How to Entice an Earl (Ugly Ducklings, #3)How to Entice an Earl by Manda Collins
My rating: 3.5 of 5 flames

I really liked the book How to Romance a Rake and I loved all the characters, so when I got the chance to review this one, I was pretty excited.

This book revolves around Lady Madeline Essex and Christian Monteith, Earl of Gresham. What I loved is that they’ve been friends for years and even though their mutual friends have teased them about getting together each has said something along the lines of “Really? But we’re friends, that’s all.” And they’ve meant it. This was the cool part—no one has been pining away waiting for the other to notice them. It was a true friends-to-lovers plot and I loved it!

The thing that kept throwing them together was Maddie’s desire to visit a gaming hell as research for her novel, and Christian was investigating a plot against the Crown. There are some rumors that Maddie’s brother may be involved with the group of men plotting, and Christian goes to the casino her brother frequents to observe the men. Too bad it’s the night Maddie makes her brother take her with him.

This is where all the action begins. There’s a murder. Maddie winds up holding the man as he gasps his last breath. Her brother? He bails. He completely panics and leaves his sister in a casino in the middle of the night, while holding a dead body.

This doesn’t look good for him.

Christian takes care of her, and it’s really sweet. Maddie, however, decides that it’s up to her to figure out who the murderer is, and this is where I had trouble with the plot.

I don’t mind having a heroine investigate a murder, but what I have trouble with is that this heroine has no actual reason to, or at least it’s a very thin reason, in my opinion. She knows Christian is investigating too, but she’s not sure why, and even knowing he’s on the case, it doesn’t stop her from thinking she’s the only one who can do this. Meanwhile, her brother is never actually accused of anything! He’s just wanted for a bit of questioning as to why he left the scene of the murder, if he’s innocent.

I like this series, and the characters, but I had a hard time with the heroine taking up the cause of investigating the murder/mystery surrounding her brother. He hadn’t actually been accused of anything and she was behaving as if no one could get the job done but her. To boot, he took off leaving her high and dry! Some brother.

And despite that, I liked the book. Don’t judge;) The romance was sweet and I enjoyed the book.

I liked the hero a ton, and I love the friends to lovers trope, and to be honest, I liked Lady Amelia (the “Mean Girl” from the previous books) and I wouldn’t mind seeing her have a story.

Final Verdict: It’s an enjoyable and well-written book, I just didn’t like the heroine solving the mystery on her own. She wasn’t a reporter, she wasn’t leading a double-life, she wasn’t directly involved with the murder, and it seemed out of character.

***ARC courtesy of netgalley and St. Martin’s Press

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