Thank you to St Martins Press for the gifted copy of How to Train Your Earl
This year I’ve been dipping my toes more and more into the world of historical romance novels (thanks, Bridgerton). When I read the description for How To Train Your Earl, it sounded different to all the historical romances I had read – it featured a widow, which I expected would create more emotional complexity. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.
Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.
Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?
This. book started out promising – Brina met Zane in bizarre circumstances and clearly was a headstrong woman. However, her character really lost this stubbornness and bravery as the plot went forward. The whole premise of the book revolves around Brina entering a bet with Zane – that he won’t be able to win her hand in marriage. I expected more stubbornness on Brina’s side, but she really rolled over and bent to Zane’s will quickly. The whole book felt like it was on autopilot after the first quarter. The couple really didn’t have any friction or much to make their relationship interesting. They just kind of fell in love and that was that. I also was hoping for more emotional complexity from Brina – who had previously lost her husband at sea. While there were some mentions of her widowhood and her lost husband, it really didn’t weigh heavily in the story.
Zane was just bland to me – he lacked a lot of character definition. He fell in instant love with Brina (which I did not enjoy) and by the end of the book all I really knew about him was that his main pass times were drinking and gambling and that he was bummed to not be able to do them. I would have liked a bit more out of his character than that. I also would have liked to see a bit more of his family – they seemed like the fun kind of trouble.
Overall, How to Train Your Earl was a historical romance flop for me. I wanted more tension and friction on Brina and Zane’s path to love, but instead it was a pretty generic love story. If you’re looking for an excellent historical romance, check out Bringing Down the Duke. 2/5