MARRIAGE TO A NOBLEMAN? NOT IN HER WILDEST DREAMS. . .
The daughter of a disgraced woman and a common actor, Madelyn Swann has been shunned by the nobility. No proper lady would traipse about on a Covent Garden stage, let alone sell herself at auction to the highest bidder. So why in heaven’s name would Nathan Atwood, Viscount Rowley, make a generous offer for her hand?
Turns out Maddy is exactly the type of woman Nathan wants as his wife. Finally, he can embarrass his snobbish and cruel father, the Earl of Gilmore—and scandalise London society—with his beautiful, unsuitable bride. Then he’ll depart England forever and leave his wife behind. Having secret plans of her own, Maddy is happy to play the role … only to find that enjoying her husband’s seduction requires no acting whatsoever. But as she falls madly in love with Nathan, can she persuade him to stay with her for always?
This is a highly readable book, and once I sat down to it, I found it hard to stop. However, the plotline (in true fairy tale style) is totally implausible, and there’re some rough edges to the writing (the repetition!).
If you like wallpaper historical romances – and there’s nothing wrong with that – I’m sure you’ll find this one great fun. The granddaughter of a duke, who has been living as a common actress, is basically employed by the heir-to-an-earl hero to marry him so he can disgrace his family. The “virginity auction” at the start will set the tone for the rest of the book.
I’ll admit I skimmed some of the “Eliza Doolittle” moments because I don’t like cringing when I read.
However, this VICTORIAN (yay!) era book is billed as a fairy tale, so I can’t fault it for delivering on that promise.
My issues arrive with the writing and the editing.
Firstly: it’s a TheatRE!
But what drove me batty was the repetition. Such as being reminded *every time* the villain arrived on the page that he had “flaxen hair” (and evil blond man versus heroic dark-haired man is one of my most hated tropes). Or how the hero’s sister was always introduced with the description “russet brown curls”. And then there were the endless mentions of everyone’s “gloved hands”.
This should have been fixed in editing. Those books where you only learn a character’s hair colour at the 60% mark drive me insane, but on the other hand, descriptions twice a page are equally as frustrating.
A bigger problem was the over-explaining. No need to retrace your steps and re-explain a situation from scratch every time it is brought up. Trust your readers to remember from one chapter to the next!
All that said, I did have fun with this book. I read it while travelling in Italy, and it was exactly the book to fit my mood.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.