How to Entice an Earl (Ugly Ducklings Trilogy)

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How to Entice an Earl Manda Collins Lady Madeline Essex is the last of the unwed "ducklings" in her family—and by far the most outspoken. But when she boldly enters London's most notorious gaming house in search of fodder for her novel, even her sharp tongue can't save her from the horrible crime she stumbles upon there. As luck would have it, first on the scene is the last man she wants to see her vulnerable. The one man who could tempt her heart… Christian Monteith, the new Earl of Gresham, isn't much for card rooms and gaming hells. But as a favor to his former commanding officer, he's investigating a gamester for espionage on the night that Maddie ventures in looking more enticing than he's ever seen her.


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Suddenly, his feelings for his friend aren't so friendly anymore. And when her curiosity brings the impetuous novelist to the attention of a madman, Christian will stop at nothing to protect her—from a sinister plot that is far more dangerous than any stolen kiss…. It is a cozy romance, perfect for a winterish Sunday. View all 40 comments.

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Mar 24, kris rated it did not like it. That is attractive? And maybe a friend? I don't fucking know? Where she witnesses a murder. Or something? There's some plot mechanics that no one cares about, and they bone, end up married, solve the murder, and live happily ever after.

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Every chapter inadvertently contradicts the chapter before it--never overtly or blatantly, but in such a way that the characters are never solid, never truly realized. At any moment, a huge exposition dump might occur, scrambling all the understood characterizations around. For example, early in the book, Maddie opens up to Christian about how her father was physically threatening and verbally abusive while intoxicated when she was a little girl. That creates a pretty clear sort of presence in Maddie's life, right? It's not handled well, of course--abuse is too often handled as an easy drop-in back story--but the assumption can be made that it was the shaping event in her life.

It set her on her trajectory. Until one time her brother ran away to the mistress's house and that was the end of that. Maddie's motivation seems to change with the wind, with the stars, with every page turn. Christian isn't as bad, but that's because his motivation is his mighty wang and keeping Maddie out of trouble.

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I guess. I don't know about you, but that was literally the least sexy sex scene I've ever read. More like the sex of the mutually bored. Any of these could be the right answer because character motivation is not really a thing in this series! View all 5 comments.

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Nov 28, Laura the Highland Hussy rated it liked it. This was the cool part—no one has been pining away waiting for the other to notice them. It was a true friends-to-lovers plot and I loved it! This is where all the action begins. Maddie winds up holding the man as he gasps his last breath. Her brother? He bails. He completely panics and leaves his sister in a casino in the middle of the night, while holding a dead body.

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Meanwhile, her brother is never actually accused of anything! He hadn't actually been accused of anything and she was behaving as if no one could get the job done but her. To boot, he took off leaving her high and dry! Some brother.

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And despite that, I liked the book. Don't judge; The romance was sweet and I enjoyed the book. I liked the hero a ton, and I love the friends to lovers trope, and to be honest, I liked Lady Amelia the "Mean Girl" from the previous books and I wouldn't mind seeing her have a story. Martin's Press View 2 comments. I enjoyed this engaging friends-to-lovers story with its blend of mystery and romance. How I imagine Christian… She had come to appreciate his sense of the absurd as much as his strength and loyalty. Christian is the perfect hero.

Honourable, loyal, charming, witty and sexy, I love how fiercely protective he is towards Maddie and he certainly has lots of patience when it comes to her hair-brain schemes, although his patience does wear thin at times! The guilt at not being there for his twin sister when she needed him gives him a certain vulnerability which I love in my heroes. It's also refreshing to find a heroine who is short with ample womanly curves rather than tall and graceful. If I have one criticism, it's that Maddie's impetuous behaviour did have me raising my eyebrows on more than one occasion. But in the moving scene where she comforts Christian, I couldn't help but love her when she vows 'to keep his vulnerabilities safe in her heart.

It's obvious they genuinely like and respect one another but have never thought of each other in romantic terms. At times, I felt that the romance was somewhat pushed into the background by the mystery plot but the love scenes were deliciously sensual. There were enough twists and turns in the murder mystery to keep me guessing and I enjoyed the witty repartee between Christian, Winterson and Deveril.

I was certainly surprised to see Ms Collins redeem the Ugly Ducklings' arch nemesis, Amelia Snow, at the end of the book and I'm intrigued to read her story in the forthcoming novella, The Perks of Being a Beauty.


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This was an entertaining ending to the trilogy and I'm looking forward to reading more of Manda Collins's books in the future. View all 3 comments. Shelves: wallflower , adc-reviews , hero-i-liked , bbw-heroine , yearly-reading-challenge , historical-romance , regency , soldier-or-military , spy , arc. Another very pleasant read by Manda Collins. She writes Regency with a light, enjoyable tough.

How to Entice an Earl

Nicely sensual, and very steeped in the period. Good romance. Reviewed for Affaire de Coeur. Jan 30, Caz rated it liked it Shelves: romance , disappointing , romance-regency , kindle. I gave this a C- at AAR, so that's 2. When I read the first book in the series, How to Dance with a Duke , I rated it at 3 stars on Goodreads and said that while I found it to be engaging in places, I was disappointed overall - and I experienced much the same reaction to this book.

The heroine is Lady Madeleine Essex, mostly known as Maddie which immediately struck me as rather too modern in tone. At the beginning of the book, she decides that she needs to attend a gaming hell in order to do some research for the novel she is planning to write of which, incidentally, she never writes a single word during the whole course of the book.

Naturally, the male friend she asks to take her refuses, so she inveigles her brother into taking her along. Here, for me, was the point at which I started to get depressed about the direction the story was going to take. The mystery itself is fairly intriguing and was, I felt, more successful than the romance. There were a number of production errors that I found irritating, and which could easily have been solved by the employment of a good proof-reader.