My Wicked Marquess
Much has been written about the formulaic nature of many historical romances published by Avon and I’m not going to add to the pile ‘o stuff already out there. Still, it is impossible not to make a reference to the publisher when the first Avon novel by Gaelen Foley, an author previously known for her innovative and emotional Regency-set romances, features the following:
Max, the Demon Marquess, is back from saving the world from e-e-e-e-e-e-vil. (See, the Prometheus Bad Guys had their “tentacles” into Napoleon and those around him. Only Really Bad Guys have “tentacles.”) He’s also on a bride quest because he had such a tough childhood training to become a Slayer and all and it’s time to secure the dynasty – or something like that. (Okay, so he’s not officially a Slayer, but the deets sounded familiar.) The adorable Miss Daphne Starling is the last on the list and comes complete with a warning from his solicitor to cross her off because she’s too feisty. (Okay, not really, but she recently became embroiled in “scandal” because she rejected a suitor.)
Max begins stalking her (okay, technically, following) and trails the erstwhile (but only when it’s convenient) do-gooder visiting poor, sad orphans in a bad part of town. He rescues her from attack by pretending to be intoxicated, so she thinks he’s a drunkard – not to even mention that whole “Demon” thing which is really due to his undercover stuff. Only she doesn’t know that.
They finally meet at a ball (there are many ball scenes in Avon romances, in case you hadn’t noticed) and she doesn’t like him and he’s instantly attracted to her. (Though why I wouldn’t know.) And, in the meantime, he’s embroiled in all kinds of secret society meetings with Future Heroes and she remains feisty.
So, he asks her to marry him! No, no, she won’t! She plans to marry her obviously gay friend so she can keep doing good! He persists! Maybe it’s yes after all! Maybe it’s not! And all the while the e-e-e-e-e-e-vil Bad Guys are getting ever more e-e-e-e-e-e-vil!
Okay, so I didn’t like this book. The plotting was inconsistent, especially with regards to Daphne. Sometimes she likes Max and sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s busy being the Bestest Person Ever and sometimes she stomps her feet and treats her stepmother as any spoiled, entitled, jealous brat would. Max is a trademarked Regency Spy hero and in trying to come up with some descriptive characteristics for this review I’m stuck with this: Generic.
Gaelen Foley can do so much better. And she has. All I can say is that I hope she will again.