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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mastering the Marquess by Vanessa Kelly

Mastering The Marquess by Vanessa Kelly
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (352 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Hibiscus

Since the loss of her parents, Meredith Burnley has contented herself with a solitary life looking after her half-sister Annabel. But Meredith’s peace is shattered when her uncle schemes to marry her off to his son in order to gain her inheritance. Desperate, Meredith only has one choice: to flee with Annabel to their estranged grandparents’ home. But their arrival soon reignites a family scandal and kindles unexpected romance.

Happily reunited with the girls, Annabel’s grandmother resolves to convince her nephew, Stephen Mallory, the Marquess of Silverton, to abandon his rakish lifestyle and wed Annabel. Stephen is clearly captivated --- but with the wrong sister. Determined to make Meredith his own, Stephen embarks on a seduction that will leave her with no choice but to surrender to his touch…

Love and sacrifices, madness, poison and kidnapping all combine in a heart stopping love story that had me on the edge of my chair.

Meredith Burnley has had too much heartache in her life and has devoted herself to her little half-sister Annabel’s happiness. I found it easy to see how much Meredith cares for those around her. Not just from the time she spent caring for her sister but also from when she volunteers to nurse Lady Georgina Stanton, Annabel’s grandmother. Meredith’s outlook for her future changes when she meets Lord Mallory.

Lord Stephen Mallory, the Marquess of Silverton, is a beautifully built, blond nobleman who has become jaded with the ton. Since he was thrown over by his fiancĂ©e Esme, Stephen has given up on love. Stephen is struck by the pleas of Meredith to Lord Arthur Stanton, “the general,” to help his only granddaughter. Stephen's pursuit of Meredith was scandalous at times, like when he danced the waltz with her and coldly calculating at others, like his seductions in the library and bedroom. I found his biggest obstacle to be Meredith herself.

There were a plethora of minor characters who were involved in at least one of the multiple stories in the book. My favorites were Miss Noyes, Mrs. Biggs and Lord Stanton. Miss Noyes provided a haven for the girls and her vapors fit in perfectly with the time period. Mrs. Biggs had me in stitches as she brandished her rolling pin. The general reminded me of a bulldog that takes a lot to win over but once done, is your loyal supporter.

Divining the motives of the characters and watching the play between Meredith and Stephen had me continually guessing what would come next. Mastering the Marquess is an entertaining story that I would recommend for everyone.