In How I Married a Marquess, Lady Josephine Carlisle is strong-willed and stubborn, but she’s met her match in the Marquess of Chesney, Thomas Matteson. Sparks fly in this spy romance!
[Some Spoilers; Mature Audiences]
Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Lady Josephine Carlisle is adopted, and she feels like she doesn’t quite fit in with her family even though she’s been with them since she was six. She has three brothers, loving parents, anything she could possibly want, but it doesn’t make sense that she should be so fortunate. Especially since there are children in the orphanage in town that are beaten and mistreated on a daily basis.
It seems like taking matters in her own hands is all she can do.
The Marquess of Chesney, Thomas Matteson, is still mentally recovering from being shot the year before and almost dying. He doesn’t like the dark anymore, he has panic attacks when even hearing gunshots. None of that is good for a spy, which is why he was let go from the War Office.
When an old family friend approaches him with a task, find the highwayman who has been robbing his guests as they leave house parties, and guarantees Thomas that he’ll get him reinstated if he catches the thief. Thomas knows he must do everything in his power to arrest the highwayman. His very future depends on it. If he’s not a spy, he doesn’t have anything.
What he doesn’t count on is falling for another houseguest…
I liked How I Married A Marquess. It’s third in The Secret Life of Scoundrels series, but can absolutely be read as a stand-alone. I’d never read any of the others in the series and got along just fine.
Thomas is a bit of a rake, and I always cringe a little when stories open with the hero having a tryst with another woman, but he does redeem himself. Up until the last year, he had been a spy for the British government and was very, very good at what he did. Now that the War Office has released him, he’s struggling to find his purpose.
Thomas is very much defined by his job, and when something comes along that threatens that or makes him question it, he can get defensive.
When he’s given the job of finding the highwayman responsible for robbing party guests, he’s excited because this means a chance at getting his life back.
All the while, there’s Josephine. She’s a smart, strong woman, but when it comes to Thomas she loses all sense. Many men have tried to court her before, and she’s seen through their fake attempts. Because she’s adopted, they feel like they could ruin her and face no consequences. She has no blood lineage that would force them to do right by her. She gives in to Thomas so easily, though.
There’s a lot of witty banter between them, but it always feels like a very physical relationship. I didn’t really feel them growing closer romantically until the very end. Also, I found it very hard to believe that a family would let their daughter wander around at all hours and never question her whereabouts. Even if they were new to the peerage, they would still be protective of their daughter.
My favorite part of the novel was the mystery plot line. We have Josephine who is trying to find a way to save the orphanage from Royston and Thomas trying to find out who the highwayman is that’s stealing from Royston’s guests.
The orphanage plot line was great because it was a special orphanage where peers would bring their castoffs or the babies of their daughters or sisters to protect their reputations. I’d never seen that talked about in a historical romance before.
The story moved a little slowly at times, but I enjoyed the side characters, especially Josephine’s brothers.
This one is well worth a read if you like a good puzzle with your romance. Look below for your chance to enter to win a copy of the book!
WIN A COPY of How I Married A Marquess from Hachette Book Group!
Thank you to the publisher for the advanced copy of this book!