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Readsalot81

Readsalot81

Guest reviewer for Paranormalhaven.com. Goofy and gregarious, although mostly sensible. Love to chat about books! :)

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Surrender to the Earl - Gayle Callen ****posted as a guest review over at paranormalhaven.com****When I first started reading Surrender To The Earl, I experienced a sense of deja-vu. I recalled briefly that Ms. Callen had written another novel, The Viscount in Her Bedroom, where the hero is blind, but Surrender to the Earl features Audrey Blake, our vision impaired heroine. Robert Henslow, the Earl of Knightsbridge, comes to call upon the widow Audrey Blake, for her husband served with the Earl in battle. Audrey impulsively invites him to stay over at her home and requests his assistance in securing her independence from her family. The father is characterized as overbearing and irritating in his manner towards his blind daughter, and the younger self-absorbed sister, Blythe, acts pretty much the same way as their father. The Earl proposes a fake engagement, and Audrey accepts.I have to admit I was a bit frustrated while reading this. I have absolutely no problem with main characters having various impairments, but I do wish the execution had been a lot better than it was. I could have done with a lot more detail about how Audrey pays attention to her surroundings, or how she uses her other senses to obtain information. The pacing of the book suffers somewhat as Audrey and Robert travel to her new home, but during this time, you see them learn more about one another. There is a lot of page time spent on Audrey learning about her new home, interacting with the servants, as well as the Earl. While I very much appreciate a slow building romance, there was a startling lack of chemistry between the two of them. I was never very convinced of the attraction, it felt more like a good friendship if I’m being honest.As you’re reading through the story, you learn that Audrey’s former husband wasn’t such a nice man (naturally). You also find out that Audrey lost a baby, and while this goes to explain her reticence with intimacy and her not wanting to get close to Robert, I am also tired of the formula that goes something like this: Loss+ Pain+Grief = you must be alone forever. Robert, of course, is dismayed to hear about Audrey’s loss, but is undeterred and tries to win her over to have a chance at a real marriage.In the end, while Surrender To The Earl is very nice slow building romance, I couldn’t connect with either Robert or Audrey, and the lack of detail concerning her disability was a disappointment to me as well.