It's hard to take a story seriously when, despite being set in the early 1800s, the hero and heroine have names from the 1970s. It appears that 'Brian' has become a very popular name in the USA at the moment as it keeps popping up in books (along with 'Adrian'), although in the UK those names aren't favored. But 'Gillian' too? Brian may be an old name, but it was almost never used in England until the twentieth century. Gillian was very rarely used at that time,
and both names together just feel wrong. Unfortunately, from that point on, I found myself unable to quite believe I was in the Regency period, especially when people kept talking like modern-day Americans the whole time.
The Earl Claims His Wife is about rediscovered (or discovered-for-the-first-time) love.
Gillian has been married to Brian, Lord Wright, for several years but has not seen him as he's been away fighting against Napoleon. After their wedding night, he told Gillian that he loves his mistress, so they were estranged. As the story begins, Wright has returned from overseas and is writing to Gillian to ask her to return to him. She, on the other hand, has caught the fancy of a handsome Spanish chap and is considering an affair with him. When Wright appears to bring her back to London with him, there starts a battle of wills and a journey of discovery - and some things that Gillian has to discover may cause her much heartache.
This was a rather disjointed story. Gillian falls in and out of love with Brian, there are misunderstandings galore (many of which seem rather unlikely), lack of communication is vital to the plot, yet it seems that Gillian and Brian are actually very good at communicating in other areas. Gillian's behavior toward the Spanish Barón is not a good advert for her character but is one of the few indications that we actually get
regarding character in the story; otherwise, everyone seems a bit wooden. The ever-present plot requirement that Brian tell Gillian he loves her (and then everything will be fine)
is grating, and the historical setting doesn't work in many occasions. It's fun reading a book set in the Regency period, but not when the names, language and behavior of the characters is better suited to 21st-century America.