Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Worthingtons, #8
Release Date: December 27, 2022
Lady Eleanor Carpenter is returning home from a visit with her elder sister Charlotte when she spies some children on the side of the road. She has her coachman stop and learns that in addition to the children is their mother, who is barely clinging to life. Eleanor immediately takes charge and gets the woman and her children in the carriage and learns that they are victims of what became known as the Cinderloo Uprising. Eleanor is appalled and vows to help, bringing the woman back to Worthington Place and helping her start a new life and unknowingly making an enemy along the way. She wants to do more for the victims of Cinderloo and begins to look into it, wondering if she will be able to accomplish anything while she is in London. Because Eleanor along with her twin sister Lady Alice and their step-sister Lady Madeline Vivers are finally ready to make their come-outs and will be in London for the season. And in preparation for the suitors that they will surely have, the girls make a list of traits that any potential husband must have, and just like that the “Marriage List” was born.
John, the Marquis of Montagu needs a wife and he also has a list of traits his future Marchioness must have, such as being demure, not interested in causes, politics, or charities, who won’t tell him what to do, and will be happy to stay home and read novels – basically the complete opposite of his mother and twin sister. But that was before he saw Eleanor and her sisters riding in the park. He wonders how he can garner an introduction when his mother mentions attending Lady Bellamny’s Young Ladies soiree and that the young lady he saw in the park will most likely be there – he immediately offers to pick his mother up at the end. Later, he is surprised and pleased to learn that the object of his attention is Worthington’s sister-in-law and they are introduced. After meeting Eleanor, John’s list alters and it soon becomes clear that Eleanor is the only woman he wants to wed, but it remains to be seen if John meets all of Eleanor’s requirements… Let the courting commence!
This was a well-written, well-researched story with likable characters, but sadly it was a bit dull and slow-moving. I was excited by the beginning and expected that drama to be central to the story, but it really wasn’t – this was a very slow-burning romance with way too many characters (complete with backstories) that left readers struggling to stay on point with the hero and heroine. If I could make a suggestion to the author, it would be to start each book with a cast of characters with a brief history of who they are and their role and maybe even the title of the book they “starred in”, rather than including it in the story – especially when you are dealing with upwards of twenty additional people – it made this book wordy and drawn out. I also felt like this book had so many missed opportunities, such as; the relationship between John and his sister or the Cinderloo Uprising. In the end, this was a very vanilla story with a lot of characters, a touch of drama, a bit of steam towards the end, hints at romances for the other two sisters, Great Danes, heroes who learn to grovel, and finally a HEA complete with a two-part epilogue. So, while I found it a bit slow-moving and wordy, I am happy I read it and am looking forward to Alice & Madeline’s stories. This is the eighth book in the series, but it felt like the first book in a spin-off series and could easily be read as a standalone title.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*