Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 6th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
It is a truth universally acknowledgedthat a lady can do anything a man can do:backwards and in high-heeled dancing slippers.
Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She's running a ramshackle orphanage, London's worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.
Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he's handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.
Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance...
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Major Neil Wraxall, after a few hours of fitful sleep, goes to the Draven Club. The Master of the House has a message from Neil’s father, the Marquess of Kensingon; Neil is to go fetch Lady Juliana, the daughter of his father’s long-time friend, the Earl of St. Maur. Juliana’s Sunnybrooke Home for Boys is far from sunny: the building is decrepit, the cook just quit, and the boys are misbehaving. Juliana has been there a few months, and it has never been worse. She had to hurry for an emergency, and to top it off, Mr. Slag, a crime lord, makes an unwanted appearance. Slag had already offered Juliana his “protection”, and his insistence is becoming more threatening. Neil knows Juliana needs help, but how can a soldier deal with a stubborn woman and a passle of wild boys?
Neil still has nightmares over a mission gone wrong and the death of his brother; he does not feel equipped to deal with love. When her sister Harriett died, Juliana dealt with her grief in occupying herself with charity work, and it has come to mean everything for her, more than even thinking of having a family of her own. The handsome Major though is a welcome distraction, if a temporary one. While she doesn’t want Neil’s help, she cannot deny that the orphanage might need a man’s touch, and it was quite a sight to see the army man at work with the boys, and their pets. A slight trigger warning might be in order here for readers with a serious aversion to rats, because said pets are rats: Mark, Matthew, and Luke. A single line had me in stitches: “We don’t discuss John”. Even though Juliana and Neil don’t see eye to eye when it comes to her presence at the orphanage, Neil cannot deny that the boys need help, which proves to be an eye-opener for him. Working alongside the fetching Juliana is no hardship either, and I loved the build-up to the culmination of their attraction: it was perfectly timed; nothing was rushed; it was just lovely and always believable; you know their love will last.
NO EARLS ALLOWED, book #2 in the Survivors series, stands perfectly on its own, and while Neil is joined briefly by some of his comrades, newcomers to the series will not feel lost. NO EARLS ALLOWED is a gentle and very romantic story where Juliana and Neil act like adults; there are no misunderstandings, no miscommunications, no undue silliness, and the action feels realistic, which is a rare thing these days. And let’s not forget the darkly mysterious Jasper and the irresistibly roguish Rafe.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.