Wonderful, Enchanting, Intriguing, Emotional and there are so many more words to describe this amazing book. It literally held me captive until 2:30 in the morning because I could not put it down. At the last page my heart was smiling!! Shana Galen took the hero Major Neil Wraxall, bastard son of a Marquess and made his character come to life, with all of his haunting memories from the war. He and the heroine Lady Juliana, spoiled daughter of an Earl evolve right there on each page as each deals with their issues and each others. Juliana has been devoting herself to an orphanage and trying to keep it afloat with 12 boys, who will make you want to just jump in and help them. The story begins when Neil is sent on a simple mission to fetch Juliana and make her go home as she has been spending too much time at the orphanage. You see, his father is a good friend of Juliana's father so there is a connection. Enough said. What follows is a an entertaining, sometimes funny (yes there are pets you will squeal about!) and at times dangerous journey as Neil and Juliana spark a friendship (ok I might say slow burn) while trying to navigate the care of the boys and outside forces that are determined to cause harm. I truly am caught and pulled in by this series "The Survivors" and cannot wait to see who comes up next!!!! Thank you Shana for writing this story and touching my heart..
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Major Neil Wraxall, after a few hours of fitful sleep, goes to the Draven Club. The Master of the House has a message from Neil’s father, the Marquess of Kensingon; Neil is to go fetch Lady Juliana, the daughter of his father’s long-time friend, the Earl of St. Maur. Juliana’s Sunnybrooke Home for Boys is far from sunny: the building is decrepit, the cook just quit, and the boys are misbehaving. Juliana has been there a few months, and it has never been worse. She had to hurry for an emergency, and to top it off, Mr. Slag, a crime lord, makes an unwanted appearance. Slag had already offered Juliana his “protection”, and his insistence is becoming more threatening. Neil knows Juliana needs help, but how can a soldier deal with a stubborn woman and a passle of wild boys? Neil still has nightmares over a mission gone wrong and the death of his brother; he does not feel equipped to deal with love. When her sister Harriett died, Juliana dealt with her grief in occupying herself with charity work, and it has come to mean everything for her, more than even thinking of having a family of her own. The handsome Major though is a welcome distraction, if a temporary one. While she doesn’t want Neil’s help, she cannot deny that the orphanage might need a man’s touch, and it was quite a sight to see the army man at work with the boys, and their pets. A slight trigger warning might be in order here for readers with a serious aversion to rats, because said pets are rats: Mark, Matthew, and Luke. A single line had me in stitches: “We don’t discuss John”. Even though Juliana and Neil don’t see eye to eye when it comes to her presence at the orphanage, Neil cannot deny that the boys need help, which proves to be an eye-opener for him. Working alongside the fetching Juliana is no hardship either, and I loved the build-up to the culmination of their attraction: it was perfectly timed; nothing was rushed; it was just lovely and always believable; you know their love will last. NO EARLS ALLOWED, book #2 in the Survivors series, stands perfectly on its own, and while Neil is joined briefly by some of his comrades, but newcomers to the series will not feel lost. NO EARLS ALLOWED is a gentle and very romantic story where Juliana and Neil act like adults; there are no misunderstandings, no miscommunications, no undue silliness, and the action feels realistic, which is a rare thing these days. And let’s not forget the darkly mysterious Jasper and the irresistibly roguish Rafe. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The story grabbed me quite quickly and I felt invested in the characters from very early on. Their stories felt well round and believable. The author never strayed too far from the main characters but still gave us a taste of some of the other heroes in the survivors club setting up the next book quite nicely. But the best part about this book was the chemistry between the main characters. Their connection felt real and compelling and the characters never felt overdone or melodramatic.