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The Earl's Dilemma

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  446 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews

James Hargrave, Earl of Arden, urgently needed a wife--and who better than his best friend's sister?

He wasn't looking for passion in this marriage of convenience and plain Kate Honeycourt had been on the shelf for years.

Why, then, should she so firmly turn him down? Surely she couldn't be holding out for a love match? Although, curiously, the more he saw of Kate, the more

paperback, 278 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Harlequin Historical (first published November 22nd 2008)
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"I've Loved You for Years."
249th out of 799 books — 966 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 934)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
I started out being a bit annoyed at the hero, James. He was very dismissive about Kate's looks and not loving her. He had decided to marry her because he needed a bride to keep his estates and his fortune. Unfortunately, Kate overhears his discussion with her brother, and she already has issues about being tall, red-headed and freckled. She's been in love with James, her brother's best friend, for over eleven years, but realizes he will never love her. She determines that she will help him find ...more
Jul 27, 2010 Eastofoz rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Readers looking for a superficial PG romance
Oh barf. This book was so lovey-dovey-sticky-sweet that I had a stomach ache by the end what with the overall goodness of everyone :-/ I very rarely enjoy category romances because I find them too short, the characters are underdeveloped and the stories lack substance. This one’s slightly better than what I’ve read in the past, but not by much.

You could say it’s a friends to lovers story or a spinster/handsome war hero story but it’s not really either because the author doesn’t flesh out the st
♥~♥Geri ~ the Racy Lit Reader ♥~♥
It's been so long since I've picked up an HR but Scribd had a lot of recommendation for me and all of them sounded really good. This book especially. It was a sweet friends-to-lovers story which is what the doctor ordered for me. :D

Full review to come...
Julie (jjmachshev)
Mar 29, 2009 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: friends-to-lovers romance readers
Recommended to Julie (jjmachshev) by: Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Shelves: 2009-reads
A stellar historical romance in the friends-to-lovers vein. "The Earl's Dilemma" by Emily May will leave you with a sappy grin on your face and a little skip in your step.

Kate has loved James since she was seventeen. But after that humiliating summer, she learned to hide her feelings and treat him like the treasured friend he needs. Since then, she's only poured out her heart to her diaries she writes in while secluded in the hidden priest hole of her brother's house. So when she overhears Jame
Sep 23, 2015 Caz rated it really liked it
I read this book a couple of years ago and was less than impressed with it. To be honest, when I looked back on it, I couldn’t remember much about it, but some of my longest-standing Goodreads friends, people whose opinions I value and often share, really liked it, so I slated it for a re-read.

I finally got around to that re-read – and all I can say is that perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I read it first time around, because it’s a really good story with a lovely, well-developed
Miranda Davis
Jan 04, 2015 Miranda Davis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any Regency romance fan!
Having happened upon Emily May's The Spinster's Secret, among the best of the genre I've read this past year, I've read more of her books, written as Emily Larkin as well as Emily May. (All are great reads btw.) The premise here is simple: he must marry; she has known/loved him for years but is disillusioned, so won't marry him for his convenience. The author brings such grace to the narrative, it makes the evolving feelings of H/h unforced and inevitable but never trite. I love this author's fl ...more
3.5 stars

It was a very light and quick read. I like Ms May writing style very much. Her character driven and story development makes reading quite enjoyable.

Although, l liked it, l can't say l loved it. Unfortunately, l didn't convince how hero suddenly came terms of his live for heroine. It was not suddenly but imo, it lack of emotions that l would love to read in romance.
Despite some minor complaints, it was still very entertaining reading.
Harlequin Historical
A must read!

This was the first book by Emily May that I have read and I hope to read many more from her in the future. I loved her characters and how they developed throughout her story.

James visits his friend for a very specific reason. His father's will demands that he marries by the age of 30 and his birthday is fast approaching. With his experience, he knows that he will not find the kind of wife he wants during the season. A young chit straight from the schoolroom would drive him crazy with
Lady Wesley
Jul 06, 2014 Lady Wesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady Wesley by: Miranda Davis
Shelves: m-o-c
Almost four stars.

I thoroughly enjoyed this author's The Spinster's Secret (written under the name Emily Larkin, I dunno why), but this book was not quite as good for me. I think that's because there seemed to be too much repetition of the hero and heroine's thoughts about one another. Perhaps it could have been shorter.

The plot was quite clever, though. James has to marry before his thirtieth birthday in order to keep his unentailed fortune. He hasn't found anyone he fancies, so he decides to m
I was very intrigued by this book when I first discovered it here on Goodreads, because the cover was pretty and it had a promising storyline. To be perfectly honest, The Earl's Dilemma was an extremely engaging read, but I soon felt guilty of reading it as it wasn't clean. I'm very prudish with books, so it was disappointing to me that there were explicit details. Fortunately, the sex scene was easy to foresee, and I was able to skip most of it, but there was still some sentences and words thro ...more
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Jul 13, 2015 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute story. I got a bit frustrated with Kate at times - I felt like shouting out "James really and truly loves you, you dimwit, say yes!" However, I really did love reading this very enjoyable book. Will definitely read more from this author.
Jess the Romanceaholic
It was really cute. My only real criticism is the ending seemed rather abrupt to me. I would have at least liked an epilogue or something..

Other than that though, a very sweet, light read.

4 1/2 Stars
Mary C. *Nulla in mundo pax sincera*
Ah, time to revisit this utterly delightful friends-to-lovers story. This is by far the funniest that I've read, and the most adorable too. :)
Ƥʋиʏα [Punya Reviews...]
3 stars. Not essentially because of the author's writing but because of the character(s).

James is the type of hero who'd never garner much respect from me no matter what. He might have come close but the author didn't even try very hard to make him all that likable, so his and Kate's interactions throughout the story not only felt forced, strained but also, rather amateurish. As a result, his sudden change of perspective where Kate was concerned in about 3 weeks of spending time felt somewhat u
It's the usual combination of "I've loved you for years" and "from friends to lovers" tropes. In this book, it's quite alright , but somehow it fell... flat.

One thing that I like from this book is that I get to see the hero's inner thought and therefore understand why he falls in love with the heroine despite her being ordinary/plain. However, I find the sex scene is too dispassionate (Well, maybe I've been too accustomed to those HR where sex is oh-so-magical-and-eye-opening?) and - to be hone
Kathy (Kindle-aholic)
Sep 15, 2012 Kathy (Kindle-aholic) rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
I needed something completely different and this historical romance fit the bill.

It's a quick read, easy to get into, and I liked the characters.

James needs a wife or he will be disinherited, and only has 2 months to find one (of course), so he decides to settle on his best friend's sister. He likes her, she isn't afraid of him (he has a tendency to scowl and "look stern"), and he thinks they will get on tolerably well. Since she's on the shelf and not known for her beauty, he thinks this is a
Paige  *an exploding fluffball* Bookdragon

Although this book is in need of some heavy duty polishing,I did finish it and quite enjoyed some parts of it.
Mar 18, 2015 Adensanti rated it liked it
i read this book not long ago. this is a sweet romance with no drama or angst or anything that can make you want to pulled out your own hair. which is maybe good for someone who loves this sweet genre but it maybe boring to those who love to have a stressful angst drama kind of plot.
as for me, im 50-50. i like the sweet romance. but i dont like how the author makes the heroine. im not talking about her personality. i love her for her strong prideful personality. what i dont like is how the auth
Jul 23, 2014 Jenny rated it really liked it
I'm not big on Historicals but for some reason this was one of the few I've really enjoyed. I think it's because it's told from the hero's point of view for so much of the story. We see him grow and evolve as he realizes he's never looked at the heroine properly.

I also like that the rigid societal ideas of beauty are part of the reason. She is tall, has freckles and red hair which in their circles wasn't deemed attractive. Now of course she'd probably be a model. Her good friend even tells her
Feb 27, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
At the beginning of the story we find our heroine Kate in a priest hole. For some reason, that image alone elicited a chuckle from me. But for Kate, it's her hiding place where she writes entries in her diaries. I for one have my own nook, it's not a priesthole, but it suffices just the same.

So while in the priest hole she overhears her brother Harry and her always had a crush on him, in love with him, but he doesn't know, James talking. James is reaching 30 and in order to receive his full inh
Good premise but not a good delivery. Nothing special plus annoying writing and too sweet characters that gave me a sugar rush…
Jan 28, 2016 Amy rated it liked it
Kate and James' story with also a side romance from Kate's brother Harry. James has been ordered by his father's will that he must marry before he turns 30 or that he will lose his inheritance of the family estate. He pleads with childhood friend Kate to marry him, but she decides to engage in the task of introducing him to several of her girlfriends since she considers herself "too old" and "too unattractive" for the likes of him. This book is one of those ever so slow Regency romances and does ...more
M.A. Nichols
Jul 10, 2016 M.A. Nichols rated it it was ok
I picked this up because I found it on a list of clean/traditional historical romance novels and as a warning to others who go into it thinking it is, it's NOT. It's got a big ol' sex scene right towards the end that really served no purpose other than to throw in the obligatory sex scene. What frustrates me about sex scenes in historical romances (other than the fact that I don't like sex in my books, so it ruins it for me), is that it's entirely unbelievable. And this book is no exception. The ...more
Connie N.
Jul 17, 2014 Connie N. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: regency-romance
What a great Regency romance! The story mostly focuses on two main characters--Kate and James, although we also meet her brother Harry and her friend Lizzie. But there's not a lot of attending balls and all that which is usually a big part of Regency romances. Kate and James have known each other for years, with him thinking of her as a sister and she in love with him. When he needs to find a wife in order to retain his inheritance, he thinks of her. What makes the love conflict so believable in ...more
Sep 09, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Not bad, I enjoyed this Regency of Kate, who is a spinster that has been in love with James, Earl of Arden for 11 years - in secret. She is now 28 and on the shelf and he is in need getting married within two months in order to keep his estate and money, etc, according to the will of his father. He also is suffering from PSDS after the battle of Waterloo. He has decided to marry his old friend's sister, Kate and she overhears a conversation in which he is discussing it with her brother, Harry, a ...more
Jan 03, 2013 RebeccaL rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
This is a storyline that I have read before but when did it right, the story itself can be quite beautiful.

I love unrequited love stories and see how the relationship grows and turn to love. I am also a stronger believer that a good relationship should built on trust, respect and friendship. I also believe that your partner, if not as good as a best friend, should be at least someone you can discuss your day to day life and share the problems and deal with any obstacles together. This story has
Dana S
I only had time for some quick reads, as we were flooded with friends/family during the past week. This one was an ok read for me. I liked the author's voice enough, but the characterizations felt shallow. And I was seriously irritated by too much repetition of certain phrases and an overuse of exclamation points.

The story is simple, James needs to marry in order to inherit. The deadline to marry is coming up and he decides that his best friend's sister, Kate, is his best bet. Kate has loved hi
Mar 16, 2016 PNR rated it really liked it
Spot on. Heroine has been in love with the hero for years. She is tall and freckled and considered plain, and this combined with harsh words from her Aunt and former suitors has convinced her that she is completely undesirable. The hero must marry before his birthday, and Kate, while hiding, overhears James speaking to her brother about arranging their marriage, declaring his complete lack of passion and love for her. She wants him to be happy so she decides to help him find love. Her matchmakin ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Jenny rated it liked it
I was really in love with the storyline, but it fell a little flat around 60% in. I was put off by the heroine's disdain for herself, and even trying to convince the hero he doesn't like her. Other than that, I very much enjoyed the potential this book had. Nice example of a handsome man falling in love with the plain mouse. I just wish that mouse had a little more of a backbone.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 20, 2015 08:54AM  
  • Miss Winthorpe's Elopement (Belston & Friends #1)
  • A Perfect Scoundrel
  • The Spinster's Secret
  • The Shy Duchess
  • The Viscount and the Virgin (Regency Silk & Scandal, #5)
  • The Captain and the Wallflower
  • The Fortune Hunter (Lord Rival, #2)
  • A Worthy Wife
  • To Wed a Wicked Earl (Devine & Friends, #2)
  • Bought: The Penniless Lady  (Gentlemen of Fortune, #2)
  • The Officer and the Proper Lady (Regency Silk & Scandal, #7)
  • Courting Miss Hattie
  • My Darling Caroline
  • Entwined (The Ten, #1)
  • A Masked Deception
  • Nearly a Lady
  • In For a Penny
  • The Marriage Bed

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