(This was written using the romance review template I created for my post on Mary Balogh’s A Handful of Gold)
How to Marry a Marquis is a romance of the “you are everything I never knew I always wanted variety”: Boy meets girl. He is the wealthy nephew of a marriage-minded aunt. She is the impoverished companion of said aunt and also responsible for her younger siblings. Boy and girl move forward together secure in their love and commitment.
A historical romance set in rural Regency England and written by Julia Quinn, How to Marry a Marquis is my 15th or 16th book by this author. I generally find her work fun. Quinn is a deft and witty writer who excels at spinning light-hearted romance. I have covered all of the novels in her justly famous Bridgerton series in previous reviews. I found How to Marry a Marquis enjoyable and romantic. I will continue to seek out Quinn’s other novels because this one was really good, and I would recommend this particular effort.
The main plot of How to Marry a Marquis focuses on the reformation of a rake. James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale is that rake. He is urbane, charming, and sincere. He handles challenging situations with humour and aplomb. The heroine, Elizabeth Hotchkiss, is a victim of circumstance. She is also charming, resolute, and hardworking. Elizabeth’s parents have both passed away and she is responsible for the financial well-being of the family. She works for local harridan (and Quinn fan favourite) Lady Danbury to help get by, but her financial situation is worsening. Elizabeth finds an instructional book called How to Marry a Marquis in Lady Danbury’s library and decides to “practice” on the new estate manager, James. What Elizabeth does not know is that James is a family member or his true purpose in the house. They are instantly attracted to each other. Over time, they come to discover that despite any challenges they face, they make an excellent team.
How to Marry a Marquis is one of Julia Quinn’s earlier efforts and it is delightful. I have read just about everything in her oeuvre and as her recent efforts are experiencing a, relatively speaking, fall in quality, it was nice to read something written when Quinn was coming into the phase in which she would produce her best work. I recommend Quinn highly as a gateway author for those looking to give historical romance a try. She is the genre’s best at crafting deceptively simple, sincere, and funny romance.