Book Reviews

Review: How to Lose an Earl in Ten Weeks by Jenni Fletcher

Jenni Fletcher is one of my favourite historical romance authors, and her first foray into YA is, quite simply, brilliant!

Book: How to Lose an Earl in Ten Weeks by Jenni Fletcher

Publication date: 23rd December 2021

Ownership: E-ARC sent free of charge by author. All opinions my own.

Miss Essie Craven has been engaged since birth to a man she has only met once. The haughty, black-haired man with the intense blue eyes: Aidan Ravell, Earl of Denholm. The most coveted man in all of the Ton.

The day of their marriage is set. The only problem is, spirited Essie dreams of more than being a Countess. She soon finds out that Aidan has his own reasons for not wishing to marry, but is compelled to proceed due to his sense of honour and the financial baggage his father has left him.

So, Aidan and Essie strike up a deal. Essie will find him a more suitable match, and in the meantime they will keep up appearances as the most fashionable couple in all of the Ton.

But soon what is real and what is fake begins to converge. Suddenly, what seemed to be a simple agreement is no longer quite that straightforward . . .

I love fake dating in historical romance. I adore it. It’s one of my very favourite tropes. So I was absolutely thrilled when I saw the description of this – I mean, we all know by this point that I’m a total fangirl for Jenni Fletcher, but the combination of favourite author and favourite trope made this a must-have before I even opened it. But once I did start it… well, it’s pretty much perfect. If you like your historical romance light-hearted, witty, swoonworthy and laugh-out-loud funny, you have to get this on preorder right away.

Even if you’re not generally a fan of young adult books, I don’t think you’ll mind this. Essie is 18 and Aidan is 20, but in their general characters they’re not a million miles away from the mid-twenties leads of most regular historical romance. They’re believably the age they’re supposed to be, not irritatingly immature or overly mature. The steam level is lower than an adult story (even though Jenni’s books don’t tend to get extremely steamy anyway) and the only sex scene is fade-to-black – however, this is more than I expected to get from a YA novel! I’m not complaining, because there was still plenty of chemistry between the characters – this isn’t chaste in a moralistic or disapproving way, it just flows nicely. Nothing felt like it was missing from the story just because we didn’t get all the gory details, and I loved that sex was still obviously an important part of the relationship.

Speaking of the relationship, it’s brilliant – I’d classify it as annoyances-to-lovers, which is also a favourite of mine (I don’t tend to love full on enemies-to-lovers, but I’ll always enjoy two people who just clearly get on each other’s nerves in an entertaining way). The banter between Essie and Aidan is so good that I found myself laughing aloud on more than one occasion – and her plans to make him break their engagement are so funny (I cackled when she insisted on wearing bright orange in order to look “juicy”). Both of them are engaging characters in their own right – in adult historical romance you’d usually have alternate point of view chapters from both the male and female lead, but here we only have Essie’s POV, so it’s a testament to the writing that I still felt like Aidan was a fully rounded, interesting character with his own stuff going on under the surface. The secondary characters too, are well-rounded but amusing – you may know I love a battleaxe relation, so Essie’s grandmother was a delight in particular!

If you need something to scratch the Bridgerton or Tessa Dare itch – something generally light-hearted, sparkling with wit and balancing nicely between appropriately historical and enjoyably modern – then this is going to be perfect for you. It might be up there for my favourite Jenni Fletcher book (though I do still adore Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess… they can share). Five out of five cats!

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