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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Mysterious Marquis by Karen Cogan

The Mysterious Marquis by Karen Cogan
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (188 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Water Lily

When her best friend disappears without a trace, Lady Marianne Bentley is perplexed. Since the girl's parents seem opposed to an all-out investigation, Marianne decides to take matters into her own hands. She soon discovers that a certain Marquis, with whom she has never been cordial, was the last to keep company with her young friend. Marianne's conviction that he is involved in the disappearance leads her to renew their acquaintance in the hope of obtaining a clue. But, she is taken off guard by his wit and charm and seeming sincerity; and soon, she finds herself falling in love with the one man whom she vowed never to trust.

When it comes to maidenly propriety Marianne Bentley doesn’t always follow the rules. She doesn’t always keep her abigail as close as she ought, she’s interested in politics, and she does her best to avoid proper occupations such as tea with society matrons and attracting a husband. When her friend, Charlotte Taylor, doesn’t show up for an arranged meeting and is judged missing, Marianne sees it as a mystery she must solve despite the fact that others more suited to investigation have failed to produce results. She turns her suspicious eye to Lord Thomas Alton whom she determines is one of the last people to see Charlotte the night of her disappearance. Lord Alton is proper and closed-lipped. When he won’t answer her questions, Marianne assumes that means he’s guilty. Of course, she’ll have to spend more time with him to be certain.

What follows is fairly predictable—Lord Alton isn’t the stuffy, boring man Marianne thought he was. Nor is he, apparently, as guilty as she thought. He becomes attracted to Marianne despite, or because of, her occasional disregard for societal norms. Eventually Marianne returns his affection. Still, she hasn’t quite let go of all her suspicious. She overhears something she views as suspicious and makes foolish mistakes that jeopardize her and Thomas’s relationship. The mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance isn’t quite the mystery Marianne thought it was, but there is something else afoot.

The Mysterious Marquis is perfect Regency romance fare. It is predictable in the way Regencies always are—in the ways we want them to be. Marianne is not as smart as she thinks she is and needs rescuing from herself more than anything else, and Thomas is just the man to do it. As I said, perfect Regency fare. If you enjoy the genre, I highly recommend this book.