D.G.’s Rating: 3.5 skulls = B
Laura Lee Guhrke has written some of my favorite historical romance but her last few books haven’t wowed me. I hoped When The Marquess Met His Match would make me fall in love with this author again but it fell short. The book was a pleasant read but neither the characters, nor the setting nor the premise seemed fleshed out. The details were there but they didn’t create the right picture.
You will probably say that I’m being obnoxiously negative in this review because overall, I enjoyed the book. Both characters were nice people who had suffered and deserved some happiness in their lives. The hero was particularly funny and the heroine wasn’t obnoxious. But there was a big disconnect as to how the characters were described and how they were portrayed so I couldn’t connect with them.
Lady Belinda is supposedly an American but she didn’t feel like one. She behaves like any English aristocrat and the only American thing about her is that she has a profession. We know little of her life in America or how she grew up. In her youth, she had supposedly been very shy but during her first interaction with Nicholas, she behaved like a virago. Whenever she pulled the ‘shy’ card, it seemed inappropriate and unbelievable because she was so confident otherwise. There was an attempt to justify her blossoming from timid chrysalis to self-assured butterfly, but it didn’t ring true.
Nicholas was more consistent, but like Belinda, he didn’t seem to fit his past. When we meet him, he behaves like a really nice guy who’s fond of a good joke so you wonder how he could have led such an scandalous life. After a while we learn he has some serious daddy issues but I was surprised he never figured out things on his own – he just seemed mature enough to do so. I like characters who change for themselves and not because they are looking for somebody else’s approval so I wasn’t too crazy with the “I have to change to deserve her” plot device.
Most of the story has a lighthearted feel that was at odds with that first bitter encounter. You can understand why Belinda did what she did, but I wouldn’t have expected Nicholas to forgive and forget so easily. And after a while, it didn’t seem to matter at all because everybody behaved as if it hadn’t happened, which didn’t seem likely.
I think fans of historical romance set in the Victorian era and readers of lighthearted romances will enjoy this. For the rest, you are already forewarned that there are some inconsistencies in the characterization. If this is not a big deal for you, you may enjoy this a lot more than I did.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Avon for providing a review copy of this book!
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