ARC Review: The Return of the Earl by Sandra Schwab

cover110703-mediumTitle: The Return of the Earl

Author: Sandra Schwab

Publisher: Romance Beckons

Expected Publication Date: April 14, 2017

Genre: Historical, M/M Romance

Format: eBook

Rating: 3- Stars



Can they overcome the betrayals of the past for a second chance at love?

On the Continent they call him the Ice Prince, icy of manner, icy of heart. Now, after thirteen years of exile, Con returns home to England and to Harrowcot Hall, a place haunted by memories of a long-lost friendship and past betrayals, a place where all of his dreams shattered and died.

But the past is over and done with, and can no longer touch him — or so Con thinks. He certainly does not expect to come face to face with Bryn Ellison again, the man whom he once loved beyond everything and who repudiated their bond in the cruelest way imaginable.

As snow and frost close in on Harrowcot Hall, Con’s icy demeanor starts to melt while he grapples with old hurts and newly awakened passions. Will he give in to the lure of the past against his better judgement?

This book contains a very grumpy earl, a dashing stablemaster, some ravishment in various places, several garden follies, a lot of snow, and a horse called Lancelot.


♦ Personal Thought ♦

The cover reminds me of those I saw on gaming characters (not that I play much) though I could do without that knots on the neck.

Cover’s aside the blurb drew me to grab this story. Betrayal that came between young lovers, Ice Prince and all that. Sounds promising: bring them on! Story-wise, it was an interesting plot. The Return of the Earl even presented assorted supporting characters, such as the Earl’s secretary Ross, an American creole sent for school in England who became friend with him, the Earl’s house staff, and of course the ever-so-kind stablemaster Ellison. The main character himself though: one Alan “Con” Dormer, the Earl of Stanbury… His portrayal of tortured soul was often just too exasperating for me.

Personally, I thought Con played victim too well all his life that he couldn’t be anything else. He didn’t act like a 32 year old nobleman with money and power, more like petulant child with tantrum. I wish the hero could take a more aggressive way confronting his old friend and lover’s past betrayal. Instead, for most of the pages he sulked and mooned over things; and – weather permitted – running from reality.

That saying, the novella told a nice story of holiday in the country; the traditions an estate and its household and tenants had. And Ross came top as my favorite character here; I imagined he would bring an interesting spin-off to this tale.

Advanced copy of this book is kindly provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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