ARC Review: When to Engage an Earl by Sally MacKenzie

Title: When to Engage an Earl (Spinster House #3)

Author: Sally MacKenzie

Publisher: Zebra, Kensington Books

Expected Publishing Date: May 30, 2017

Genre: Historical, Romance

Format: eBook, Print

Length: 352 pages

Rating: 2.5 Stars rounded Up



If love is a malady, the Spinster House ladies have caught it, one by one.

Miss Jane Wilkinson couldn’t be more delighted when her two best friends marry, creating a much-desired vacancy at the Spinster House. For the first time in her twenty-eight years, Jane can be free of her annoying older brother and enjoy complete solitude—with the exception of the Spinster House cat, Poppy. If only Jane’s unruly thoughts didn’t keep drifting to handsome Alex, Earl of Evans, in the most un-spinster like ways…

Though jilted once, Alex has always intended to marry and raise a family. Now that his two closest friends have tied the knot, he is more determined than ever to find a wife. If only it wasn’t the intriguing Miss Jane Wilkinson that his heart—as well as the rest of him—desired. Not only does she appear uninterested in marriage, it’s clear she’s the managing sort. And yet, despite Alex’s fiercely independent spirit, the idea of being managed by her is quite appealing. Now if he can only convince her to give up her beloved Spinster House in favor of a far more pleasurable home—in his arms…


♦ Personal Thought ♦

I’m on the fence with this book. On the one hand, the third installment to the Spinster House series is quite a romp. It filled with amusing characters from Poppy the cat to Alex’s sister and nieces. Alex and Jane’s brangles were quite smile-induced, too. Only after a while, I lost patience with the main characters.

For an eligible noble – he’s young, wealthy, an Earl too – Alex strike me as too fussy and whiny. Granted, he’s been jilted once and so now treaded more carefully. But the constant inner talking of how he envied his friends, how he wanted to be married, how he longed for babies… Initially I thought his conduct rather cute, but too many exposure of those got me eye-rolling so hard while yelling: enough already!

On the romance side, Alex and Jane’s chemistry was not very convincing either. The bulk of what throw them together were either coincidence or other’s machinations (from Poppy or Alex’s family). And when their coming together was the combine result of over-imbibed and Poppy’s ruses? Gah, that’s just wrong! This not-courting on top of Alex’s pensive mood became exhausting to read.

Which is why – even though it felt rushed indeed – I applauded them taking matters into their own hands in the end (I just wanted the book to finish by that time). As a conclusion to the series, the book tied some loose-ends and showed everyone’s happy ever after. But I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would.

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

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