good earls don't lie kicks off the earls next door series from michelle willingham. in this particular novel we meet the thornton family and an irish earl named iain. he comes to their estate on the invitation of their family matriarch in the hopes of securing her assistance in finding a suitable bride to help save his family estates in ireland that have been suffering from the terrible potato blight and famine that consumed that country in the mid-nineteenth century.
unfortunately for iain, his carriage ran into trouble and his servants escaped to try their luck elsewhere while he was set upon by thieves when he went to get help on horseback. they leave him without his shoes, the shirt on his back, the signet ring that identifies him as the earl of ashton and a letter of introduction to the family. even as he swears to them that he is the earl of ashton, no one believes him. and being irish meant that culturally he had a reputation of a liar and a thief though no fault of his own.
he first meets lady rose, the invalid eldest daughter of the family. she suffered a terrible illness that left her legs paralyzed and she is dependent on her servants to get around. she is determined to walk again, but no one else believes that she will ever do it. even though she mistrusts iain at first, the more time she spends with him she believes that he can't be a simple servant. and when he does prove himself to be truthful she takes up his cause, agreeing to help him acquire the proper polish to move about in society, while allowing him to help her relearn how to walk.
this requires that they spend time together, and soon a deep affection grows between them. but rose is loathe to give up on her previous love, lord thomas burkham even though his constancy comes into question daily since he has left her to her own devices throughout her convalescence. when they come to london and everything comes to a head it is clear that lady rose and iain are meant to be together. they overcome quite a few obstacles to get there and it's a nice, sweet read. i liked iain a lot as a character. and we got a sense of the story brewing between matthew and lily in the next novel, what the earl wants. and my guess is that rose's brother, james and her friend, evangeline sinclair round out the series, but we shall see what lies in store i suppose.
**good earls don't lie will publish on september 27, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/montlake publishing in exchange for my honest review.