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When Good Earls Go Bad by Megan Frampton

When Good Earls Go Bad: A Victorian Valentine's Day Novella - Megan Frampton

When Good Earls Go Bad was one of the stories that didn't work out for me, even though the premise was right up my alley. Annabelle, the heroine, is the co-owner of an agency for housekeepers, and a "fallen woman", who has to work as a housekeeper for the Scottish Earl Matthew.

The one element that is hit or miss is the narration. If you don't like the quirky narration of stories like Darynda Jones' First Grave on the Right, then I can almost promise you that you will not enjoy this one. Annabelle's quirky voice was a bit too much, even for me. I assume it might be the author's normal "voice", because even the uptight, "I don't like to waste time", Earl had a, admittedly still uptight, quirky voice. The narration made it feel as if the story was a Contemporary Romance in Regency clothing. - That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it threw me off a bit too often.

Maybe it's due to this that the characters were too much personifications of popular tropes than characters on their own; the rules-loving Matthew, who meets the adorably confused and chatty Annabelle. Even though the story employed new elements that would have otherwise stirred my interest (this would be a spoiler...) the author's voice was so strong that it prevented me from really feeling the story as a story. I was always aware that what I was reading was make-belief, and couldn't connect with the characters because of that.

But here lies my problem: Everything I might criticise is directly related to the fact that I never became emotionally invested in the story due to, or so I assume, the "I don't have Attenti-oh a bunny!"-narration. I think people who don't mind this -read an excerpt to check!- might very much enjoy When Good Earls Go Bad. It certainly is different from your normal historical romance, in that the hero isn't a rake with vast experience, or in that the heroine makes her desires known and isn't shy to show her affection. No long discussions about their status, or what the ton might say, instead actual talk about condoms. All almost unheard of, sadly.

That's why I regret that I personally couldn't enjoy the story. It's almost been made for me, except that the concept worked better for me than the execution.