Sara’s Review of My Brown-Eyed Earl by Anna Bennett
I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to St. Martin’s Press for not only providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review, but for also letting me participate in this exciting tour event for Anna Bennett’s novel, murr! =^.^=
The first book in a new series from debut author Anna Bennett, this was a delightful read filled with humor and sweet romance that fans of historical romance will greatly enjoy.
It’s not often that a story manages to make me laugh out loud numerous times while reading, but this novel did just that. Bennett did a wonderful job weaving humor into her story along with the romance and even included a bit of suspense, which made for a truly enjoyable read. There’s no question that I will be picking up the next book in the series to read and following her writing career in the years to come.
Meg is a witty, compassionate, loving character who you can’t help but fall in love with. Yes, there are times where she is insecure, but it doesn’t hamper her likeability in any way, instead it makes her more complex and easier to relate too. She’s not one to shy away from responsibility and I liked that she was willing to do everything in her power to help her sisters and uncle, even if it meant humbling herself in the eyes of the ton. Will, meanwhile, was a bit difficult to like at first because he’s so quick to judge Meg due to their past acquaintance. He’s one of those characters who is rough around the edges and takes a bit of time to warm up to, but once you do you’ll fall pretty hard for him. They are the perfect match and it was a pleasure to watch their relationship develop.
The romance between Meg and Will is a slow but satisfying build. It isn’t often that a pair actively works on communication between themselves in the books I read, so to watch these two talk honestly with the other was great. Yes, there are moments where one or the other keeps secrets and this results in a few tense moments, but I felt that Meg and Will’s relationship was more of a true reflection of what a relationship is than some of the other relationships I’ve read in other books. At the very least I wasn’t hissing in frustration over missed opportunities to communicate. And I have to applaud Will for stepping back and giving Meg the time she needed to sort out her feelings with regard to their relationship.
I have to mention a few of Bennett’s secondary characters because they added to the enjoyment of the story. The twins, Valerie and Diana, were everything you would expect of a pair of six year olds. Yes they were troublemakers, but they were also sweethearts, and my heart went out to them after what their mother did. Mrs. Hopwood struck me as being a bit of a fairy godmother character. She knew exactly what everyone needed when she came in and I instantly loved her. And Meg’s Uncle Alister was just a joy. He’s such a quirky character and I just wish that we could have seen more of him in this book. Thankfully there are two more novels in the series, so there’s more opportunity to enjoy his character over the next few years. It’s always a pleasure to see an author not only create rich and complex leads, but also create rich and supportive secondary characters, and so I must offer a tail wave of approval to Bennett for a job well done.
The pacing of the story is great, and it is easy to read this book in one sitting if you are so inclined. While I did feel that the mystery behind who is wanting information on the twins and their motive for asking was fairly obvious, the suspense leading up to the reveal and subsequent confrontation added an extra depth to the overall story plot. I also would have liked to have had more insight into Meg and her sister’s earlier years among society. Yes, we get some explanation for why they are called the Wayward Wallflowers, but given how much fuss is made over this particular nickname for these girls, I would have expected to see more examples of how this name affects them in society and how it came about. I felt like we only scratched the surface on this, but I suspect we’ll get more in the later books.
Honestly there isn’t much that really took away from my enjoyment of this story, and I would highly recommend that fans of historical romance give this book a read. This really was a wonderful start to a brand new series and I look forward to what Bennett has in store for the remaining two Wayward Wallflower sisters in the next two books.
About the Author:
Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.