Release Date: June 6, 2017
Series: Regency Romp, #3
Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher*
What a great wrap up to this trilogy! Evelyn Leighton, Viscount Marlowe was a prominent figure in first two books and yet, other than the fact he had children and was a slob – I really knew nothing about him.
This book opens about 2 years after the Sebastian’s book and we find Viscount Marlowe attempting to rescue his daughters from the boarding school his father sent them to in West Barming. He is still weak and feverish after a near death experience and breaks into the school at night, after being turned away earlier in the day. This is when he meets Minerva Jones, he crawls through her window and she attacks him – they end up on the floor with his hands on her, ummm, person and they are discovered by another teacher at the school.
Minerva has not had an easy life, her father was a naval officer and he left Minerva with various relatives, but he did teach her to shoot, fight and swear like a sailor. When both her father and her betrothed die, Minerva took employment as a companion, she lost that job when her employer sacked her for her choice of reading materials. Minerva is a Misstopher – a devotee of the poet Christopher Essex. Her collection of his works are her most prized possessions and have now cost her yet another job. And to add insult to injury – that collection is now in a ditch because some crazy Viscount’s coach just ran her off the road!
As Marlowe is fleeing with his daughters, they may have accidently nudged her off the road into a ditch. Marlowe’s twin daughters insist that he stop and rescue her. Marlowe is immediately enchanted by the tiny woman swearing a blue streak and attacking a wayward gown, while retrieving her precious Essex collection. He immediately offers her a job as governess to his girls and teases her about being a Misstopher.
They return to London and Marlowe slowly recovers from his fever. Not long after, another Leighton uses a window to gain entry to the house. Marlowe’s youngest sister, Lady Elizabeth has run away from home and begs Marlowe to let her stay. Their father the Earl has betrothed Elizabeth to a despicable man, three times her age. Marlowe agrees to let her stay and promises to help her escape the marriage. He also learns that his sister is a Misstopher and that she writes fan fiction as tribute to Christopher Essex – she has a plan of her own to escape marriage – she is going to marry Essex!
Here’s the problem – Marlowe is Essex – but it is a closely guarded secret, known only to a handful of people. Marlowe has had his share of pain and suffering, his father hates him, he suffers from hellish war memories, his wife was in love with his twin brother and ran away with him shortly after giving birth to the twins (who were fathered by his brother) and dies. Marlowe channeled all that pain into his writing – but over the years, he has come to terms with his losses and without the pain – he has lost his muse. He hasn’t written anything in almost three years. But all that changes when Minerva inspires him. He writes as ode titled the Alabaster Hip – which he never intends to publish.
Unfortunately, his publisher finds it, steals it and publishes it- and then his sister discovers his alter ego, which is extremely hilarious and awkward when he finds out HER alter ego – Lady Hedonist.
His sister tells him he has to come clean with Minerva and he agrees to tell her – but he gets sidetracked by kisses and puts off his confession. Unfortunately, before he can tell her – Minerva learns the truth and is LIVID and hurt and LIVID. She leaves and seeks out Astrid, Duchess of Montford.
Marlowe will not have an easy time winning back his love. There will be ruined wardrobes, a book burning, grand gestures, abductions, concussions, an unfortunate case of mistaken identity and yet another grand gesture with another window entrance before these two get their HEA.
This book perfectly ties up the series, but it could be read as a stand alone title. The writing is great, it is amusing but it also touches on serious issues, the heat level is low until the very end of the book and even then it is only a bit warmer than warm, all the characters from the previous books make appearances and after torturing her poor characters, Ms. Fenton relents and gives Marlowe and Minerva a much deserved and hard won HEA.
I would highly recommend the entire series – they are all laugh out loud funny and extremely well written books.