Of all her sisters, Princess Stefanie is by far the least amenable to law and order, which is why she’s appalled to find herself masquerading as an unbearably drab clerk for the most honorable barrister in England. But her dull disguise turns out to have its privileges: namely, the opportunity to consort unchaperoned with her employer’s exceedingly handsome nephew, James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield.
Hatherfield quickly realizes that his uncle’s spirited new clerk is, in fact, a lovely young woman of daring habits. The outwardly impeccable marquis isn’t about to reveal her deception. After all, he’s hiding a dangerous secret of his own. But when one too many escapades with the madcap princess bring Hatherfield’s troubled past to light, it is only Stefanie’s sharp wits that stand between the marquis and utter disaster, and only Hatherfield’s daring that can save the princess from the shadowy agents bent on finding her.
Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5
Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | Goodreads
The gist is that Princess Stephanie's life is in danger and to keep her safe from a group of men intent on assassinating the royal family she's forced to go into hiding as a male clerk. Different, right? And she of course manages to catch the eye of her employer's nephew--Hatherfield who has a whole set of his own secrets and knows all isn't quite as it seems with this "Mr Thomas".
I loved both Stephanie and Haltherfield. Both are honorable, hard working and hiding incredible secrets from the rest of society and they're just...unique and not really afraid of doing the unconventional or what people will say--he spends time rowing which wasn't 'appropriate' for his station and Stephanie, well, she's just herself and a bit of a free spirit as much she can be.
Stephanie is a heroine with some serious backbone and for a pampered Miss she doesn't shy away from the hard or ugly things and throws herself completely into whatever she does. She also stands up and makes herself known when she needs to. I absolutely loved her. And Haltherfield. My God. My heart totally broke for this strong silent man who has became a wonderful person despite his childhood and past. He had some uber make you want to lick him sexy going on. The two were so great together together. There was humor and heat. Respect and maybe some frustrations too. But they just fit and were perfect together and I loved that they saw through each others disguises and really loved and cared for each other for who they were underneath.
"Wake up, sleephead," he called softly.Now the excitement and why it was so nerve wracking. This one was set up a little different. It flipped back and forth between a trial where Hatherfield was being accused of a murder and and events over the previous year that led up to the murder and as he and Stephanie got to know each other, fell in love and dealt with threats to her life. The whole time you're left wondering--will he really escape a death sentence and holy crap it seems unlikely. It kept me flipping pages so fast to see what new tidbit would be uncovered. I just loved it.
She mumbled a decidedly vulgar response.
"Ah. Not now, I'm afraid. Though the prospect is tempting, in an exotic sort of way." He brushed the hair from her face and kissed her lips. "I've brought your bath."
Her eyes blinked open. "Bath?"
"Well, not a proper bath. Strictly speaking, we have no tub, and the boiler for the showers takes ages to heat sufficiently after a long winter's nap. But I've hot water and a bit of soup and a towel." He gave her bottom a squeeze through the blankets. "Come along, now."
"Only if you beg me."
She turned on her stomach and buried her face in the pillow. He laughed, tugged the blanket downward, and picked her up and over his shoulder in a single swing of creamy royal limbs.
She flailed. As well she might.
"You know, I'm beginning to suspect you're not an early riser by nature, my love."
Another neat thing about this one was the setting. It's London but it's the late 1800s. So not your typical historical. They've got trains and electricity and indoor plumbing going on. I love that slightly different feel and seeing the technological advances. It was just refreshing and interesting and is something I really hope to read more of in the future.
All in all, How to Master Your Marquis was a lovely and exciting romance. The characters, the setting, the excitement and drama. It was all just perfectly blended together to create an unforgettable romance. I can't wait to go back and read book one next! This one gets four kittehs. It was pretty purrfect and Gray has found a new fan!
Have you read Juliana Gray? What did you think?
If you enjoy historicals do you like finding one that's outside of the 'normal' historical time periods?