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The second Agents of the Crown book features James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, whose spying has been curtailed because a French spy has exposed his identity. So while he has nothing much to do he's called down to his aunt's estate to help her identify a blackmailer. While in disguise as the new estate manager he meets Elizabeth Hotchkiss, companion to his aunt, well-bred but penniless.
Elizabeth has just stumbled on a book in her employer's library called 'How to Marry a Marquis.' Since marriage to someone wealthy seems to be the only way she can support her younger siblings, she gets trapped into trying out the edicts in the book - trying them on the only available male, James.
Bits of this read like a French farce. There are inevitable misunderstandings, but the ending was never in doubt. It's fun and frothy.
This is another well-written, light-hearted novel from Julia Quinn. It is an easy and amusing read, although the plot is not deep or complex. But, there again, that is not necessary in a Regency Romance.
A favourite character of mine, Lady Danbury, is one of the stars of this story. She has called in her nephew, James Sidwell, Marquess of Riverdale, to look into possible case of blackmail. But he is to come incognito as her new farm steward. One of the first of his suspects is Miss Lizzie Hotchkiss, Lady Danbury's companion, as she has plenty of opportunity and also the motive, since she is struggling to keep herself and her three younger siblings on her companion's pay.
I won't go into any further details - read it and find out! But I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the book will go into my growing 'library' of Ms Quinn's novels, which I browse back into from time to time.
For starters I found the romance between the two unconvincing, it just didn't seem genuine & passionate enough for me and it didn't flow very well. It only got interesting towards the end (which is why it lost one star) otherwise, I loved the general plot, it was laugh out loud funny. It was also nice to see characters from the first book - Blake and Caroline - I think I prefer the first book. It's a good read.
I've been looking forward to James' story after falling in love with his character in 'To Catch A Heiress'. I love him and Elizabeth, they are probably her most romantic couple to date. The declarations between the two of them at the end are extremely romantic. I enjoyed the plot as well and it was nice to see Blake and Caroline again from the aforementioned "TCAH" And, having read the Bridgerton's, I already knew and loved Lady Danbury. Nice to see Dunford from "Minx" as well making a cameo appearance.
On reading this again though, one thing occurred. Surely in the 5 years that Elizabeth worked for Lady Danbury, James would have visited his aunt. How did he avoid meeting her?
Julia Quinn does is again with yet another thoroughly enjoyable tale, packed with delightful characters and cracking wit.
I fell in love with James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, when he showed up in 'To Catch An Heiress', so to have him star in his own novel was never going to be anything less than wonderful. Lizzie is an endearingly clumsy heroine who will do anything for her family, and James is just suave, sophisticated and utterly charming - as always.
But what truly makes this tale is Lady Danbury, the dragon of the 'ton', who also happens to have a heart of (grumpy) gold. It's also nice to see the return of Caroline and Blake, being less than helpful - again, as always. But amusing. JQ never fails to make her stories that.
Before the 'Bridgertons' there was this, and I reckon it's every bit as good.
I love the humour in the books contains Lady December, all of Quinn books have a delightful streak in them, this more than others. I dislike too much descriptive sex and that prevented this novel from getting 5 also at times it did meander. However on the whole an enjoyable book.