No Earls Allowed
Book 2 in the Survivors series
Author Shana Galen
Narrated by Victoria Aston
Publication date Mar 6, 2018
Running time 10 hrs
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Lady Juliana, daughter of the Earl of St. Maur, needs all the help she can get. She’s running a ramshackle orphanage, London’s worst slumlord has illicit designs on her, and her father has suddenly become determined to marry her off.
Enter Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of the Marquess of Kensington, sent to assist Lady Juliana in any way he can. Lucky for her, he’s handy with repairs, knows how to keep her and the orphans safe, and is a natural leader of men.
Unfortunately for both of them, the scandal that ensues from their mutual attraction is going to lead them a merry dance. https://tantor.com/no-earls-allowed-shana-galen.html
In the first book in this series I thought the author approached some interesting issues — learning disabilties and investor fraud, that were treated very differently in the Regency period than they are now. But, I thought the characters were hard to believe and the characters contrived.
I feel the same with this, the treatment of orphaned or homeless children and the expectations placed of the young women of the peerage. Both issues: the treatment of children and societal norms for women, remain salient today. One must applaud Juliana in taking on the administration, and ultimately, the day to day care for the reg tag group of boys in her orphanage.
But, I still found the characters hard to believe in the extreme nature of their personal issues and the events, which felt contrived.
The heroes in this series were members of a “forlorn hope” or suicide squad. In the Penninsula and Napoleonic wars of the nineteenth century these were the guys who took on missions which they were not expected to survive. Major Neil Wraxall was the leader of a squadron of such men who survived the conflicts with about a dozen other members of his squad. He suffers from both survivor’s guilt and PTSD. Having grown up a bastard he has vowed never to have intercourse where he might beget an illegitimate child. As a war hero, and recognized by his father, his personal illegitimacy is not all that big a deal.
Juliana was, in her own opinion a typical deb until her sister had an unhappy marriage. There’s a lot of unnecessary, and transparent, mention of a Davy who is taken away from Juliana.
While I wasn’t excited by the story, the part I am most dismayed about is a spoiler so I need to avoid specs. All I will say is that when you are faced with a life or death situations in which seconds matter, having heart-to-heart conversations is really stupid and could explain why Neil blames himself for the deaths of the soldiers under his command. The situations are beyond the believable for the genre. And, aside from being wordplay the title has little to no relationship to the story. For that matter, the cover has little to do with the story either as, other than remembered battlefield vignettes, it occurs entirely in London.
As per the narration, as I said about it in the first volume of the series: ” The narrator has a pleasant voice and a posh accent but I found it unaffected.”
I don’t think I will continue with this series.