Kelly, Vanessa. Mastering the Marquess. (New York: Kensington, 2009). ISBN – 9781420106541.
Main Characters: Meredith Burnley & Stephen Mallory, the Marquess of Silverton
Description from book:
Since the loss of her parents, Meredith Burnley has contented herself with a solitary life looking after her half-sister, Annabel. But Meredith’s peace is shattered when her uncle schemes to marry her off to his son in order to gain her inheritance. Desperate, Meredith has only one choice: to flee with Annabel to their estranged grandparents’ home. But their arrival soon reignites a family scandal – and kindles unexpected romance . . .
Happily reunited with the girls, Annabel’s grandmother resolves to convince her nephew, Stephen Mallory, the Marquess of Silverton to abandon his rakish lifestyle and wed Annabel. Stephen is clearly captivated – but with the wrong sister. Determined to make Meredith his own. Stephen embarks on a seduction that will leave her with no choice but to surrender to his touch . . .
What a fun book to read! Both Stephen and Meredith were very engaging characters. Meredith is a very strong woman who is responsible for her younger sister Annabel. Annabel has a significant fortune which makes both Annabel and Meredith valuable to their unscrupulous relatives. When her aunt tries to force her to marry her cousin Jacob by threatening to put her sister in an asylum, Meredith decides to take her sister and flee to London. She attempts to beg for help from Annabel’s grandparents, the general and Lady Stanton. The general is unwilling to help. He is still bitter from the scandal his daughter caused by eloping with a lowly mill operator. However, Lady Stanton cannot send her granddaughter, or Meredith, away. She moves the two into their own home in London and plots to get her nephew Stephen Mallory to marry Annabel.
However, from their first meeting, Meredith and Stephen only have eyes for each other. The biggest stumbling block? Meredith’s low-birth. And, this is definitely an issue throughout the story. Members of the ton are cruel to her. She does not get a voucher to Almacks. And, Stephen’s mother is determined that her son not end up someone of Meredith’s social station. Even Lady Stanton, at first, hopes for Stephen to become Annabel’s husband. Regardless of peer pressures, Stephen and Mallory fall in love – beautifully.
I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. I also enjoyed the secondary storyline involving Annabel and Robert’s courtship. There was a hilarious scene where Annabel gets Robert to try his hand at milking a cow. Funny, funny stuff!! This is one of my favorite books from a debut author – well, well worth the read.
Read first May 20, 2009