Book Review: Never Dare a Wicked Earl by Renee Ann Miller

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I had a really difficult time discerning whether to give three or four stars to this book. On one hand, the book was cute, put a smile on my face, and both of the characters were likable; on the other hand, I found this book extremely dull

The books hero, Hayden Milton, Earl of Westfield is—at first glance anyways—a complete and total rake. When his mistress shoots him in the thigh (while aiming for something else), medical attendant Sophia Camden comes to take care of him. When he tries to fire her, she outright refuses and a gantlet is thrown: she has ten days to prove her competency. If she does, Hayden will petition in Parliament to allow women to take the physicians exam on her behalf. If she doesn’t, well…

I absolutely loved the hate-to-love aspect of this book. The first hundred pages of Hayden trying to scare Sophia off (and completely failing) were hilarious. Both Hayden and Sophia were amazing characters. In fact, I would go as far to call Hayden one of the best regency heroes ever. Despite first glances, he is a kind, thoughtful man who treats his family with the utmost respect and love. He is also intelligent and works hard to support his estates. Not to mention that he supports Sophia and her dreams of being a physician—he doesn’t suffer from fragile masculinity and an overblown ego like so many other romance protagonists. Sophie was also an amazing heroine: driven, intelligent, and confident.

So why three stars and not four stars?

Because this book becomes dreadfully dull after the first hundred pages. Once Hayden and Sophie get together (which is relatively early in the book), it just feels like Miller throws every trite regency plot trope ever! And literally, 99% of the problems could have been solved if they had just sat down and had an honest conversation about their relationship expectations and feelings. I just desperately want to shake the two of them (particularly Hayden) and scream, “Why are you being so silly? Communication! It is a thing!”

And, yes, I do realize that lack of communication serves as the plot for 99% of romance books out there. But in this book,  Hayden’s lack of communication seriously jeopardized Sophia’s safety at one point. Grrrr…..

That said, I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books in the future! The writing was very high quality, the dialogue was witty, and I have high hopes that she design plots that don’t revolve around her characters just refusing to have a conversation.

Rating: 3/5