Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Marriage Game, #1
Release Date: Originally 2013 – Reissued October 29, 2019
Lord Marcus Finley, the younger son of the Marquis of Dunwood falls head over heels in love with Lady Phoebe Stanhope at a house party given by the Countess of Worthington just days before he is being banished to the West Indies. He has a bit too much to drink and corners Phoebe, intending on declaring his love and eloping with her, but instead he takes liberties and finds himself knocked senseless by the petite lady and given a lecture on manners.
Eight years later, Marcus is still in love and has undergone a huge change, determined to be the man worthy of Phoebe’s love. Called back to England by his father, he learns his older brother and the heir is dying and has no heir. Marcus’ father wants him to marry and take up the duties of heir as soon as possible. Marcus agrees, but there is only one woman he wants – Lady Phoebe.
Phoebe is still unwed after all these years because she doesn’t trust her instincts about men ever since the debacle with Lord Marcus. She fancied him, but when he grabbed her and touched her, she was terrified and wonders how she could have been so wrong about his character. Even now she gets upset thinking about him and when she learns his sister – now her sister in law – has invited him to visit, she bolts.
On the way to London, she stays at an inn overrun by young men attending a sporting event, when one young man makes a nuisance of himself, Phoebe is defended by an unseen knight. Later in London, her knight saves her yet again. She doesn’t recognize him, but she is captivated. When they cross paths again at a ball, she dances with him and even takes a turn on the terrace with him, she thinks she may have finally found a man she can love – that is until she learns who he is.
Marcus loves Phoebe and will do whatever is necessary to win her – even let her have complete control of their courtship. Luckily for him, her family believes he is the perfect match for her and sets out to help him win her. It seems like Marcus may finally realize his dream of calling Phoebe his love, but before they can have their HEA, they will have to figure out who is trying to abduct Phoebe and stop them before he manages to succeed!
I requested this book from NetGalley based solely on Ella Quinn’s name, I didn’t read the blurb – why bother? It’s Ella Quinn, it is bound to be good and it was – BUT – if I had read the blurb, I would have realized that this is a re-issue of her first book – and after reading a few chapters, I recognized the story from many years ago, but I re-read it thinking that maybe it was revamped and honestly, if it was, I can’t tell where. It was a good story, albeit a bit wordy and you can really tell how much Ms. Quinn has grown as an author in the years following this book. This story actually has a few typos and title errors that you would NEVER find in her more recent works. That aside, if you didn’t read this in 2013, grab it now – Marcus and Phoebe are great characters and Marcus is a sigh-worthy hero. Phoebe was a bit immature and wishy-washy at first, but once she decides to trust Marcus and her feelings, she became a wonderful heroine and I loved them both. The story is interesting, the love scenes steamyish, the villain was uber creepy, the ending was exciting and the epilogue was precious.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*