Barbara’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Wicked Earls’ Club #12
Publication Date: 3/27/18
This is the final book in the Wicked Earls’ Club series and was written by a new-to-me author. The writing was very good and I liked the general story. Many new earls were introduced in the book and I assume that they and the new leader of the club are the set-ups for a new series.
Jonas Parker, the Earl of Harrington, has a vile, cruel, hateful, controlling, and evil grandfather. When Jonas’ father died in 1808, when Jonas was fifteen, Jonas lost the only buffer between him and his grandfather, the Duke of Southington. The duke now had full control over Jonas’ life – he even sent Jonas’ mother away. The first thing his grandfather did after they returned to the house after the funeral was to punch Jonas in the mouth with his bare fist. Jonas’ efforts to escape from his grandfather’s control, then stay away from him and to thwart him at every turn is a main focus of the story. That also colored Jonas’ decision to never marry because his grandfather would see that as his weakness and would use his wife and children as a weapon against him.
Lady Marian Lindsay, aspiring spinster and only child of the Earl of Coventry (leader of the Wicked Earls’ Club) has only one life ambition. She wants to be a physician so she can help people. Marian’s mother passed away ten years ago and Marian’s ambition to never marry and to be a physician began. She just had to become a member of The Royal Society so she could learn what she needed to know. She’d studied everything she could on her own – now her only option to learn more was the Society. When she is turned down she and her friends hatch a plan to meet the Duchess of Weston because they’ve heard that she is a gifted physician and they hope she will tutor Marian.
Jonas almost always ignored Marian when he visited her father at their home. However, when he did notice her their exchanges were more like a sparring match. Each thought they thoroughly disliked the other, but those exchanges were always interesting and exciting to each of them. Lately, Jonas had become more and more interested in those exchanges but thought that Marian deserved someone better than him and he couldn’t marry and give his grandfather a weapon to use against him.
It was nice to see how their relationship developed and each came to realize that maybe their chosen path wasn’t the only one available. Their romance was nice to see.
So, since I liked the story, why did I give it 3.5-stars? Well, first of all, I think 3.5-stars is a perfectly acceptable rating – average I’d say. Mostly though it has to do with a big part of the story and that is Jonas’ title. Either this author doesn’t understand Primogeniture (and entails) or I don’t – and while I am no expert, I do believe the author is the one in error. The Law of Primogeniture says that ONLY direct male relatives may inherit a title (with a very, very few titles where the females could inherit). So, titles passed from father to son to grandson, etc. You had absolutely no choice – the current holder could not just choose another heir and the recipient could not decline the title. It was law. IF the son and grandsons pre-deceased the title holder, then the crown (or whoever did that stuff) went back up the family tree to find the next male branch – such as the title holder’s brother and his line, etc. If there were no direct male relatives found, the title died and the entails and title reverted to the crown. None of them had a choice. Also, there wasn’t any way that Jonas or his father could just decide to take on the title of his grandfather on his mother’s side. In this story, Jonas’ father and then Jonas refused the courtesy title from Jonas’ grandfather and they were not going to accept the title once the grandfather died. Then, Jonas’ father and then Jonas took his other grandfather’s title, on his mother’s side because he was the sole living heir. That couldn’t happen with primogeniture. The title of Harrington would have gone back up the male line in that grandfather’s title until they found a branch with a direct male heir. Then, at the end of the story, Coventry is suggesting that Jonas accept the title of Duke and then he could pass that title on to his first-born son and he could pass the Harrington title on to his second-born son. Again – just couldn’t happen.
Another thing that bothered me about the whole series (but didn’t cause any star deductions) was the apparent lack of definition of who the Earl of Coventry was. He had a different persona from book to book. He was a loving husband and father in every book up to this one and then suddenly he had been a widow for ten years. In some he appeared to be an all-knowing match-maker, in another it was hinted that he might be a spymaster and in the last book, I thought he was portrayed as a pretty sleazy guy involved in prizefighting. I think the authors should have fleshed him out fully before they started writing and then maybe collaborated along the way to assure they were being consistent. Maybe they did that, but his character certainly appeared inconsistent to me.
One more thing about the series in general – since this is the last book. The authors announced that you could read the books in any order. Okay. However, most people (I believe) would look at the book number and assume some timeline continuity – so, you wouldn’t expect to have an Earl who had his HEA in a previous book show up in the current book as unmarried.
If you are interested, see our reviews of the other books in the series by clicking on the names below.
- The Wicked Earls’ Club #.5 and Earl of Sussex #1
- Earl of Westcliff #2
- Earl of Wainthorpe #3
- Earl of Sunderland #4
- Earl of Basingstoke #5
- Earl of Weston #6
- Earl of Davenport #7
- Earl of Grayson #8
- Earl of Benton #9
- Earl of Pembroke #10
- Earl of St. Seville #11
Please check out my other reviews at:
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”