This historical romance entails a refreshing tale centered on a charming hero in misery and a strong minded heroine.
Overall Storyline Characters Writing
The story begins with Alex, newly titled Marquis of Exeter, finding his mother to have eloped leaving behind a scandal, young daughters, an estate, and a justifiably disgruntled Alex. He is clueless about running a household, his estate and quite obviously raising his sisters. His poor management skills are due to procrastination on his father’s part, who never taught Alex anything useful. Matter further escalates with Alex’s poor social standing due to incessant ton gossip and status of his sisters as social pariahs.
After exploring all his options, Alex soon realizes there is only one answer to all his woes. Marriage. He doesn’t want to be shackled with a wife but needed one who can run an estate, govern his holdings, and help raise his sisters. And the answer to all his miseries presented in the form of Lady Dorie. Alex is well aware of Dorie’s apt estate management skills through her brief stint at running his household in the absence of his mother. She is, therefore, more than fit for the position of his wife and the Marchioness of Exeter. Too bad for Alex, Dorie is above the kind to wear heart on her sleeve. She despises common strictures of society and wishes only for a love match. Therefore, Alex’s clinical proposal of a marriage doesn’t have any allure to the strong-willed Dorie.
“She was not going to be married because a gentleman happened to require a wife”
She soon recruits herself as the matchmaker for Alex and also as his tutor to guide me to the basics of estate management. Dorie is remarkable with her beauty, grace, intelligence, and tenderness. Alex’s list of attributes keeps growing and Dorie resistance to his charms, kindness and thoughtfulness starts turning futile. I loved reading about the growth of their relationship.
First half is indeed well written and captivating but the second half falters in a way. A better part of the book entailed a clueless Alex tiptoeing around Dorie for her affections. The ensuing connection had me anticipating a sizzling romance between a handsome Marquis and a strong-minded Dorie. However, things soon cooled down with an underdeveloped sensual chemistry. I love a slow-burner as much as the next girl but here, either the road to romance was way too long or the characters lost their way somewhere in between. The friendship and camaraderie did eventually evolve into a romance but that was lifeless at best and could have done better with a generous flow of heat.
Another thing that bugged me was that Alex’s father, a marquis, left his only heir with absolutely zero knowledge of his duties. That seemed highly unlikely even after the excuses mentioned in the book.
That being said, the writing was good and it was a pretty decent read with likable characters founded in a somewhat unusual setting. This is book 9 in The Marriage Game series and can be read as a standalone.