Book Review:  Girls Before Earls, by Anna Bennett

Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:   Girls Before Earls
Author:   Anna Bennett
Genre:   Romance
Rating:  4 out of 5

WHAT A GIRL WANTS

 To survive her difficult childhood, Miss Hazel Lively relied on two things:a tough outer shell and a love of books. Now, at the age of twenty-eight, she’s finally realized her life-long dream of opening a school for girls. She’s hoping that the wealthy families who flock to the shore for the summer will entrust their daughters to Bellehaven Academy―and help pay the way for less fortunate students. All Hazel must do is maintain a flawless reputation and raise a good deal of money. It’s a foolproof plan…till a sinfully handsome earl strides into her office.

 WHAT AN EARL NEEDS

 Gabriel Beckett, Earl of Bladenton, has had a monstrous headache since the day his teenaged niece became his ward. She’s been expelled from two London boarding schools and is doing her damnedest to scare off his potential fiancée. But Blade has a plan of his own―enroll his niece at Bellehaven Academy, where she’ll be out of town and out of his hair. He just needs to convince the buttoned-up headmistress with the soulful brown eyes to take on his niece.

 LEAD TO AN IRRESISTIBLE DEAL

 When Blade makes a generous offer to the school, it’s impossible for Hazel to refuse. But she has one non-negotiable condition: the earl must visit his niece every other week. Soon, Blade discovers there’s much more to Hazel than meticulous lesson plans. In moonlit seaside coves and candlelit ballrooms, their sparring leads to flirtation…and something altogether deeper. But the passion that flares between them poses a threat to Hazel’s school and Blade’s battered heart. They say a good thing can’t last forever, but true love? Well, it just might…

 This was a good fun read. It isn’t heavy or depressing, just plain fun. I like how Hazel didn’t compromise her priorities or values, even for Blade, and his willingness to do the right thing, even when he didn’t want to. The girls were the best part, though. I liked seeing them grow and blossom as they learned and became friends.

Anna Bennett is an award-winning author. Girls Before Earls is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.)

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