Title: The Earl Next Door
Author: Amelia Grey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 2019
Length: 294 pages
Series?: The Cavensham Heirresses #5
Genre: Historical Romance
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?
This is the first book in the series and the characters are connected. The ladies featured in each book in the series and series set-up are introduced. They are a compelling group of women.
Adeline is the Dowager Countess of Wake. She is a young widow who lost her husband at sea. She isn’t in any way a traditional female of the time. Even though she is a widow, she isn’t searching for a husband as many would in her situation. She is a feisty spitfire of a thing and speaks her mind.
As the countess, she was expected to produce an heir. She was in an almost cruel and loveless marriage and forced to stay at the country estate. She has returned to London and everything has a bit of that new glimmer to it.
Adeline meets two other young widows whose husbands died alongside her own. Together, the three have decided to open a school for young girls whose fathers died in the shipwreck. There is little future for these girls and their families without a male supporting them. The three women are now quite wealthy and can fund such a venture. It is Adeline’s dream and she has all of the right things in place to fulfill it.
Except for her rude and judgmental neighbor, Lord Lyon, the Marquess of Marksworth. The opening scene of the book is like a comedy of errors. These comedic scenes cracked me up – although the characters didn’t think they were funny in the least. In fact, they were quite vexed. Lyon “introduces” himself by barging into Adeline’s home. She had just received a box by mistake. Piqued by curiosity, she tries on the sexy red stays over her gown and twirls around. Enter Earl stage left, angry and lathered, accusing Adeline of running a brothel. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot! But this sets the tone for their future encounters.
Lyon is a man who likes quiet and order to his world. He is the only son of the marquess. His father has been pestering him to marry and produce an heir for almost a decade. Lyon refuses to marry unless he falls in love. It has yet to happen. There are no women that pique his interest in a spend-a-lifetime-with kind of way. Until Adeline, who has vowed to never remarry after her terrible and abusive marriage. When Adeline opens her school, there are young girls laughing and making noise almost constantly right in his backyard.
Lyon quickly realizes he wants Adeline in his life, but she does not want to marry. He won’t accept that, so Adeline boldly proposes they become lovers. There is attraction and heat between the two and Lyon is determined to make Adeline see his side of things.