Review: How the Marquess Was Won

How the Marquess Was Won
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.

Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.

She’s not afraid to play with fire…

But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy façade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted.

I have so far enjoyed reading the Pennyroyal series, but I found this book disappointing.
Phoebe knows who and what she is but still wishes to be something more.   Despite being grounded she is a romantic carefree spirit with a lot of pride. Her character is delightful and refreshing to the series.
There are many words to describe Julian. He is restrained and precise, an anal retentive perfectionist who ultimately fears not only failure but loss of control over his very ordered world.   He is the trendsetter of the ton,  and because he fears any failure, even social ones,  he is ruled by the trends of his own making and the ton’s perception of him.
But the two don’t work together and Julian and the supporting cast are the reason why.   It was almost painful to watch the couple play out the same dance steps over and over.   Julian and Phoebe have great interaction,  then Lizbeth Redmond walks in,  demands her due and he goes all nutty over the “perfect” gal. It’s done over and over in the book, and drags the book down. The story would have flowed much better if the whole Lizbeth interest was dumped and had Julian fight himself over wanting a mere school teacher. Instead it came across more like a bad high school drama.
And the supporting cast makes it worse.   The characters are catty,  mean spirited brats that I thought I left behind in high school.   While the use of some of these characters can be successful in a novel they need to be balanced out by other nice characters.   That balance is severely lacking here and it makes it hard to like anyone in the book except Phoebe.   Most of the time Julian came across as the gloating worshiped high school jock teasing the quiet unpopular girl instead of her knight in shinning armor.
Even the ending was unsatisfying and childish.   Overall the book felt rather immature for my tastes and not what I expected from this author.   On the other hand Phoebe was an amazing character who deserved a better supporting cast.   What the overall story lacked was made up in the fresh and witty dialogues between Julian and Phoebe and that is what made the story.
I am looking forward to Olivia and Lyons story,  but I think I would rather see Lizbeth in a convent than get her happily ever after.   The author had better make her grovel and but her through some serious life altering events because she is one of those girls who needs her comeuppance and an easy HEA just isn’t right.   Karma should be in play and she,  and the rest of the supporting cast,  deserve it.

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