Never Dare a Wicked Earl, by Renee Ann Miller

I am always on the lookout for promising new historical romance novelists, so I was delighted to encounter Renee Ann Miller's Never Dare a Wicked Earl. Sure, I've read more compelling romance and more ambitious historical fiction, but this was a thoroughly respectable, entertaining combination of the two—and that's harder to find than you'd think.

When Hayden Milton, the notorious Earl of Westfield, is shot in the leg by a former mistress, he is taken aback to discover that his new medical attendant is a lovely young woman with a thorough knowledge of modern medicine. Sophia Camden has taken charge of Hayden's recovery for reasons of her own, but soon finds the earl's arrogance (and charisma) difficult to ignore. Determined to succeed, she offers him a bet: if she can prove her competency in ten days, he will support her quest to become a legitimate doctor. If she loses, she will owe him a forfeit of his choosing... and she suspects he will choose something ruinous.

Never Dare a Wicked Earl is well-researched, the characters are pleasant and mentally stable (note: also harder to find than you'd think), and their attraction to one another feels natural. The book is far from perfect, but Miller avoids the major pitfalls that make so many historical romances painful to read (obvious anachronisms, gruesome details, attempts to mimic Georgette Heyer's slang phrases, etc.) I wasn't blown away by the novel's chemistry or plotting, but I'm happy to have another title to add to the far-too-short list of historical romances I can unreservedly recommend.
Posted by: Julianka


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