Three and a half hours was all it took to read this book from cover to cover. Ms. Galen provided hours of entertainment in the process of sharing Lady Juliana and Major Neil Wraxall’s story of falling in love and finding out true love can even include rats. Rodents play a very unique sort of role as a catalyst and I am pretty impressed with the author’s skill. Why? Because by the end of the book, the author had me feeling fond of them too, and anyone who knows me knows I don’t like rats.
I liked Juliana’s spunk, determination and was charmed by her great capacity to love. She was at times innocent, ferocious and silly, and when push came to shove, courageous. She wears the mantle of heroine quite well and I liked her.
Neil is the one with a huge chip on his shoulder, and with good reason. It’s a good thing the hero has some solid friends to back him up. In fact, I liked meeting two of them and I hope to meet them again because they sound like they have some VERY interesting stories to tell. In any event, they sure played important roles in keeping Juliana and Neil safe. Something that wasn’t always easy to do.
The only thing that bothered me about this whole novel was Neil’s ability to solve just about anything – stairs, rats or boys. He seems to know what to do and when to do it. The author credits his success with his ability to lead and survive from being in the military, but when it comes to kids and their reaction to him, Neil seemed to always know just what to do and the kids, mostly, all fell in line. For some reason the children never offered that same respect to Juliana no matter what she did for them, and then, in walks a man and Poof! Within 24 hours he has them doing chores and burning toast. Too easy. I still liked Neil though.
The bit of drama and well written suspense is due to a dastardly villain that has deviant designs on the heroine. It’s a classic villainous trope but Ms. Galen brought Mr. Slag to evil glory with his actions and dialogue and his ultimate comeuppance. The fight scenes, though few, were well presented – not gory or gratuitous but effective and exciting.
Juliana does provide an emotional tension when she reveals why saving the boys in the orphanage is so incredibly important to her. The HEA is not just about the heroine and hero but the children too. I had happy feelings when all was said and done.
Yes, the title is amusing, but No Earls Allowed is packed with solid storytelling prowess that is a testimony to Ms. Galen’s writing talent.
I was never bored with any chapter, I couldn’t stop reading and many times I did laugh out loud. I was thoroughly enchanted with this novel and believe fans are going to gobble this one up. It’s an awesome romance. I absolutely recommend this book.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.