The Somerset sisters, three beautiful, headstrong debutantes in Regency London, are discovering that a bit of scandal is a delightful thing…
For the sake of propriety, and her younger sisters’ reputations, Iris Somerset has kept her rebellious streak locked away. But though she receives a proposal from Phineas Knight, Lord of Huntington, Iris can’t marry a man she knows isn’t truly enamored with her. In fact, Iris no longer wants to be chosen—she wants to choose. Under the clandestine tutelage of “wicked widow” Lady Annabel Tallant, she’ll learn how to steer her own marriage prospects—and discover her secret appetites.
What kind of debutante refuses a marquess? Finn is surprised, a little chastened—and thoroughly intrigued. This new, independent version of Iris is far more alluring than the polished socialite she used to be. Finn believed he needed a safe, quiet wife to curb his wilder impulses. But the more Iris surprises him, the more impossible it becomes to resist their deepest desires.
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More or Less a Marchioness (The Somerset Sisters)
Phineas “Finn” Knight, Marquess Huntington, likes to be in control of all facets of his life. When he decides it’s time to marry, he and two companions wager over which of them will court the most beautiful and wealthiest heiresses. Finn comes out second in the bet, so he begins a courtship of his second choice, Iris Somerset.
Iris is flattered by the attention from the wealthy and handsome marquess, and after a brief and proper courtship, they become engaged. Iris’s happiness rapidly fades when it’s soon clear that Finn shows no personal interest in Iris, and has no desire to kiss her, or display any type of affection. When Iris overhears a very painful conversation between Finn and his ex-mistress, one that details the wager and his lack of regard for her, she is crushed. This, plus his callous recent refusal to kiss Iris, gives her the courage to end the engagement. The catch of the season, Marquess Huntington, has been jilted.
Finn is stunned, and becomes determined that Iris will marry him. He makes plans to attend a house party that Iris will be attending, and begins his campaign. Though Iris is shocked to see Finn at the party, she is just as determined to hold her ground and not give in. Her acting the perfect and proper lady only brought her heartache, so, even though it may mean her ruin, she will not marry Finn.
Though Finn’s initial purpose was to do the proper thing, and to keep Iris from being ruined or falling prey to a fortune hunter, he finds himself attracted to this new version of his former fiancée. While he thought he wanted a quiet, correct, and biddable wife, he comes to realize that he just wants Iris. Over the course of the party, they actually have conversations, not just the social chitchat that filled their previous meetings. They also discover a sizzling chemistry, fueled, no doubt, by Iris’s reading material – some naughty books recommended by Anabel, a “wicked widow” attending the party.
I loved watching both Iris and Finn coming to realize new truths about themselves, and to grow and change. I cheered when Iris initially gave Finn his walking papers, as the man he was then deserved to be jilted. That action took great courage, as did her decision to be true to herself going forward. Although Finn was horrible at first, I confess that I love a hero who is all buttoned up and proper on the outside, but is hiding an inferno underneath. Finn’s insistence on control and propriety stemmed from a painful childhood, and once he became aware of the reasons, he let down some of his walls, and I adored the new version of him.
MORE OR LESS A MARCHIONESS pushed all the right buttons for me. To really love a book, I have to feel emotionally involved, and the scene where Iris overheard Finn and his ex-mistress had me in tears. The romance built slowly and deliciously, and the passion was very hot. I savored every encounter between Iris and Finn, and his gesture of love at the book’s end was another wonderful tear inducing moment. MORE OR LESS A MARCHIONESS is added to my 2018 favorites list, and is a book I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend. ~Rose
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