Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Marrying the Duke
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (October 25, 2016)
Author's Website: http://www.cathymaxwell.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am also an Avon Addict which means I love the books that Avon publishes enough to volunteer to read as many ARCs and books as they can send my way. So you'll be seeing a lot of books reviewed by me from this publisher. Please note, however, that if I don't like a book, it will be truthfully reflected by a low rating.
Gavin Whitridge, Duke of Baynton, would be described by most as a stickler for etiquette or, to put it bluntly, a stick in the mud. Attending the Naughty Review is totally out of character for him, but his concern for his friend, overrode his sense of respectability, Over the years he's done everything in his power to help his friend out of financial difficulties even going so far as to help him get elected to a position that would increase both his wealth and prestige. Rumor has it that Rov is once again on the brink of ruin with his latest set of wagers all centering around the woman whom they call the Siren. This latest fiasco by Rov will put their friendship to the ultimate test, and it's not likely to survive. For as Gavin watches the performance, he realizes the voice of the Siren is one he actually knows, and stopping his friend from going down a reckless path will become more dire than ever.
Ms. Maxwell turned the tables in this one by giving Gavin the role that is most often reserved by the female lead--the jilted bridegroom. Being jilted not once, but twice, has made those who'd otherwise seek out a match with him think twice, and his ego has taken a beating. Tired of always doing the right thing, he's decided to take a walk on the wild side and he sees Sarah as just the person to take that walk with. He believes making the most sought after woman in London his mistress will kill two birds with one stone. She'll have someone to protect her from men like Rov, and he'll save face while gaining a bad boy reputation which will make him more appealing. Ms. Sarah Pettijohn, however, is nothing like he expects. In fact, she's not like any woman he's ever met.
I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was fun, whimsical, charming, and oh so romantic. There was a scene at the end that was swoon worthy. *sigh* I also enjoyed the commentary at the end of the book in the the Author's Note section where Ms. Maxwell listed a couple of examples of unconventional marriages between members of the ton and women who worked on the stage. I always wondered if such matches had ever taken place and it was fun knowing that they had. I love it when an author goes the extra mile and adds some interesting historical facts. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public.