Author: Grace Callaway
Original Title: M is for Marquess
Release Year: July 2015
Literary Genre: Historical Romance
Setting: England, Regency
Series: 2nd of Heart of Enquiry
Lets split this book in two. First part, I'd give a 4.5 (on 5). It's entertaining, very fast-paced, promising, steamy...I enjoy stories with kids involved, therefore the situation here was very appealing and I was curious to see the developments; I liked the sexual tension, I liked the background between the protagonists and the hero's spy background (despite the combo espionage-HR is not among my favourites) and there is irony, sweetness and a right amount of drama as well, which, if balanced, are always very welcomed in a romance. I was really dragged into the story, I couldn't wait to read the rest. And then I got to the second part, which roughly starts a bit after the half of the novel.
To the second part I'd give a 1 (on 5). It's too slow, too many things involved, it gets slightly boring and confusing, there are too many sub-storylines; the characters from charming and entertaining, in some points, start being a bit grotesque.
There is too much of a "girl/kent power" in the second half ("Kent" is the surname of the heroine and that of the family leading the series), and don't get me wrong, I do like a heroine, and in general female characters, with strong will, but here it comes out a bit too pushed beyond the limit; I had the impression the author tried to characterise the heroine with virtuosisms which I found way too strained, sudden, unrealistic and too reckless for what we saw in the first part of the romance.
Where, at the beginning, I did love the heroine's reaction to the hero's rejection, coldness and indecision, I definitely disliked her opposite attitude towards his harshness, distance and even rudeness, in the second part; she keeps repeating she won't be dominated outside the bedchamber but she comes out exactly that way, she's submissive also outside the bed.
When she actually could have been more compliant with the hero's will (because what she wanted to do could have really been risky), she has this annoying superwoman attitude, and when, on the other hand, she should have shown the eulogised strong character, she sorrowfully accepts his attitude without really taking a position, just waiting for him to understand his own mistakes. I would have adored this romance actions with different reactions.
However overall I can't say the romance is that bad, the first half for sure is good, the characters are great, and that has to be credited. Humbly, I believe that if the story had been kept simpler (and possibly slightly shorter), the come out would have had been strongly better.