Friday, September 23, 2011

The Earl's Reluctant Captive by Matilda Madison

Effie Musgrove refuses to marry a brooding, fortune seeking, and arrogant peer. Especially one she doesn’t know. When her father demands that she marry the Earl of Aston, there’s only one thing Effie can do… run away.

Edmond Dent, Earl of Aston isn’t pleased to find his future bride missing. Bothered by the possibility that his heritage is the cause for her fleeing, Edmond goes after her only to find a spirited woman who doesn’t care about his mixed blood. She does care, however, about marrying a man she doesn’t love.

Can Effie find love as his captive?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I anticipated this novel with excitement as the subject is very rare. Indeed, a peer with mixed blood is completely unconventional in Regency England and I was very much looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, before reaching the end of the book I found myself completely let down by the author.

How can a writer who is supposed to have plenty of imagination, only able to produce such a tepid story when the subject had so much potential.

There was definitively not enough background on Edmond Dent, Earl of Aston and his parents. We know that he never tried to deny his heritage (being half Portuguese on his mother's side), but that it made life difficult for him in England and that is why he left for Portugal after finishing school. He worked with his uncle and his cousin there. Then he returned to England after the death of his father, hopeful that he would salvage his home and erase his father's debts.

There are touches here and there of the relationship between his parents which deteriorated rapidly. Nothing about their lives is really done in depth. The same can be said about the Heiress Effie Musgrove. We are aware that her father is an inventor and that since his wife died he is not himself anymore. Their stories, past and present should have been an important part of the book!

The subject of prejudice in society about mixed blood at the time is never developed. The only thing we learn is that when he returned to London society he was hunted by wives of peers looking to add exoticism to their boring lives. And that being a half-breed makes him a foreigner both in Portugal and in England.

Maybe it is just me and this novel was only meant to be what it is, a nice little story with no great ambition, but in my opinion I can only call it a missed opportunity.

I give it a 2/5.


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