Earls Gone Wild: A Brief History and Roundup of Funny Earl Romance Novel Titles

brown-eyed earlCruising the upcoming releases on Amazon, I discovered that Anna Bennett’s My Brown-Eyed Earl (A Wayward Wallflowers Novel) is due out this October. Two things immediately came to mind:

  1. They should open all of Bennett’s book signings this year with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” with lyrics to match the book, and
  2. This earl fad is getting a little wild and also a lot hilarious.

Earls Gone Wild

Dukes in regency romances have long been a trope, with the number of Dukes now numbering in the thousands. Critics of this trend like to point out that there were just 11 dukes in the peerage, so it’s a bit unrealistic that EVERY SINGLE REGENCY ROMANCE has a duke as the romantic lead. (Other critics like to point out how classist and exclusionary this trend is, but more on that another day.)

If a writer wants the romantic lead to not only be a rich dude, but to be a member of the aristocracy, there are only so many options available:

  • Duke
  • Marquess
  • Earl
  • Viscount
  • Baron

Dukes are the most popular because they’re the highest ranked, but in an attempt to break the monotony up, historical romance authors have started turning more and more to earls, of which there were 27–almost three times the number of Dukes, so that’s slightly more realistic, I guess?  The current Earl fad has been going on for the last ten years or so, with even big name writers like Julia Quinn (Everything and the Moon) Loretta Chase (The Mad Earl’s Bride), and Mary Balogh (Only a Promise) getting in on the action.

Word Play in Earl Romance Novel Titles

Beginning in 2010, publishers like HarperCollins and Zebra began to play on the fact that “earl” rhymes with “girl,” and a whole new breed of Regency romance book titles was born, with releases like I Kissed an Earl (ha!) and Sex and the Single Earl (haha!)Since then, it seems like there have been one or two too-clever earl romance books a year, and I laugh every. single. time I see one.

I just can’t help but imagine the conversation between the editor and the author going something like this (I always imagine editors at big publishing houses to have stogies for some reason):

cigar
Editor: Baby, we want you! We love your regency romance! We want it!
sharon-tate-phone-gif
Author: Oh, I’m so glad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

cigar
Editor: There’s just one thing… can you change the duke to an earl?
sharon-tate-phone-gif-2
Author: I guess so, why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Editor: We want to call it Poor Little Rich Earl.
Author: ...
Author: …

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love it.

Roundup of Word Play Earl Romance Novel Titles

For your reading pleasure, below are the top earl funny romance novel titles, in order of Goodreads rating.  (If you’re looking to dip into the Earl game, Charis Michael’s The Earl Next Door has 3.9 stars on Goodreads and is just .99 cents right now on Amazon. Or you can pre-order My Brown-Eyed Earl and chuckle to yourself every time you see your Digital Pre-Order list on Amazon.)

Word Play in Earl Romance Novels | A Brief History and Roundup of Funny Earl Romance Novel Titles | Lindsay Aarons

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