Date published: January 31, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address: Gina Ginalrmreviews@gmail.com
Returned from doing battle against Napoleon, specifically after serving the crown at Waterloo and protecting Wellington, Max, the Marquess of Rotherstone is able to turn his attention to his future. Along with his friends, compatriots of the Order of St. Michael, Max believes they have won the centuries old battle to defeat evil. First on Max’s list of things to do is to find himself a bride. Tackling the issue of a wife the same as he would any battle plan Max has a list of likely candidates prepared and settles on one Daphne Starling. Despite the caveat that she may be troublesome, Max seeks her out and initially finds her delivering goods to an orphanage. Before Daphne can complete her task she is attacked and Max proceeds to help the woman he intends to wed to escape. But Max isn’t quite prepared for Daphne’s reaction.
Daphne is no one’s fool. She has been labelled a jilt for rejecting three suitors. The men were not ones that would have gone along with her plans for the orphanage or the life she wishes to lead. She has a definite idea of what, and who, she wants and that is her long time friend Jonathan. Instead, when she is accosted outside the orphanage she sees Max come under attack and rushes to send the constable to help him. No one is more surprised than Daphne when Max turns up at a ball not long after.
Max’s life in the Order has kept him from society and in many ways he is treated as an unaccepted rake and libertine. He needs a wife to gain entry into that same society. When he once again protects Daphne and her honor he finds himself as a loss and moves to depart the event. Daphne catches up with him before he leaves and their attraction begins to become a tangible thing. Max begins an earnest pursuit of Daphne. He takes her to his home, showers her with gifts and speaks to her father about their union. Daphne is having none of the good looking, seemingly kind and caring man. Despite what becomes an array of good deeds she continues to hold herself apart from him. Despite her best efforts, there is something about Max she cannot help but feel herself drawn to.
But evil lurks behind each corner. Can Max convince Daphne of his feelings and that they belong together before he can vanquish those who threaten the crown?
MY WICKED MARQUES is my first Gaelen Foley book and I found myself conflicted about the story. It felt like Ms. Foley began the book at one point, put it down and picked it up again sometime later and rather than read back what she had written, continued on. There was a lack of continuity between the characters as I first met them and how they ultimately ended up.
The story line was intriguing to me: a secret order, founded at the time of the crusades battles against another clandestine alliance. One wants to pursue a free world; the other world domination. Set against the backdrop of Napoleon’s bid to own the world the possibilities seemed endless—even with descendants in the future continuing the battle.
The idea of an Inferno club of ne’er do wells who are actually forerunners of James Bond seemed enticing. The book began strongly. In the beginning I liked Daphne as a strong, caring woman who, despite being a product of her times was more than an ornament. Likewise, I liked Max. He was entertaining with his list of possible brides and his pursuit of them—or at least Daphne. Their first “meeting” when he stumbles, quite literally to her rescue, was entertaining and unique.
But at some point, around the time Drake’s secret is hinted at, the story changed. As Max continued his relentless pursuit of Daphne he began to seem more and more like a stalker and she lost all that made her unique. In the beginning she seemed like a self-possessed and intelligent woman of her time. As Max became more a part of her life, she seemed to become increasingly immature. By the end of the book they struck me more as teenagers than mature adults.
The heavy Christian beliefs portrayed toward the end seemed almost misplaced. It was a tad off putting. Certain modern day words, such as “daddy” seemed out of place in a historical romance and terms such as “Coast Guard” could have easily been researched—it was not a British agency at the time of the book.
That said, Ms. Foley does have an entertaining writing voice and I will continue to read the series as I want to find out just what happened to Drake and see how Max’s friends fare with their own bride searches.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.