My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading “A Rogue By Any Other Name,” which stars Penelope Marbury and is absolutely amazing, I couldn’t wait for the next book in the trilogy starring Penelope’s bookish little sister, Philippa. Sarah MacLean has a way with words, and her heroines are almost always irresistible (even when the rest of the story is … not that great).
This book did not disappoint. I wasn’t expecting it to be as wonderful as “A Rogue,” and I was quite surprised to realize that it almost was.
We meet Philippa in “A Rogue,” and learn that she is a studious (nerdy) young woman who is engaged to a rather dim-witted earl. It’s a good match, but those closest to Philippa worry that her fiance is all wrong for her. That concern carries over into “Every Good Earl,” and this time it’s Pippa who is giving action to that concern… kind of. (Although at this point I don’t think she fully acknowledges what a bad match this actually is.)
In the very first scene, she shows up in the office of Mister Cross, one of the owners of an infamous gaming hell, and asks him if he’d take her virginity and teach her about sex so that she can make the most of her sex life with her soon to be husband.
Though Cross refuses – vehemently – they do strike an odd friendship. Perhaps friendship is too strong a word. Basically, Pippa keeps pestering him in only the most adorable ways possible, and Cross tries to dodge her without trying as hard as he might have otherwise. And in the meantime, Pippa learns a great deal about relationships and men and romance and sex and, yes, even prostitutes.
While not a light-hearted romp, the banter between the characters is quite enjoyable and it’s impossible not to laugh along with Pippa’s antics as she unknowingly drives Cross absolutely out of his mind. And Cross is a wonderful hero in a very quiet, understated way. The scenes at the Fallen Angel are memorable and touching and exciting all at once, and their complicated relationship builds the tension higher and higher until MacLean resolves it beautifully.
I couldn’t have wished for a better story for dear, sweet Pippa. This was every bit as wonderful as I had every reason to believe it would be.
Many thanks to Avon and Edelweiss for the ARC!