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The Earl Not Taken by A.S. Fenichel - Book Tour & Review

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We're thrilled to be a part of the virtual book tour for THE EARL NOT TAKEN by historical fiction author A.S. Fenichel. Scroll down and find out how you can pick up your copy!


By A.S. Fenichel

Historical Fiction

Left standing on the side while their contemporaries 

marry into society, four young ladies forge a bond to guard each other 
from a similar fate . . .

Finishing school failed to make a proper lady of Penelope Arrington.
But as a Wallflower of West Lane, Poppy has a far more vital role—she
and her three best friends have made a pact to protect each other from
the clutches of dangerous, disreputable men. So when one of them is
about to be married off to a duke sight unseen, Poppy makes it her
mission to divine the prospective husband’s true character. If only she
didn’t require the aid of London’s most unsuitable rake.

Rhys Draper, Earl of Marsden, has known the headstrong Poppy since
she was a young girl, naïve to the ways of men. To her eternal
chagrin—and to his vague amusement—they have been at odds over the
memory of their embarrassing first encounter all these years. Now, with
his services in need, Rhys sees a chance to finally clear the air
between them. Instead, he is surprised by the heat of their feelings. If
the two do not tread carefully, they may end up in a most agreeably
compromising position . . .

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“I want you, Penelope Arrington. I’ve never desired anyone as I do you, now, in this place.” He waited for her to slap his face, but the strike never came.

Her nose scrunched up as it did whenever she gave something a lot of thought. “Then you do not hate me.”

Holding in a laugh that would have given away how uncomfortable he was with his behavior over the last six years, his shame swelled in his chest. “I have never hated you, Poppy. I have always thought you a beautiful, smart, incorrigible woman. I won’t deny that your antics and attitude toward me have inspired behavior I am not proud of.”

Those sweet lips that set his blood on fire pulled down, and a crease formed between her eyes. “I have long thought you were off bedding everything in a skirt you could catch.”

“I am not a saint. However, your assessment was a vast exaggeration.”

She stepped back like an emerald in a room filled with every other color. Poppy shined the brightest in a room filled with jewels. “Do you remember our first meeting at George’s when you escorted me home and said you hoped I would someday tell you my wants in life?”

While he wanted her back in his arms, he respected her personal space. The moment she spoke of had changed his presumptions about her. “I remember.”

She toyed with the fringe on one of dozens of pillows tossed haphazardly on an oversized red chaise. All the furniture might fit nicely in a sheik’s harem. Sitting, she sighed. “I want to have a different kind of life.”

Following her, he sat close. “Tell me about the life you dream of.”

“My dreams do not include a husband to boss me about and keep me at his convenience.” An angry edge laced her words.

“Is that what all husbands do?”

The Earl Not Taken is the first book in the Wallflowers of West Lane series. This book follows Penelope, aka Poppy, as she helps another Wallflower uncover the truth about her soon-to-be husband. Another Wallflower had a terribly awful marriage, so now the friends have a pact to protect one another from horrible men and marriage. But what Poppy doesn't count on is her mixed feelings towards her friend's brother, Rhys. Can Poppy help her friend while tackling her own desires?
I really enjoyed this story. It's a well-written, quick and easy read. Poppy was a fun character, with her not-so-ladylike ways. She's clumsy. She uses phrases most ladies frown upon. And she doesn't care what anyone thinks of her. She's loyal to her three friends, and that's that.
I also really liked the other girls she's friends with. Aurora, Mercy, and Faith all seemed like they'd be fun to spend time with in real life. None of them really follow society's rules, and that's what makes them likable and relatable. 
Rhys is a great character. He may have his faults, but he's caring and loving, and he'll do anything to protect his sister and her friends. He also seems to enjoy getting in on their mission to dig up the truth about the man Faith is engaged to. I thought he was lovely.
I didn't care much for Poppy's parents, though. Her dad was awful, and her mom just went along with it, although she does have a moment near the end. I also wasn't a fan of Aurora's parents either. 
I will definitely be continuing the series. I'm curious to see how Faith's story plays out in the next book. 
4 stars from me!

A.S. Fenichel gave up a successful IT
career in New York City to pursue her lifelong dream of being a
professional writer. She adores writing stories filled with love,
passion, desire, magic and maybe a little mayhem tossed in for good
measure. Originally from New York, she grew up in New Jersey, and now
lives in Missouri with her real-life hero, her wonderful husband and two
temperamental cats.

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