Sunday, December 13, 2009

Recent Read

A Marquis to Mary by Amelia Grey

Why this one: I don’t really know. It was an impulse decision

Steam Level: Not the hottest book on the block, but it was warmish

At this point I should mention that the book I read was an ARC copy. I'm not 100% sure where I got it from, but I think it was a gem I picked up at the RWA conference in Washington DC this past summer.



When his noble visitor accuses Raceworth of hiding priceless stolen pearls belonging to her family, he’s angrier than he’s ever been. No way is he going to hand over his grandmother’s necklace – not to her and definitely not to the other shady characters who are suddenly in pursuit of them.


Relentless as she is, Susannah, Duchess of Brookfield, refuses to be intimidated by the Marquis’ commanding presence, chiselled good looks, or charming smile, and his anger isn’t going to stop her either. She has proof the pearls are rightfully hers, and she means to have them – no matter what she has to do.

But when the pearls disappear, Race and Susannah have no choice but to join forces, or something immeasurably precious to them both may be gone forever...

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book! I really, really enjoyed it. I’ve become quite jaded about many historical romances thinking that there is way too much same old, same old. I actually surprised myself when I picked this one up to read as I’ve been rather vocal at times on my annoyance with all the Dukes and Earls and Marquis’ etc. But this one was a very delightful surprise.

Race is a very charming very likeable hero. No tortured hero is Race. He is hosting a card party when he is notified there is a Dowager Duchess waiting to see him. Figuring she must be on the older side, he has her wait until he’s ready. Much to his surprise, the Dowager Duchess is in fact a beautiful young woman around his own age. He is immediately attracted to her, even though she is claiming an expensive set of pearls he inherited from his grandmother in fact, was stolen from her family.

And for her part, Susannah is a very likeable heroine. Forced to marry a much older man when she was found in a compromising position, she was one of those widowed heroines. But unlike the ones that drive us crazy, she wasn’t a virgin widow. And while she didn’t love her late husband, she did respect him and while their love life wasn’t the most exciting, she didn’t have negative feelings towards sex. I found this quite refreshing. And even more so, she was on good terms with her step son and his family.

Her goal in traveling to London was to retrieve the pearl necklace. But when she meets Race, she finds herself as attracted to him as he is to her.

Despite their dispute on the necklace, things go swimmingly well between these two until the necklace is stolen and Race accuses Susannah of being in cahoots with the thief which understandably puts a crimp in their growing relationship.

What really impressed me about this book is there were a number of places where the author could have gone in a direction guaranteed to drive readers crazy with the ‘big misunderstanding’ but instead the author had the characters acting in a mature, intelligent way. For example, when wrongfully accused, Susannah is upset, but at the same time realizes how Race could have come to the conclusion he did. So while there was a rift, it wasn’t insurmountable due to Susannah’s understanding nature. And Race realizes he blew it and why and is ready to make amends.

In a book where so many things could have gone off rail, the author took the story in a direction I really appreciated. As a result, I really give Ms. Grey high marks in this regard.

There was also a secondary story that I found quite amusing. A good friend of the hero somehow manages to get himself challenged to a duel and he chooses fisticuffs. The whole storyline of Race and his cousins trying to talk their friend out of this ‘foolishness’ is hilarious. And again the way the writer resolves this dilemma gets a thumbs up.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, I’m glad I have the first one and look forward to the third. Since this is the second, for those wanting to know, it worked very well without having read the first book. The hero and heroine of A Duke to Die for do make an appearance in this one, but even without having read their book, this one was easy to follow. I give this book an unqualified recommendation.

I'm even more excited as Amelia Grey is a new-to-me author and she has a BACKLIST!! She's also written some books as Gloria Dale Skinner which I've never tried. I'm looking forward to searching out her earlier books by both names.

For a review of the first book - which I will be reading shortly myself as I enjoyed this one so much, check out Bloduedd's review.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


orannia said...

Great review Kristie - thank you! I like books without the big misunderstanding! And Amelia Grey is a new-to-me author too :) I wonder if my library has her books...

Blodeuedd said...

Nice review :D
Oh I am so glad to hear she is not a virgin widow, or one that hates sex and suddenly melts and yes all the rest. Sounds refreshing, and yay I have it too. So now I can compare.

Thanks for mentioning me

Kwana said...

What a nice surprise review for an impulse read. Thanks.

Tabitha said...

I love it when you pick up a book on impulse and it turns out to be quite an enjoyable read. I'll be checking this book out. I need something to pull me out of my annoying reading slump and I'm all for likeable characters. Thanks Kristie!

Jill D. said...

I read this one too, but I didn't enjoy it as much as you did. I gave it a C-, which is bordering on actively disliking it. Yikes!

I liked the characters okay, but I was bored with the story. If you can believe that! I am glad you liked it, though. Grey has a solid fan base.

nath said...

Authors with backlist are really the best LOL :) I heard of this author, but never read her...Will have to keep her on my list of authors to discover :D

Kristie (J) said...

Nath: I already ordered some of her books!! They were on for a reduced price at Amazon and by having them shipped to my sister who lives in the US, I saved me some nice money!!

Jill: *laughing* We are usually a lot more in sync aren't we? I think what I really liked in this book is a number of places, I kind of shook my head and thought 'oh no, she's going to go down that road' and she never did.

Tabitha: I love it when I try a new author or new to me author and she 'works'. A backlist makes it even better!! It very rarely happens anymore.

Kwana: It was indeed such a nice surprise! And now I have the first one to read and the third one to look forward too :)

Blodeuedd: Her attitude was refreshing!! A 'non-virgin widow who didn't have the best sex life but respected her husband and is willing to give sex another go' is a rare heroine indeed. I shall be looking to see what you think of this one!
And I was happy to mention your review :-) More thoughts and opinions are always good.

Orannia: It was nice to see that while there could have been the Big Misunderstanding - there wasn't. I'm not much for that plot point anymore.

JennJ said...

Great review Kristie I'll have to look for this one! :)

Blodeuedd said...

Aye, I must get reading soon, but sadly it was not high on the TBR pile. I am going for my chunky books first now