Review: I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

Posted March 8, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 26 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden
I Love the Earl
Narrated by Gildart Jackson

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: The Truth About the Duke #.5
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Tantor Audio
Released on February 18, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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The Delight

Who would have thought a brooding fortune hunter and a tart-tongued spinster would provide such an engaging Georgian Era romance?  The situation got me curious and I just had to see how the dashing earl persuaded the practical dowered lady who wanted to be married for love turned out.  It didn’t hurt that a favorite narrator had the telling of this one by a new to me author.


I Love the Earl is a prequel story, but it is a self-contained standalone that introduces the series.  As I’m not familiar with the rest of the series… Yet.  I will be… I can only surmise the principle characters in this one play a role in the next book as secondary figures.

The story begins with Margaret de Lacey, a plain-faced woman of around thirty years living with her bachelor brother and content if not happy to care for his domestic arrangements.  They are gentry, just, and aren’t wealthy, but comfortably off until an estranged cousin and a great uncle pass leaving Margaret’s brother the new Duke of Durham and well-heeled to boot.  Francis immediately slaps a huge dowry on her and her years of obscurity end.  Margaret is now the target of every fortune hunter in England, but she is determined to hold out for a man who wants her and not her fortune.  How to tell, though.  She’d better figure it out especially in the case of a certain determined earl.

Rhys is an earl, but the title only came with debts and problems.  He’s all to pieces financially after he settled all the debts of his father and guardian.  He contemplates escaping his material responsibilities for the Continent.  His best friend insists that he try for a rich wife.  Rhys can’t stomach the idea of dangling after a woman just to gain her fortune, but he goes along to check the women on the list out when he spies Margaret and experiences a lashing from her tart tongue.  She told him in no uncertain terms what she thought of men who lost their fortunes and what they could do with themselves.  Little did she know that her spark of spirit and stately walk off left him wanting a wife for the first time.  He would have Margaret and no one else.  He plans his courtship carefully and sets out to woo a woman worthy of being loved.  But, how to convince her he wants her for herself and not just her fortune…

The two principle characters shared the narration.  I enjoyed getting to know them both and finding myself in perfect sympathy.  I was easily convinced they needed each other, but understood what separated them.  Rhys was a great surprise.  His courtship was brilliant and canny.  He understood the woman Margaret was.  And, I loved how he chose to utilize her friend and certain connections without using them and discarding them.  It was telling that they became his friends and were loyal to both of them.  He was honest and didn’t lie even when the truth was not easy.  He was a fabulous hero.

Margaret’s first cruel set down of Rhys who only asked her to dance had me unsure if I was going to like her.  I get it.  She was fed up with fawning men, but she really crossed the line and took it all out on him.  What saved her in my eyes and restored respect was her genuine remorse and her apology to him when they met later.  Of course, from then on he flustered her and she couldn’t make him out.  He kept her on her toes because he was upfront with her about his situation and his intentions, but he went about it by befriending her and her friends to get to know her.  She learned swiftly that if she smarted off like  when she said she didn’t want to dance with him and to go away, he heeded her and danced exquisitely with her friends and never asked her to dance after that.

Naturally, it had to get even more complicated when outside interference happened and they were still battling through their issue of money vs. love.  Never a dull moment.

Another bit I want to give kudos to is the historical setting.  It was the Georgian period of powdered hair, minuets, sword duels, Vauxhall Gardens, masquerades, and lusty intrigues.  The author brought out details so it all came to life for me.

Gildart Jackson narrated the story and I already enjoyed his work in a medieval mystery series.  His work was familiar and welcome as he voiced Rhys’ low, cultured Welsh accents and Margaret’s warm female ones.  Each member of the cast was distinct and I enjoyed the way pace and emotion were brought out to engage the listener more deeply into the story.

All in all, it was a wonderful story experience and I will definitely be going on with the first book and more from the author.  Those who enjoy historical romance with good development, characters, and a spicy well-paced romance should give this a look-see.

My thanks to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #14
Literary Pickers #28 Instalove/fated mates
Historical Fiction #15
Audio #11

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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sherry fundin
2 years ago

what a fantastic review sophia. not really a book i would have chosen from the cover, but i think the characters may be the deciding factor
sherry @ fundinmental

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  sherry fundin

I sometimes will reach for a new to me historical romance author, but in this case I grabbed this one mostly because I already love the narrator. Turned out to be good stuff all around for me. 🙂 Thanks, Sherry!

Mary Kirkland
2 years ago

Who knew that telling a guy to get lost would spark his interest in her. This sounds fun.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Haha! Yes, it was one of those moments when she was so horrid and he ate that stuff up. He was a very different kind of hero loke she was quite the heroine, too.

Carole Rae
2 years ago

It has certainly been a hot min since I read the Georgian period.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Same here, but it was a fun romp back into it. 🙂

Lover of Romance
2 years ago

Glad to hear that there never was a dull moment in this one, very typical of this author which is one of the things I love about her writing style.

Great review and hope you have a blast with this series. Its one I need to get onto reading as well. Happy Reading.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Oh yes, I am definitely pursuing more from the series and I have a couple others she has written that I need to get to as well.

Carole's Random Life in Books

This sounds really good! I have listened to a few books narrated by Gildart Jackson so the fact that he narrates this one is a big plus. I will have to keep an eye out for it at my library.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Yes, his narration is what caught my eye first and then the story also sounded good. Hope they have it for you, Carole. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

This sounds exactly like my kind of story! Kind of fun that she’s a no-regard spinster at first and then thrown into the limelight with a big dowry. Off to see if it’s at my library!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Oh man, she was hilarious and he was so cheeky with the way he got around her. I really hope its there for you, Rachel.

Angie Elle
2 years ago

So glad you enjoyed this one! This author has been on my TBR for a while now.

Great review. 🙂

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Angie Elle

Oh fun that you already have some of her stuff. I just discovered that I have a couple on the shelf. Now, I’m eager to read them after having such a good time with this one, Angie. 🙂

2 years ago

This sounds good. I am not familiar with the author though.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Nadene

I’ve seen her name around now and then, but this was my first chance to pick up one of her books. Won’t be the last. 🙂

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

You know I love a spicy romance, and Rhys’ courtship sounds fun and entertaining! The Georgian setting sounds fantastic, and I love learning through historical romance, while I’m enjoying the story. Lovely Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

He was so fun under all that broodiness when he decided she was the woman for him. I agree that one of the best things about historicals is learning about the times.

2 years ago

Nice – found a new to you series! Is this a new series or prequel to an already established series?

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I think the series has been around a bit, but this was its new release on audio. And, yes, this is the prequel in that series.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

Oh, I like Gildart Jackson and this sounds delightful Sophia! Adding to my list.

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

He is a fast favorite of mine, too. 🙂

Crystal @ Lost in Storyland

I enjoyed reading your review, Sophia! You had me immersed in the story and curious how Margaret and Rhys’s romance plays out. They sound like quite the pair!

Sophia Rose
2 years ago

Oh fun! Glad I could entertain you, Crystal. 🙂

2 years ago

I truly love when a historical novel takes time to make the story come alive with facts and scenery from the era. Makes the reading that much enjoyable. Hugs and Happy Friyay! RO

Sophia Rose
2 years ago
Reply to  RO P

Yes, that is what I find one of the best parts of reading a historical. You have a fab weekend, too, Radiant Ro!