The Red Hot Earl by Darcy Burke

The Red Hot Earl (Love is All Around #1)Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Love Is All Around #1
Publication Date: 9/24/19
Number of Pages: 133

This was a lovely introduction to the Love Is All Around series. The series is set around three siblings and the local Christmas celebrations. The book didn’t feel too Christmasy, but I believe that is because it took place earlier than the other books – thus the lack of Christmas feel. Maybe we’ll get some decorations in the upcoming books.

This book features Lady Bianca Stafford and Ashton Rutledge, Earl of Buckleigh. Bianca is free-spirited, bright, fun, and she absolutely adores Christmas – particularly the St. Stephen’s Day celebration. Her family has hosted that celebration since the very first Duke – and now, her brother is ending it. He won’t budge and absolutely refuses to have any part in or sponsorship of the celebration. Bianca doesn’t know what to make of her brother, Calder, eighth Duke of Hartwell. He’s certainly not the brother who left them ten years ago and didn’t return until their father died. Now, he’s cold, unfeeling, uncaring, and cruel.

Ash has been persecuted most of his life – especially by three men who are now certainly old enough to know better and now pull the same childish tricks and torments they did while they were at school. The persecution is because of an affliction (sounds like Tourette’s Syndrome). He’s spent years in London figuring out techniques to deal to help alleviate the worst of the symptoms, but when he is stressed they manifest themselves.

Ash and Bianca were childhood friends and each was delighted to see the other at a house party at the home of Lord Thornaby. As they spend time together Bianca admires Ash more and more and it is the same for him. When events occurred and Ash left the party early – and Bianca left shortly after – Bianca knew she had to see him to tell him that she supported him.

It was fun to watch Bianca and Ash get their HEA and it was also good to meet the ‘stars’ of the upcoming books. I have to say, I’m not sure what the author can do to redeem Calder in my eyes. Yes, I understand what his issue is and why he intends to do away with the celebration – but – what I don’t understand is how he can treat his sister so coldly and cruelly – without a blink of remorse and caring.

I also didn’t understand the three villains. These were three men who were in their mid-to-late twenties — certainly old enough to know better than to act like immature schoolboys.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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