The Training of a Marquess by Sandra Owens‏

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Claire Tremaine, the widowed Marchioness of Derebourne, wears leather breeches, trains horses, and helps the damaged ones find their lost spirit. Her husband has just passed away, leaving her with no place to live.

Chastain Warren, the Earl of Kensington, Chase to his friends, isn’t pleased when he learns he’s inherited the title of Marquess of Derebourne. Having recently lost his beloved wife and child, the last thing he wants is to be caretaker of Hillcrest Abbey. Nor does he want to be attracted to Derebourne’s widow, but he is. This woman who wears breeches isn’t anything like the ladies he’s waltzed with in the ballrooms of London.

It doesn’t take Claire long to realize she wants this man, and when he resists, she comes up with a plan she calls The Training of a Marquess and works her horse-whispering magic on Chase.

Publisher and Release Date: The Wild Rose Press, May 2013

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Hannah Fielding

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical romance novel.

What attracted me most to the book in the first instance was the idea that both the heroine and the hero are not first loves – both were widowed, and Chase, at least, has loved and lost. This struck me as a fresh and brave starting point for a love story, and I was intrigued to see how the author would craft such a story for two people with a good amount of experience in matters of the heart.

Plus, as a horse lover, I couldn’t resist a story from this angle!

The book did not disappoint. From the outset I was drawn into the story, and I found myself looking forward to picking my Kindle up to dive back into it each day. It’s a compelling book with an interesting, believable and engaging plot with just the right balance of action and inner-world exploration. The book moves along at a good pace, and as I read I felt quite comfortable with the direction of the story.

The characterisations are likeable and vivid. My favourite characters are Chase’s twin ‘sons’ who made my heart melt – both for them and the man who’d adopted them – and Chase’s mother, who’s just fabulous for her era. I also connected well with the lovers: I very much like the author’s use of narration from both Chase and Claire’s points of view, which allows us to get really close to both main characters.

The author does a great job of creating an emotional connection between the reader and the characters. Both the leads have tragic back stories, and I was especially moved by Claire’s. That’s not to say that this is a deep, dark, poignant book – to me, the pervading sense was more like a light romp of a read; indeed, I laughed out loud at some points.

I’d have loved just a little more historical context and setting description. I like to be able to really picture scenes in my mind, and explore the historical period in which a story is set and learn about it.

I think this is a great book for fun escapism – though you need to not take too seriously the idea of training a man as you would a horse!

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