The Marquess Next Door
A dashing new neighbor…
Temptation on her doorstep!
To avoid an unwanted suitor at a ball, Hope Brookes asks another gentleman to rescue her. He obliges—with a surprisingly passionate kiss! He's revealed as her sinfully handsome new neighbor, Lucius, Marquess of Thundersley, and they forge a friendship over their balconies. It’s refreshing that Lucius is more interested in her writer dreams than her looks, so why can’t she stop thinking about that kiss?
From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.
The Talk of the Beau Monde
Three unconventional sisters for three infamous lords
Book 1: The Viscount's Unconventional Lady
Book 2: The Marquess Next Door
Book 3: How Not to Chaperon a Lady
Hope has no patience for men - they have shown themselves to be shallow creatures that can't see above her... assets. When Lucius moves next door, she might finally have found one that can be a friend, and perhaps more.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second book in the series following the Brookes sisters, but can be read as a stand-alone.
Hope Brookes has grown up on the fringe of society. Her parents are a famed painter and an opera singer - even though the Brookes' are in high demand, they are not nobility.
Along with Hope's voluptuous figure, this has made her a target for slimy lords looking for a mistress.
None of them respect her refusals, or think there's more to her than curves. Hope is incredibly intelligent, and finds it tiresome to keep rejecting male attention.
In a bid to avoid her latest suitor, and due to miscommunication with a drunken ally, she ends up having a heated kiss with Lord Duff.
Lucius (Luke) Duff was quite happy with his life in Cornwall, and had no ambitions to be a Marquess. But the death of his estranged half-brother has lumbered him with an estate, title, and wealth.
No great fan of the expectations of the ton, Luke eschews the popular addresses for nobility, and chooses to live in a more modest area.
He couldn't have guessed that he would be neighbours with the fiesty young woman he'd kissed.
He loves how the Brookes family welcome him in with a refreshing normality; and he has the chance to spend more time with Hope, sharing their love of gothic horror.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I love how effortlessly Virginia Heath creates a light-hearted tale, mixing together romance, real issues, and endearing characters.
She tackled some serious topics, some which still feel very relevant today, in how women are judged by appearance, and gender being a hurdle for careers.
I liked the insight into the care of people with mental illnesses, and how it was seen as a family shame. Luke's mother was entirely helpless in what happened to her, and like most women at the time, had no legal voice of her own.
It was really moving reading her story.
Even Luke's unlikeable sister-in-law - I don't condone anything she does, but you can kinda understand why she is driven to secure her station. She is a 30 year old widow with no way of supporting herself - Luke is not legally required to support her; and she would have to compete against debutantes if she had to marry again.
Overall, this was a very entertaining book, and I look forward to Charity's story in the third installment!