I Kissed an Earl by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #4
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, How the Marquess Was Won, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: June 29th 2010
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Violet Redmond's family and fortune might be formidable and her beauty and wit matchless—but her infamous flare for mischief keeps all but the most lionhearted suitors at bay. Only Violet knows what will assuage her restlessness: a man who doesn't bore her to tears, and a clue to the fate of her missing brother. She never dreamed she'd find both with a man whose own pedigree is far from impeccable.
"Savage" is what the women of the ton whisper about the newly styled Earl of Ardmay—albeit with shivers of pleasure. Born an English bastard, raised on the high seas, he's on a mission to capture a notorious pirate for vengeance. But while Violet's belief in her brother's innocence maddens him, her courage awes him . . . and her sensuality finally undoes him. Now the man who once lost everything and the girl who has everything to lose are bound by a passion that could either end in betrayal . . . or become everything they ever dreamed.
The story was wonderful and absolutely what I’ve come to expect from Long. She always manages to just skirt the TSTL line with her heroines, but never quite cross it. Violet was no exception.
I wasn’t sure I’d like Violet. In the last couple of books she’s spoiled, brazen and bored. She does things just to gain attention and thinks herself far more clever and worldly than she truly is. She doesn’t understand the dangers of the world, or what men are really capable of.
When she meets Captain Ashton Flint, the new Earl of Ardmay, at a ball she’s struck by how savage he looks. She’s also completely baffled when he seems convinced that her brother Jonathan is a sea pirate. It isn’t long before she realizes he may be talking about, and looking for, her eldest brother Lyon, who disappeared a year ago.
She tries talking to her brother Jonathan about her suspicions, but he laughs them off. So she decides she’ll have to find out for herself. The best way to do that? Stowaway on Captain Flint’s ship, so she can accompany him on his pursuit of the pirate Le Chat.
Captain Flint is furious when he realizes Violet has stowed away on his ship. He was offered an Earldom, yes, but he doesn’t have the funds to support that type of lifestyle. The king has offered him a deal – if he can capture the pirate Le Chat he’ll gain great wealth. Since all he really wants is to settle down on a piece of his own land and raise a family, the offer is tempting. But he doesn’t agree until Le Chat sinks the ship of his mentor.
Having Violet aboard his ship is a liability he doesn’t need. She’ll distract his crew and cause nothing but trouble. Plus, he’s attracted to her himself. Which can only be bad. But he can’t deny her appeal. She’s a lovely girl who is high-spirited, but also thoughtful and caring. He expects her to be spoiled and pampered – which she is – but she isn’t selfish or unwilling to admit her faults. This causes him a great amount of internal conflict, because he just can’t pigeon-hole her as a snotty brat and be done with it.
Stowing away on Flint’s ship seemed like a good idea at the time, but Violet fast realizes her mistake in acting so rashly. The longer she’s at sea, the more she realizes how sheltered and spoiled she’s been. She always felt stifled by her life, but her overly dramatic ways of relieving her boredom seem silly and immature now that she’s faced with real danger. Yet she can’t deny the excitement of being away from home, on the sea, and most especially alone with Captain Flint.
As always Long delivers a compelling, multifaceted story. The characters were well drawn and complex. Every time a layer was pulled back, the one below it was more fascinating. Just when I thought I’d figured the characters out, or thought I knew them, they would do something unexpected and I’d realized I had it all wrong.
The plot was an exciting and adventurous one. Pirates, treasure, treason..I was thoroughly engrossed in the tale and anxious for Violet to find out if her brother truly was the pirate Le Chat, and what his motives for doing it were. It was easy to see how loyalties were divided, and how both Flint and Violet struggled to do what they considered right.
That isn’t to say I didn’t become frustrated with the characters at times. Violet and Flint were both stubborn and that resulted in several instances of them acting like idiots. More than once I wanted to smack one – or both – of them upside the head. But as always, Long managed to pull them back from the point of no return.
The worst part of the novel was the editing. The editing was terrible. Seriously terrible. There were typos every few pages – bad ones – and the hero said and did everything ironically. Every.single.thing. If he made a gesture, it was made ironically. If he made a statement, it was made ironically. It drove me batty. And it only seemed to get worse as the novel progressed. Or maybe I just became fixated on it the longer I read. Either way, the terrible editing detracted from my overall reading experience. Which is really too bad, because it was a stellar story.
For the overall story, I’d give this a 4.5 out of 5, but because the editing as terrible and it took away from my reading experience, my final grade is:
4 out of 5