When I first saw this book I was immediately drawn to the absolutely stunning cover. Not only was the dress and model beautiful and eye-catching, the cover was actually relevant to the story, which I love. Although this is book five in her Worthingtons series, You Never Forget Your First Earl (whew, that’s a mouthful) was my first book by Ella Quinn and, unfortunately, I am not sure I’ll pick up another one. If I had to give it a starred rating, it would get 2.5-3.
The pros: Let’s start with the positives. As I mentioned, the cover is perfect. I want it framed on my wall, it is just that pretty. When Geoffrey is courting Elizabeth based on his grandmother’s rules? He’s got the moves! He kisses both her hands and is pretty doting. I see why Elizabeth thought he was all that and a bag of chips. The writing good as were the historical references. The plot moved enough that I never entirely wanted to give up on the characters or the story.
The cons: Based on the synopsis and basically the first half of the book I kept waiting for them to get married (this isn’t a spoiler, it’s on the back cover I promise) and start their life together in Brussels. I didn’t know that their married life was only going to be the last 25% of the book or so. There was so much focus on the war and the politics at the time, which is well and good but it had no relevance on the plot. The author would spend two pages talking about writing a note or packing a bag that didn’t further any plot line or characterization. It read like filler text which is especially annoying when I really just wanted to know more about Geoffrey and Elizabeth. I felt like there was a lot of family dynamics and interpersonal relationships that could have been explored further.
More cons: Geoffrey is kind of a cold fish (and yes, I understand that is part of the plot line) the problem is, I wasn’t ever sold that he saw Elizabeth as more than a convenient partner he liked to have sex with occasionally. There was an entire week that Elizabeth was mad at him and not one time did he ask her why. He just kept living his life, occasionally thinking about the fact that she wouldn’t have sex with him and that sucked. On the other hand, Elizabeth was passive aggressive for most of the book.
Overall, this story could have been much stronger. I think both characters lacked any kind of fire and the focus on the war as opposed to the relationship with the war as a foil was distracting. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve read all year but I wouldn’t recommend it.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**