18 January, 2013
Review: One Good Earl Deserves A Lover by Sarah MacLean
Pippa uses information as a shield against embarrassment, a way to mimic the conventional behavior that seems so alien to her. By studying the strange world most people inhabit, Pippa can move confidently within it. This brings her to Cross, a business partner of her brother in law. Pippa is marrying a perfectly nice man, a man she wants because he wants her. Pippa is aware her interests do not mirror those of conventional society. She is grateful to have found a man who honors her unique qualities. In the interest of conducting herself properly as a wife, Pippa seeks to understand human sexuality. This is a common beginning for historical romance - the naive heroine in need of a sexually experienced tutor. MacLean tweaks the plot by pairing her ingenue with a celibate. Cross is also a prodigy. Where Pippa is emotionally unconnected, Cross is attuned to the way emotions dictate human behavior. He understands and categorizes it the way another might their personal library. What is a mystery to Pippa (human sexuality and attraction) is an open book to Cross. He shares her interest in science as well as her inability to stop thinking critically about the world surrounding him. Where Pippa labels herself as odd, Cross labels himself as continually inadequate. The difference between them is larger than age or experience. It is built by their extended family. One is embraced, the other was rejected. Pippa has never before had a need to decode human interaction. Cross has always been forced to look outside his home for warm appreciation.
Because the emotional strengths of One Good Earl Deserves A Lover outweigh the structural weaknesses I'm going to run a second review after the book's release. It will discuss the dissatisfactions I had with the framing of Cross and Pippa's courtship. I'm splitting the review because I strongly recommend One Good Earl Deserves a Lover and believe it should be read without spoilers. Pre-order this one, read it at midnight and come back on the 30th to see what I have to complain about. All you need to know before you crack the cover is that MacLean has written a celibate hero, a strong female lead and an emotionally satisfying resolution. Enjoy it, for tomorrow (or in two weeks) we quibble.