Saturday, January 18, 2014

Guest Review - - How to Master Your Marquis

How to Master Your Marquis
By Juliana Gray
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Princess Stephanie Victoria Augusta, the youngest of the three young princesses of the German principality of Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof forced into hiding by the assassins who killed their father, has prepared herself to take up the position secured for her by her maternal uncle, the Duke of Olympia. Princess Stefanie will become Stephen Thomas, the newest law clerk of the eminent barrister Sir John Worthington. The unconventional, impulsive Stefanie is not pleased with her disguise as a mustache-sporting law clerk. She’s even less pleased when she is reminded how early law clerks must be up and about their business. Still, the unchaperoned company of Sir John’s nephew, James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield, the epitome of masculine beauty, provides considerable compensation.

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.



  1. I've not read her as yet but this definitely sounds like an author I would enjoy - thanks.

  2. Great review! I have not read this authors books but I will have to start looking for them. This sounds really good and my kind of book. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. Wonderful review thanks, I'm adding this to my to get list now.

  4. I don't know why II haven't read Julian Gray yet!!

  5. I do enjoy your reviews! I will look into this author's work. I have not read any of her books yet. THANKS!

  6. So looking forward to reading this book. The cover is a real "stand-out" too!

  7. Great review! Can't wait to read this!

  8. I have not yet read any of Ms Gray's books. That will be changing. I like stories with characters that are just a bit different, intrigue, and a bit of the unexpected. It sounds like she delivers on all counts.
    Thanks for another helpful review.