How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Description: She's trying to follow the rules...When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a copy of How to Marry a Marquis in her employer's library, she's convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she's become? A guidebook to seduction might be just the thing she needs - and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?...
James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager, and his primary suspect is his aunt's companion, Elizabeth, intrigued by the alluring young woman with the curious little rule book, he gallantly offers to help her find a husband...by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides that there is only one rule worth following - that Elizabeth marry her marquis. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I had read this book about 15 years ago and remember enjoying it but that was about it until Quinn over at Quinn's Book Nook mentioned as being one that she especially enjoyed AND that Lady Danbury was one of the primary characters so I had to get my hands on it again!
My Impression: Rereading is always tricky. Sometimes it works and you enjoy the book as much as you did the first time, other times not so much. While I know Quinn is re-readable sometimes older romances can come across as more than a bit dated. There was no need to worry! This one felt just as crisp and witty as it did the first time I read it. Elizabeth is just so nice and logical. She's not opposed to marrying in general but their financial situation has gotten to the point where she must do something and marriage is all that really left. I like that she's realistic, smart, and kind with a good dose of humor. James is another great character. He fully expects to be able to intimidate or sweet talk Elizabeth but she's really not buying either. His loyalty to his aunt is lovely to see and the reasons behind it are heartbreaking and made me love Lady Dabury even more than I already did.
There's a lot of witty banter and a growing friendship which I always enjoy in a romance. There is a Secret but the reasons for it make sense and it didn't set off the ick alarm. There are a few scenes that are quite poignant and kept it from being just a fun romp of a book.
My main negative was that Elizabeth overreacted to the reveal of the Secret. She didn't act childish but it did feel a little out of proportion for her personality.
An added bonus was spending a lot of time with Lady Danbury. Through the years I've seen a lot of her in Quinn's books but it's mostly in short scenes at balls or other gatherings. She's always sharp and she always says what's on her mind and under it all is very obviously a soft heart. It was really nice to spend real time with her after spending just tiny bits of time with her over the years.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, definitely! I feel a reread of The Viscount Who Loved Me happening in the near future!
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes! If you've read Quinn's more recent books this is definitely one you need to go back and read and if you've never read her before I think this is a good introduction.