How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #6
Also in this series: Like No Other Lover, I Kissed an Earl, What I Did For a Duke with Bonus Material, It Happened One Midnight, The Legend of Lyon Redmond
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: December 27th 2011
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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 about 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.
Miss Phoebe Vale is a teacher and sometimes companion to Lisbeth Redmond. She has a bit of an obsession with the ton, particularly Lord Ice, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden. She and a local shopkeeper often joke that she, too, is a member of the peerage and make up stories about Lord Ice. Which is all fine and well, until the day he actually shows up at the shop. She overhears him make a bet with a friend that he can kiss her, the “unkissable schoolmistress”. Disillusioned, she returns to the school to prepare for his visit. Only he isn’t what she expected. During his tour, she realizes he’s charming and witty – and she falls just a little bit in love with him. Of course she knows nothing can come of it. Not only is she not a suitable bride for him, but she’s about to be off on a world tour – starting with Africa, where she’s just been offered a position with a charity group.
But that doesn’t stop her from accepting an invitation from Lisbeth Redmond to act as her paid companion. Something that will put her into constant contact with Jules. She doesn’t accept solely for that reason, but it is a nice added bonus. While there, she befriends two silly society misses, who invite her to town to spend the season with them. Much to her surprise – including hers – she soon becomes the toast of the town. She receives flowers, odes are written to her beauty and she becomes known as The Original. Yet it’s Jules she’s drawn to.
Jules has spent most of his life trying to undo the damage his father did to the family reputation and coffers. He decides Lisbeth Redmond will be the perfect bride. Marrying her will restore a piece of land to his family. Plus, she comes from a powerful family, which will make a good connection for him. But from the moment he meets Phoebe Vale, he’s drawn to her. Her quick wit and sharp mind draw him in just as much as her looks. He must marry Lisbeth, but he wants Phoebe. So he offers to make her his mistress. Which, he soon realizes, she will never agree to. So where do they go from here?
Long excels at writing smart characters with excellent dialogue. Both Jules and Phoebe are well drawn, and their journey is one that tugs at the heartstrings.While I didn’t love this one quite as much as What I Did For a Duke (the best in the series, I think), I did enjoy it quite a bit. Phoebe is practical and levelheaded, yet she has a whimsical, dreamy side that keeps her from being staid or boring. It was easy to see why Jules was drawn to her. Likewise, Jules was a very loveable character. They had great chemistry and a strong connection that came through well.
Another excellent Pennyroyal Green novel from Long. A satisfying blend of humor and depth. Not to be missed.
4.5 out of 5
This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.