Lady Miranda Leighton and the Marquis of Stafford, Roman de Courtenay, have a similar problem: their families want them to find a spouse. Together they hatch the perfect scheme: they will pretend an attachment and trick their families in their pursuit of one last season of unencumbered entertainment. Yet, in each other’s constant company, they find their ruse giving rise to some surprisingly very real feelings. What happens when you set out to fool society, but only end up fooling yourselves?
“Let us take each day as it comes, and decide entertainments best suited to our attendance closer to the events,” Lord Stafford suggested with a resigned air. He sighed, suddenly weary at the drastic turn his summer was taking. His time would not be his own, it seemed. At least Lady Miranda did not ask him to undertake the ridiculous, such as a trip to Tattersall’s, a gambling hell, or Almack’s. He could well manage a few parties and the occasional turn through Hyde Park. He grinned suddenly. “We shall woo our families with the idea that we woo each other,” he quipped.
Miranda groaned, rolling her eyes but grinning in response. “And we shall have the most fun possible in the process.”
“Yes, well, that remains to be seen. I suppose it depends on one’s definition of ‘fun,’” he returned as his brows drew together in thought.
“And in one’s ability to experience it. I give you leave to pay me as many pretty comments as necessary,” she teased.
“Then, I give you leave to swoon, but no more than twice, and only after conveying your raptures over the delicacy of my words.”
Miranda squeezed his arm in delight as they neared the gazebo. “I’m not ashamed to admit it: I plan to enjoy our ruse immensely.”
“While I plan to suffer all for the greater good.”
“As long as you ‘suffer all’ with a besotted air, you may suffer as much as you see fit.”
Renee will be awarding a replica of the locket and chain worn by the heroine in the book, and a copy of A Marquis For All Seasons (choice of print or ebook; print will be autographed) to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US ONLY)
Publisher and Release Date: Rock Creek Publishing, May 2014
Time and Setting: England, 1812
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Claudia
Although the plot of A Marquis for All Seasons is about deception, the story is pretty straightforward. Miranda and Roman try to avoid marriage by attempting to convince society that they have a commitment to each other. Their families are difficult to persuade, so the couple tries even harder to convince everyone of the truth of their relationship. But as they do so, Miranda and Roman get to know each other better, and start to develop some true feelings for each other. Neither of them is really sure how to deal with their emotions and have no idea of they are reciprocated. In addition, there is a small sub-plot featuring a villainous fortune hunter and an attempted abduction; and although this storyline is definitely not the focus of the story, it is the basis of some of the events and perhaps lays the groundwork for the next story in this series.
The story is told from both Roman’s and Miranda’s points of view, which allows the reader to see how their feelings and relationship develop. Both are likeable characters but there is not much depth to the characterization, and I feel the romance is under-developed. We get to see more of Roman’s growing feelings for Miranda, but hers feel more like a sudden turn than a real development. The characters from the previous book (Lord Love a Duke) also make an appearance and I think this will add appeal to readers who read it.
I enjoyed the book overall, but there is one aspect I found off-putting, which is that the story doesn’t project a real sense of the historical period in which it is set. To be sure, the strict rules of society are mentioned, as are the negative consequences of gossip – but neither has an impact on the characters or their standing in society. First of all, Roman proposes the fake-engagement scheme to fool their families – but that’s an incredibly risky thing to do, given that a woman who jilts a man would have damaged her reputation. What sort of gentleman would have suggested something like that to a proper young lady? Furthermore, the things which happen to Miranda are things which would normally cause quite a lot of scandal, especially measured by the standards of that time. I can’t imagine that these public interactions with Roman would not have a serious consequence for Miranda’s social standing – especially when her name is mentioned more than once in the gossip papers. There are never any real repercussions for Miranda – more or less all her adventures (like when she takes part in a public performance by jugglers!) are not really remarked upon, and she escapes with her reputation intact. Because of this, the story lost some of its appeal and did not feel like a Regency Romance.
In spite of that, the storytelling was quite good and I liked the central couple enough to want to know how things would work out for them.
All in all, the book delivered the fun story promised by the blurb. A Marquis for All Seasons is an enjoyable and solid read with some funny scenes – a good book for a sunny beach day.
About the Author
Author Renée Reynolds grew up all over the world as the daughter of a globe-trotting Marine father and spirited and supportive mother. Their family motto was you can never learn too much, travel too much, or talk too much.
She majored in majors in college, and after obtaining a host of degrees she decided not to use any of them and instead writes about what she cannot do – go back in time to dance at balls, flirt with lords, gentlemen, and scoundrels, and gallop unfashionably down Rotten Row during the most fashionable hour.
After dodging a few Collinses and Wickhams, Renée happily snared a Darcy. Her HEA turned out to be in Texas, where she resides with “the hubs, the kiddos, a boisterous menagerie of indoor and outdoor animals, and a yard of meticulously maintained weeds.” She has happily tagged on this addendum to the family motto: you can never read too much, too often, or too late at night.