from the storyline rather than contributing. If the concept had been expanded upon and integrated more, I feel it would’ve been a better fit.
I agree with other reviews that the novel is more sweet than wicked. Still, the novel is a very satisfying read.
I’ll be posting a blog tomorrow about my submission hell from this weekend.
[Please note, in exchange for a free copy of the novel, I agreed to provide a HONEST review.]