Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Series or Standalone: The Mating Habits of Scoundrels #3
Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Goodreads
If My Kind of Earl was the definition of fun, then The Wrong Marquess was the definition of delightful. Vivienne Lorret has written a pitch-perfect romance that hits all the right notes!
Elodie (Ellie) Parrish has known since she was a small child she was going to marry her neighbor, George, the Marquess of Nethersole. The only problem is, he won’t propose. The last person she has her eye on is “London’s Most Elusive Bachelor” Brandon, the Marquess of Hullworth. When Ellie literally runs into Hullworth at a garden party, he’s convinced she is one of the many scheming debutantes in the horde that follows him around trying to catch his attention. They take an instant dislike to each other – she thinks he’s arrogant and he doesn’t trust her motives. However, Ellie strikes up a fast and genuine friendship with Hullworth’s younger sister Meg, and they keep getting thrown together. Despite the mutual declarations of disdain, there is a strong attraction between the two of them and Ellie begins to question if she’s set her eyes on the wrong marquess.
As I said at the start of this review, this book was a pure delight! I truly enjoyed every minute of reading this. The plot is driven by the central romance and Ellie’s conflicted feelings. Luckily, Lorret wrote an amazing romance so the plot never feels like it drags. I was so invested in seeing Brandon and Ellie’s romance unravel and her come to terms with her feelings that I couldn’t put this book down.
The romance in this book is perfect. I definitely got Pride and Prejudice vibes at the beginning. Ellie didn’t care for Brandon one bit, even calling him “Lord Goose” due to the gaggle of gals that followed him around. She finds him arrogant and thinks he has a massive ego. Plus, her devotion to George makes her not interested in him in the slightest. Brandon doesn’t trust her. He’s had his heart broken by a woman who passed him over for a Duke before so he’s definitely a bit cynical toward the start. However, the chemistry between Ellie and Brandon was there from their first interaction. I loved the banter, and the push and pull between them was spot on. There definitely was an instant attraction, but both of them tried so hard to push it down and ignored it. I loved watching them deny their feelings, even though it became clear very early on that Brandon was besotted! I loved that he fell first, but was also in denial about what was happening. Once he does admit his feelings to himself, he does try to sway Ellie to his side. But he doesn’t do it in an underhanded way, which I loved. I truly loved that he focused on being a gentleman and showing Ellie in small ways how he cares for her and has her back, proving a stark contrast to the way George treats her with little care or respect without having to shove it in Ellie’s face. Ellie definitely ends up conflicted in her feelings, but it feels so real – it didn’t feel like a love triangle at all though it technically is.
I also have to say this book has one of the most unexpected settings for a first kiss! Truly did not think I’d ever read a book where the first kiss comes after an elephant escapes at a zoo and the couple ends up secluded on a path. So much fun! This book isn’t the steamiest, but the romantic scenes feel real and tender. The attraction between Ellie and Brandon jumps off the page and I felt like I kept yelling “And kiss!!” at them. Whenever they listened to me, I was very glad.
Outside the main couple and central romance, I have to say that I loved all the secondary characters in this book. Well, maybe I didn’t like George, but he served his purpose. I loved Brandon’s disdain for him and felt I could hear him say George (it’s frequently italicized in the text when Brandon’s mentioning him) whenever Brandon thought or said his name. Brandon also characterizes George as a “man-child” frequently, and it’s the most apt description for him. He felt very much like he had arrested development and I hated that Ellie wasted so many years and so much effort pining for him. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of George, I could appreciate what Lorret was doing with his character.
Meanwhile, on the topic of secondary characters, I did love Brandon’s sister Meg and Ellie’s Aunt Maeve and Myrtle. Can I get a buddy comedy of Aunt Maeve and Aunt Myrtle sneaking into the kitchens to steal recipes everywhere they go, please? Also, I’d love to see Meg get her happily ever after at some point – she’s so perceptive and has a quick wit. I love her subtly playing matchmaker despite Ellie and Brandon not really noticing. We also got to finally see Pru in the flesh (well as much in flesh as you can in a book), and learn who the mysterious man behind her ruination was that set off the whole concept of writing a book about the habits of scoundrels. I cannot wait to dive into her story in the next book! I was very excited for the reveal of who her love interest would be at the end of the book.
I feel like I could go on and on about this book, but I think this review is long enough! I definitely would recommend this series to any historical romance fans. It’s relatively low on the drama, high on the chemistry and a pure joy to read. All the pieces fit perfectly together, from the plot, to the romance, to the characters – you will not be disappointed if you pick this up! Between My Kind of Earl and this book, I’m fully sold on this series. The first book in the series (Lord Holt Takes a Bride) was not my favorite, but if you felt that way as well, don’t write off the rest of the series. I highly recommend picking up the next two!
Thank you to Avon/Netgalley for the ARC. All thoughts, ideas and opinions expressed in this review are my own.