Stevie‘s review of When The Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress in London, Book 1) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Historical Romance published by Avon 29 Oct 13
This is one of those historical romances where I really wish we’d been given some sort of timestamp at the very start. It’s not a Regency, whatever Amazon might have one believe, instead taking place towards the end of Queen Victoria’s reign, as soon becomes apparent to the astute reader from the mentions of railways, goldmines and Wall Street crashes (although I’m a little unsure whether the fluctuations in the stock market were referred to in that way prior to the great depression of the 20th Century). However, putting that aside, this is a rather fun book with a heroine who is determined to prevent others from making the mistakes that blighted her first marriage.
Belinda, Lady Featherstone, is a successful matchmaker both in terms of the very agreeable marriages she has brokered and in terms of the personal fortune she has accumulated in the process. She specialises in matching the daughters of newly wealthy Americans to titled-but-impoverished British men, thus ensuring that everyone is happy with the situation, provided that bride and groom are compatible – something she is very keen on after her own marriage turned out badly, right up until her husband died of excessive living after squandering her entire dowry. So she’s not at all pleased when the best friend of her late husband’s equally dissolute brother shows up and demands that she find him a wife.
Nicholas, the Marquess of Trubridge, heir to the Duke of Landsdowne, is penniless after his allowance was cut off – until such time as he marries a woman who meets with his father’s approval. Nicholas wants to do no such thing, and so needs to find a wealthy heiress who is the complete opposite of his father’s specifications. Someone very much like Belinda, in fact: except that Nicholas is under the impression that, since Featherstone died in debt, his widow can’t be much better off.
The pair then embark on a series of exploits as Belinda, convinced that Nicholas is bad news, tries to keep him away from her favourite charge, and Nicholas keeps rejecting her alternative matches while refusing to give her much in the way of specifics as to the sort of woman he wants. So he gets matched with a vacuous chatterbox, an overly pretentious intellectual, and so on. Eventually, the pair have to face up to their mutual attraction, resisting it all the way, and Nicholas – still under the impression that Belinda is practically poverty stricken – determines to find himself a better source of income than the small amount currently coming in from his estate.
The solution to his financial issues, when it strikes him, is so perfect that I’m surprised I was caught out and didn’t see it coming. Of course, his father then schemes to thwart his plans and Belinda comes to the rescue in a most satisfactory manner.
All in all a slightly quirky look at an era and a type of courtship that don’t get nearly as much attention as earlier decades in the 19th Century, and the first in another new series that I may just have to keep on following.
She’s the matchmaker . . .
Lady Belinda Featherstone’s job is to guide American heiresses to matrimony, and away from men like Nicholas, Marquess of Trubridge. But the charming, disreputable marquess needs a wealthy bride, and he hires Belinda to help him find one. Her task seems easy: find that scoundrel the sort of wife he so richly deserves. But Nicholas’s hot, searing kiss soon proves her task will be anything but easy.
He’s the perfect match . . .
Nicholas plans to wed a rich, pretty young darling to restore his fortune, and he’s happy to pay a marriage broker to help him. But one taste of Belinda’s lips and Nicholas’s sensible scheme to marry for money goes awry, and he yearns to show his beautiful matchmaker he’s the perfect match . . . for her.
Read an excerpt.