How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn

How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (375 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

She’s trying to follow the rules…

When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a copy of How to Marry a Marquis in her employer’s library, she’s convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she’s become? A guidebook to seduction might be just the thing she needs—and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?

…But he’s making his own

James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager, and his primary suspect is his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth. Intrigued by the alluring young woman with the curious little rulebook, he gallantly offers to help her find a husband… by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides that there is only one rule worth following—that Elizabeth marry her marquis.

The pen is mightier than the sword. However, in this novel a book is mightier because there’s a whole host of words and those words wreak havoc on the life of one Elizabeth Hotchkiss, heroine.

Elizabeth is a wonderful person but she doesn’t have a lot of joy in her life. What she does have is responsibilities, and they are impressively written. A reader comes to understand the scope of her dedication and sacrifice due to the author’s excellent attention to detail, dialogue and the ability to touch my heart.

I can see why Lady Danbury eventually chooses to do what she did. I suspected, but I never quite felt sure of it until it was confirmed. I’m actually glad Ms. Quinn took that route – it made the dragon of a woman into someone I could admire and respect. As with historicals, half of the conflict comes from never baldly stating things like we do now. You had to have finesse back then to plan, manipulate and scheme while continuing to talk like a lady with none the wiser. Unlike Mr. Twain who said, “the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”, dialogue back then was full of almost right words. It’s not a wonder then how things got resolved despite the verbal dance.

I liked James. I had a bit of sympathy for him. True, his lament is the same heard used by many handsome, rich and titled men in romance books – “they want me for my money and title, not for the man I am.” That trope is used here to good effect. Alas, the heroine’s reaction when finding out is typical, but the setting was not. The reveal was not. It really was quite comical, although the heroine and hero surely didn’t find it so. But Blake did and it turns out that his character, though secondary, made an impact on me. I’ll have to check Ms. Quinn’s back list to find out if there’s a story of him being bitten by the love bug too.

When Elizabeth and James finally succumbed to incendiary passion, after simmering so long, it was a long time coming. I was very gratified to see that they are perfect for each other which is a credit to Ms. Quinn’s writing.

The happy ever after is as charming and cute as the story began but very satisfying indeed. How to Marry a Marquis is an easy book to recommend because it’s good, solid entertainment. It left me feeling happy and glad to have read the novel. What a fun read!

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