Tag: Madison Sisters

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay Sands

Posted February 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heiress by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
The Heiress by Lynsay Sands
Series: Madison Sisters #2
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 22, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 382
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

Desperately seeking a husband...

Suzette is not like other heiresses; she wants a poor husband, a gentleman who will be so grateful for her dowry that he will allow her access to it so that she can pay off her father's gambling debts. When this alluring beauty encounters Daniel Woodrow—handsome, titled, single . . . and even more impoverished than she could have hoped for—it seems Suzette's wildest dreams have come true.

But Daniel has not been truthful. Tired of being accosted by an endless stream of vapid coquettes and their fortune-hunting mothers, Daniel has decided to plead poverty to stop them in their tracks. Yet here is a most refreshing and delectable lady, who claims to be thrilled by his penury. Now all Daniel has to do to find true happiness is to keep a little white lie alive . . . while avoiding a villain who's determined to prevent this union by any means necessary.

This review was originally posted on February 15, 2011.

I confess I read these books out of order. Even though this is the second book in the series, I read it first not realizing it. Because it runs parallel to the first book, The Countess, I didn’t enjoy the first book nearly as much as I did this one, since I found it rather redundant. I think had I read The Countess first, I would have liked this one less than I did. Just a warning for those of you who want to read the series.

I’ve been referring to this book as a historical Weekend at Bernie’s. With a zany plot, silly antics, and a corpse that turns up in the most unfortunate places, this is a fun romp.

Suzette, Lady Madison is in a bind. Her father has gambled them to the edge of ruin – for the second time in a year – and she must marry in order to save the family. She’s only got two weeks before her father’s markers come due, which doesn’t leave much time to find someone. She isn’t interested in marriage in the least, so she devises a plan to give her as much power as possible in the union: In exchange for the bulk of her dowry (which is rather substantial) her new husband must agree to give her a portion and her freedom. She figures if she finds a titled gentleman desperately in need of funds she should be married in no time.

Daniel Woodrow is only trying to help his friend, Richard, reclaim his identity, so he’s shocked when Suzette proposes marriage to him. To put her off he claims to be poor, but that only seems to make him more perfect in his eyes. Determined to keep her from marrying for the wrong reasons, he agrees to consider the proposal while he and Richard investigate the death of Richard’s twin and the circumstances behind Suzette’s father gambling all their money away.

But there is more going on than meets the eye, and between corpses, murder attempts, family obligations and an overwhelming passion neither could have foreseen, they’ll need all their wits about them. This is rather unfortunate since good sense seems to disappear when they touch each other.

Suzette really made this story. She is honest and forthright and isn’t afraid to speak her mind, no matter how unflattering the truths she reveals. The word that kept coming to mind to describe her was termagant, and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

Daniel is a stand-up kind of guy, the type many women dream about. Where others might have been horrified by the heroine, he adored her. Though he isn’t sure he wants to marry her, he does want to ensure her future is secure, one way or another. I thought it was hilarious that he wouldn’t let anyone tell her the truth about his financial state for fear she’d decide not to marry him, even when he wasn’t sure he wanted marriage.

Though I enjoyed it, this novel requires the reader to suspend a huge amount of disbelief in order to make it work. This was hard at times because the plot was so unbelievable. The basis of the plot is so flimsy I really struggled to accept it. The antics of the characters were amusing, but Sands pushed it too far on several occasions.

I will say, despite the lighthearted nature of the book, there’s enough depth to keep it from being over the top. The love story is shaded with flashes of the deep emotion that reel the reader in.

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted comedy, I recommend this. Just remember to go into it expecting a plot on the unbelievable side.

3.75 out of 5

Madison Sisters


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Review: The Husband Hunt by Lynsay Sands

Posted January 16, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Holly‘s review of The Husband Hunt (Madison Sisters, Book 3) by Lynsay Sands

Let the hunt begin…

Lisa Madison wants a husband, and she has just the candidate in mind: Robert Langley. Trouble is, the infuriating man insists on seeing her as the impish girl she once was—even as every other gentleman in London has taken notice of her womanly…charms. When her beauty lands her in danger, it’s Robert who comes to the rescue…only to announce his affections are not of the romantic variety!

Robert saw enough sorrow in his parents’ union to know he wants nothing to do with marriage, which is exactly what he’ll be trapped into if he acts on his desire for the irksome siren. And then Lisa does what Robert least expects: gives up on him! As feigned indifference gives way, blistering passion burns at last. But just before the pair can give in to hard-won bliss, an enemy with unfinished business lurks threatening to destroy them both.

Sands can be hit it miss for me. Her humor can just hit the mark, or it can be a little too over the top. This one was a little too slapstick for me. While I enjoyed the romance itself, much of the plot had me rolling my eyes.

Lisa has been in love with Robert for years. Unfortunately he thinks of her as a little sister, despite her best efforts to get him to notice her as a woman. After throwing herself at him and being rejected again, Lisa decides to give up on him and find a man who will treat her like a woman.

Before she can start her husband hunt, she’s kidnapped by a woman she thought was a friend, but who turns out to be a courtesan who was paid to abduct Lisa for a “suitor” who wants her. Robert comes to her rescue and realizes – finally – that Lisa is all grown up. Even so, he knows he isn’t for her. He believes his family is cursed with faithless wives and doesn’t want to marry. Ever.

This novel starts out with something we’ve seen a hundred times. Matchmaking. Only Sands took a different approach here. It isn’t the women who are matchmaking, but the men. Lisa’s brothers-in-law decide to help her out by putting he and Robert together. They figure he just needs a slight push to realize Lisa is the one for him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first. The idea is cute, but I felt it needed to be excited well to work. Unfortunately, it fell flat.

The problem started when Lisa was kidnapped. The men use that as an excuse to put her and Robert together. They make up excuses for why they can’t help protect Lisa, forcing Robert to move in to keep an eye on her. The issue I had was this: By doing so, they placed Lisa in danger. They knew there was someone after her. They knew she was in danger. She was attacked several times throughout the novel. Yet they avoided her so that Robert would be forced to spend time with her. I get why they did it in the beginning, but isn’t her personal safety more important than pushing them together?

I also struggled with a lot of the slapstick humor. As I said, Sands can be hit or miss for me when it comes to this. I wasn’t able to overlook a lot of the silliness here. I’m not sure if that’s because I was bothered by other things, or if it was just this book. In either case, I was put off by it.

While I think fans of light comedies and long-standing fans of Sands work will enjoy this, I don’t think it was for me.

2.75 out of 5

The series:

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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Review: The Countess by Lynsay Sands

Posted January 24, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Publisher: Avon, Harper Collins

Holly‘s review of The Countess (Madison Sisters, Book 1) by Lynsay Sands

The fairy tale courtship did not turn into a happily-ever-after . . .

Not until her husband dropped dead, that is. He had been horrible enough to Christiana during their short marriage, and she was not going to allow the traditional period of mourning to ruin her sisters’ debuts as well. So she decides to put him on ice and go on as if nothing’s happened . . .

Until the real earl appears. Richard Fairgrave had every intention of confronting his villainous twin who had robbed him of his name and title . . . only to discover that he had died. Quietly assuming his identity, Richard must now deal with a maddening desire for his ravishing inherited “wife”— certainly a gold digger and possibly a murderess. And Christiana must deal with an unwanted new “husband” . . . and they both must figure out what to do before the ice melts!

Though this is the first book in a new series for Sands, I read the second book first. They’re told in tandem, which means they were kind of redundant at times, but overall they were light and fun reads. Though The Countess started out rather serious, it wasn’t long before the humor emerged. I did skim and/or skip quite a bit of this book, however, because I felt like I’d already ready it.

Although I enjoyed much of the story, I really had to suspend disbelief to buy the basic premise. The blackmail angle didn’t work for me at all, since I thought the case behind it was rather flimsy (a he said/she said kind of thing that could easily be explained away, which made the threat of blackmail pretty much laughable). Younger twin, Harry, has his brother, Richard, killed (or so he thinks) in order to take his place in society and inherit. Then he tricks the father of an heiress into losing all his money, forcing the eldest daughter, Christiana, to marry him in order to save her family from ruin (though he does woo her first, making her fall in love with him). After the wedding, he turns into a cold, controlling man she comes to fear and hate.

Richard (who wasn’t really dead) finally returns to London after a long illness in the Americas and plans to confront his twin to ring a confession from him. Instead he finds his brother is dead (not that anyone knows it) and he’s taken a wife in Richard’s name, which means certain scandal for not only Richard himself, but also the innocent woman who was unlucky enough to be married to his brother. What transpires after is nothing short of a farce of epic proportions, with blackmail, passion, murder, intrigue and a corpse that turns up in all the wrong places.

All of that was fine, if a bit on the silly side. What I had trouble accepting was the need to keep the corpse around, just in case. The argument was made that he might be needed to prove the identity of the real earl. When someone tries to blackmail him in order to keep the secret of his twin’s death a secret (the real death, not the pretend death from a year earlier), it didn’t make sense. Everyone thought Harry was dead anyway. If Richard isn’t planning to reveal that Harry had tried to murder him, why would anyone suspect anything different? Who would have believed the blackmailer?

Aside from that this was a fun story. I like that Sands explored the issue of trust between a husband and wife and what happens after marriage. Because Christiana was so mentally abused by George (pretending to be Richard) she doesn’t know that she can ever trust Richard (the real one) to be a good husband. She keeps waiting for him to change, to turn into someone else the longer they’re together. She really had a lot of baggage to sort through and I’m glad it was dealt with in a believable way (well, believable considering the rest of the story).

Richard is horrified when he realizes how bad his brother treated Christiana. He’s always loved and respected women, and he hates seeing Christiana with so little self-confidence. Watching him bolster her self-esteem was sweet to watch. He didn’t do it simply to make Christiana feel better, either. He truly believed the things he told her (that she could wear what clothes she liked, or style her hair as she pleased, that she was intelligent and beautiful, etc).

The best part about the novel was the romance. I really enjoyed the love story. Richard and Christiana didn’t come together under the best circumstances. There was a lot of mistrust and anger between them in the beginning. Seeing them fall for each other was sweet and compelling.

I enjoyed this book less than The Heiress only because I found it redundant to read the same thing a second time (there is really very little that’s different, even most of the dialogue is the same). The characters are well written and the plot fun and engaging. Sands writes really light-hearted, funny romps, and The Countess is another example of why she’s a favorite.

4 out of 5

The series:
The Countess: A NovelThe Heiress

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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