What’s this book about?
After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.
Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself. So how does a hardened fighter cure a reluctant bride’s cold feet?
He starts with flowers. A wedding can’t have too many flowers. Or harps. Or cakes.
He lets her know she’ll make a beautiful, desirable bride—and tries not to picture her as his.
He doesn’t kiss her. If he kisses her, he definitely doesn’t kiss her again.
When all else fails, he puts her in a stunning gown. And vows not to be nearby when the gown comes off.
And no matter what—he doesn’t fall in disastrous, hopeless love with the one woman he can never call his own.
Why should I read this book?
If you are a fan of romance, then you already know that Tessa Dare writes smart, funny, charmingly genuine books with intelligent and well-rounded characters and some pretty memorably quirky side characters as added flavour. Her books are notable because the female leads are intelligent and self-aware, and they aren’t prepared to be pushed around (at least not any more).
In this case, we have Clio, a bride-in-waiting who has decided that she’s not waiting any longer. She’s inherited a castle, and she is fully prepared to break her engagement and to move on with her life, content to spend her days in the country. She has lots of hidden talents, but the best part of her is her determination to live her life on her own terms. She’s tired of being ridiculed and has some pretty great ideas on how she can use her new home to provide a living (a brewmistress! Love it!).
Rafe is the younger brother of the aforementioned fiancé, and totally uninterested in having anything to do with his family’s obligations. He’s a boxer, and he enjoys his life as a second son, free of encumbrances and responsibilities, as he believes that he is unworthy of taking on any greater role. If Clio and Piers don’t marry, it might fall on him to take over as Marquess – something he is absolutely determined not to do.
There’s a host of lovely side characters here – a pompous older sister, a precocious younger sister, a goofy dog that can’t help but fall into trouble and a butler/man at arms who gets some of the best lines. Most have a good heart, and genuinely want to see the couple happy, even if they use slightly devious methods to get there. Oh, and the cake. There is a beautifully descriptive scene of cake-tasting that turns sensuous and romantic, and leaves the participants – as well as the reader – breathless.
I love how Dare is able to take something that should be mundane and to turn it into something memorable. I love that her characters are flawed, but that those flaws are what make them attractive. Her characters also talk to each other – such a wonderful idea, talking – so misunderstandings are more than just conclusion leaping.
This is book two in the series, but you certainly don’t need to have read book one in order to enjoy this one – pick it up, especially as the dark nights of winter are upon us and you will want something warm and lovely like this to keep you home in front of the fire.
Give me some quotes to convince me.
“At some point, while you were roaming the globe, making treaties and dividing the spoils of war, I quietly declared my own independence. I am the sovereign nation of Clio now. And there will be no terms of surrender.”
“This was her body. She had learned to take pleasure in it, even if no man had ever done the same. It was curved and generous and womanly and strong, and it was formed to do more than decorate a drawing room, or transfer wealth from one gentleman to another.
She was made to tempt, labor, inspire, create, sustain. Despite the way Rafe held her bound in his grasp, a sense of power moved through her. For once, she could revel in her femininity and feel it as something other than a disadvantage to be overcome. A quality to be respected, worshipped. Even feared.”
Say Yes to the Marquess is available for purchase now. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ISBN: 9780062240200, 384 pages by Avon Books.