How to Master Your Marquis
By Juliana Gray
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: January 7, 2014
The Marquess is more than a pretty face. He is an intelligent, insightful man with dark secrets of his own that belie his affable, polished exterior. Almost immediately, he recognizes that his uncle’s new law clerk is a young woman. James finds Stefanie/Stephen amusing and intriguing from the first. It takes a bit longer for him to realize that she will propel him into adventures, imperil his secrets and his life, and irretrievably claim his loyalty and his love.
The structure of How to Tame Your Marquis is atypical. Stefanie and James have already fallen in love when the reader meets them, and James is on trial for the murder of his stepmother. For most of the book, the narrative moves between the present in which the tension surrounding James’s battle to prove his innocence heightens almost unbearably and the past in which the reader sees the romance develop most satisfactorily amid danger and delight.
This is the second novel in Gray’s Victorian A Princess in Hiding series, following last year’s How to Tame Your Duke. Readers who enjoyed the earlier book will be pleased to see that the storylines of the two books intersect, and Emilie and her duke are secondary characters. The indomitable Miss Dinglesby and the Machiavellian Duke of Olympia also make appearances. Among the villains is a character who takes the term “mean girl” to a new level and proves the proverbial hellish fury of a scorned woman. Gray again stays true to the pattern she has established of creating engaging lead characters and operating within the conventions of the romance genre while at the same time giving readers a story with a difference.
How to Master Your Marquis combines some truly dark elements with moments of madcap humor. It also features a hero and heroine who save each other. All of these are qualities that strengthened the book’s appeal for me. For readers who want steamy love scenes, Gray provides them. For readers who want romantic scenes that leave them sighing, Gray provides these as well, including an unforgettable declaration of love scene.
Gray joined my autobuy list with her first series, and the second one has confirmed that she writes the kind of books I love to read. If you like your romance to mix tenderness with heat, to move you to laughter and tears, and to leave you hungry for the author’s next book, I highly recommend How to Master Your Marquis. And that next book? It’s How to School Your Scoundrel, the story of dutiful Princess Luisa “disguised as a personal secretary to a notorious English scoundrel.” It will be released in June, and I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.