Thanks for inviting me to your blog. What makes THE RELUCTANT MARQUESS a good read? I was brought up not to toot my own horn, but I loved writing this book so I’ll list a few reasons why I think my Georgian romance is special.
The hero. Lord Robert, Marquess of St. Malin has just inherited the marquisate. Here’s what the heroine first thinks of him: She glanced at his immaculate blue coat. He was even more unnerving this morning in riding clothes. Last night the marquess had seemed like a peacock in his silk taffeta coat. He’d made her a bit apprehensive, but she had felt reasonably capable of standing up to him. He now appeared powerful, the rightful lord of the manor, his clothes emphasizing his narrow waist and broad shoulders.
The heroine. Charity Barlow is a spirited country girl, daughter of an academic, shocked to find herself expected to marry a marquess: She gulped as his heavy-lidded eyes continued to study her from head to foot. She was uncomfortably aware that the mist had sent her hair into a riot of untidy curls, and she smoothed it away from her face with both hands as she glanced around the room. She tucked a muddy shoe out of sight beneath her gown and then forced herself to meet his gaze. Might he like anything of what he saw? She loved that she had inherited her mother’s tiny waist, and she thought her hands pretty. His lordship’s gaze strayed to her breasts and remained there rather long. She sucked in a breath as her heart beat faster. When their eyes met did she detect a gleam of approval? It only made her more nervous.
The wedding, which none of his family attended. The wedding took place in the grey stone parish church. Their words, in the almost empty building, echoed around the vaulted ceiling, disturbing a flock of wood pigeons nesting in the rafters. There were only the parson, two witnesses, and the bride and groom, but a small group of curious villagers waited outside.
Frustrated desire: It was surprisingly difficult to sleep with the knowledge that his new wife was in bed a few steps away over the corridor. He should just go right in there and put this nonsense to an end. Deflower an unwilling virgin in an inn? What if she cried? She didn’t even have her maid to assist her. Robert shook his head, stamped out the cheroot and made his way back to his room. Life would be more peaceful if he bowed to her wishes. He eased his tight shoulders. Providing her demands were within reason.
When Charity arrives in London: The formidable butler, Hove, greeted her without a smile, and took her cloak and bonnet. She thanked him and followed Robert up the stairs to the first floor. Everywhere she looked stood superior-looking servants in their gold and blue livery. Robert bowed to her at the door to her chamber. She peered in at the lofty, elaborately furnished room, hung with rose damask. A four-poster bed large enough for an entire family barely filled a corner.
Learning the ways of the ton:
Brigitte picked up a fan painted with flowers. “And the fan, my lady. No lady is without one. You must flirt with it.”
“Like this.” Brigitte opened the fan, displaying a lovely painted rural scene and fluttered it before her face. “Like a coquette, oui?”
“I suppose so,” Charity said doubtfully.
“It is called the amorous flutter,” Brigitte said, warming to her theme. “There is also the angry flutter, like this.” She snapped it shut. “The modest miss, oui, like this? A merry lady, like this….”
She expertly twirled the fan.
“Oh stop,” Charity said, laughing. “I shall never feel comfortable doing any of that.”
And what others thought of the book. 4 Stars from R.T. Book Reviews: “Readers will love the delightful tale of love in an arranged marriage. As troubles buffet the new couple and their love is tested, readers will be rooting for them to make it through.”
Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.
Charity Barlow wished to marry for love. The rakish Lord Robert wishes only to tuck her away in the country once an heir is produced.
A country-bred girl, Charity Barlow suddenly finds herself married to a marquess, an aloof stranger determined to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself. She and Lord Robert have been forced by circumstances to marry, and she feels sure she is not the woman he would have selected given a choice.
The Marquess of St. Malin makes it plain to her that their marriage is merely for the procreation of an heir, and once that is achieved, he intends to continue living the life he enjoyed before he met her.
While he takes up his life in London once more, Charity is left to wander the echoing corridors of St. Malin House, when she isn’t thrown into the midst of the mocking Haute Ton. Charity is not at all sure she likes her new social equals, as they live by their own rules, which seem rather shocking. She’s not at all sure she likes her new husband either, except for his striking appearance and the dark desire in his eyes when he looks at her, which sends her pulses racing.
Lord Robert is a rake and does not deserve her love, but neither does she wish to live alone. Might he be suffering from a sad past? Seeking to uncover it, Charity attempts to heal the wound to his heart, only to make things worse between them. Will he ever love her?
“I see we understand each other perfectly. So … do you agree?”
What was wrong with this man? Slowly, Charity released a heavy sigh. She could barely contemplate such a thing as this, and yet he acted as though he’d solved all the problems of the world with fashion accessories.
She had hoped for a small stipend, but marriage! And to a complete stranger. She couldn’t! Not for all the gowns and hats on earth. She straightened up in her chair and lifted her chin. Her words were clipped and precise, and she hoped beyond hope he would accept her decision gracefully. “I say no,
Lord St Malin.”
“How disappointing,” he said quietly.
She gulped as his heavy-lidded eyes continued to study her from head to foot. She was uncomfortably aware that the mist had sent her hair into a riot of untidy curls, and she smoothed it away from her face with both hands as she glanced around the room. She tucked a muddy shoe out of sight beneath her gown and then forced herself to meet his gaze. Might he like anything of what he saw? Her father loved that she had inherited her mother’s tiny waist, and she thought her hands pretty. His lordship’s gaze strayed to her breasts and remained there rather long. She sucked in a breath as her heart beat faster. When their eyes met did she detect a gleam of approval? It only made her more nervous.