How to Catch a Sinful Marquess
by Amy Rose Bennett
The Disreputable Debutantes- Book 3
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Orphaned heiress Olivia de Vere should have the world--or at least the men of the ton--at her feet. But when she's thrown out of a young ladies' academy, Olivia doubts she'll ever find someone who will love her, rather than her bank account. To make matters worse, her dissolute cousin Felix is determined to marry her against her wishes. A virtual prisoner in her guardians' London townhouse, Olivia can’t help but develop a tendre for her neighbor, a handsome Scottish marquess.
Battle-scarred in more ways than one, Hamish MacQueen, Lord Sleat, has braved many dangers in life. But nothing has quite prepared him for the shock of having a young child dumped on his doorstep, with a note claiming she’s his daughter. Just in the nick of time his pretty neighbor appears, offering to act as a nursemaid for the young girl on their journey to his estate in Scotland. He suspects she has her own reasons for wanting to flee the country…
The close traveling quarters leads to a fierce attraction between Olivia and Hamish that seems impossible to resist. But when ghosts from the past and monsters from the present threaten to tear them apart, will their unlikely love survive?
This is the third book in Bennett's Disreputable Debutantes series and I've enjoyed them all. The four young women who anchor this series, each unique and each from varying backgrounds and social classes, have a strong bond of friendship from school, and the scandal that saw them expelled from that school, that continues to strengthen as they mature and enter this new phase of their lives. I love their open and honest conversations, their support of one another, and their determination to be their best selves, in spite of the obstacles life, and others, have put in their paths.
By the time I reached this third book, Olivia had become the friend I was most invested in and as her journey progressed that only intensified. I loved watching her gradually regain the confidence that had been drummed out of her by her greedy, controlling relatives. After years of being ridiculed for her stutter, and watching her guardians drain the coffers of her inheritance while treating her like a poor relation, it was pure joy to see her begin to come into her own and gain the inner strength and determination to pursue love and happiness, refusing to settle for less than what she deserved. I was cheering her on the entire way.
I enjoyed how Bennett flipped the rescue roles in this book. A strong, confident Marquess, Hamish MacQueen is used to getting his own way, and any woman he wants, but he's also a man of honor. From the beginning, when he believes Olivia really is a poor relation of the family next door, he treats her with care and respect but he is clearly the one in charge of their situation. As their journey continues (did I mention how much I enjoy a road romance?) and desire deepens on both sides, he's the one to set the boundaries. And when they reach his home on Skye, the reasons for those boundaries begin to become clear. Beneath his confident exterior beats the heart of a complex, tortured man who believes with all he is that he is not worthy of love, especially not the love of a woman as special as Olivia.
As Hamish becomes more determined to set her free, newly-strengthened Olivia becomes more determined to free him from the misconceptions that have barricaded his heart and guide him to the love that will bring both of them the happiness they deserve. The rescue roles have been reversed and I loved every bit of it.
Bennett has used a blend of tropes (Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Marriage of Convenience, Secret Baby, and Road Romance) to weave together an enjoyable, slow-burn romance with likable protagonists, an adorable child, a despicable villain, intriguing secondary characters, and a happy ending for all. Well, all except Olivia's horrid family, though I'm of the opinion that they got off much too easily. Olivia proves she's the best of them but I wanted a bit more payback.
How to Catch a Sinful Marquess can be read as a standalone but my investment in Olivia was deeper for having read the previous two books first. Next up is the final disreputable debutante, and the acknowledged leader of the group, Charlie (Lady Charlotte) Hastings. I can't wait to discover what Bennett has planned for her.
Have you read any of Amy Rose Bennett's books yet?
Do you enjoy a road romance?
What's your favorite romance trope?