Title: How the Marquess was Won
Series: Pennyroyal Green bk 6
Author: Julie Anne Long
Genre: Historical, Regency
The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.
Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.
She’s not afraid to play with fire…
But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.
From the perspective of a reader-turned-writer:
I have to admit that I’ve been a fan of Julie Anne Long’s ever since reading the first book in the Pennyroyal Green series. While I haven’t loved each of the books the same (how can we forget the puppets in Since the Surrender?), I’m glad I’ve read each and every one. If JAL was an auto-buy author for me before, after reading March 2011’s What I Did for a Duke and this recent 12/27/11 release, she has since become one of my “must-read-as-soon-as-it-comes-out” authors.
While each of the books in the Pennyroyal Green series can be considered a stand-alone and enjoyed as such, one of the interesting things about this book is that neither the hero nor the heroine are related to the two families featured in the rest of the series. I was concerned about this when I first read the book blurb, but Ms. Long weaved in the characters from the series seamlessly and I was so swept away by How the Marquess was Won from page 1 that it didn’t matter.
Ms. Long’s books are always witty–I find myself smiling through most of the dialogue–but the character of Phoebe Vale was especially fun to read. She’s probably the most clever and sarcastic of Ms. Long’s heroines so far, yet this is tempered by her vulnerabilities in such a way that I always liked her. Her flaws came off as sympathetic rather than ones that needed to be redeemed. She is a heroine who has, in many ways, led a difficult life, but she has a strength and determination that make it seem as if she could never truly be broken. And one of the reasons I adored this book was because the hero is the one who truly understands her weaknesses; he is her rock when she never assumes that anyone will be there for her.
Another thing I love about Ms. Long’s writing is the way she creates fresh characters, and this hero, Jules, is no exception. In some ways he appears to be what we historical readers are generally attracted to in a man: dark and wicked…and yet, there is a romanticism and tenderness to him that is utterly sighworthy. After reading so many historical heroes who are relentlessly hard (and I’m not talking about a certain part of their anatomy), it was so refreshing to read a hero who is open about his feelings (although not in a gushy way) and acknowledges to himself freely what he feels for the heroine.
I really could go on and on about this book, exploring every aspect of character, voice, plot, and style–but let me summarize by saying that there was not one page I wished to skip, nor was there any time when I wished the book would be over. I didn’t want to get to the end, because I absolutely loved Phoebe and Jules. My only complaint is that I wish the next book in the series (whatever it is) would come out tomorrow.
Overall Grade: A+
Romantic Grade: A+
You can purchase the book here