Say Yes to the Marquess
I trust Tessa Dare enough that she has made it onto my auto-buy list. While I do keep tabs on many authors, eagerly awaiting news of their new books, there are very few authors whose books I buy immediately without question. I’m hesitant now to take a leap of faith and trust that someone can make a good book out of even the most tedious plot. With Say Yes to the Marquess, Ms. Dare again proved that there is a reason I continue buying her books.
Clio Whitmore has been engaged to Piers Brandon, the Marquess of Granville, for eight long years. She’s seen her fiancé on only a handful of occasions during this time, as he has been working as a diplomat in India. Clio was once content to sit and wait for him, but in the past year or so her circumstances have changed. She has inherited a castle and begun to take a good look at herself, realizing that she does not need to be married to Piers in order to have a successful life. To that end, she has had her solicitor draw up papers dissolving the engagement. The only remaining barrier between Clio and a life of independence is Rafe Brandon’s signature, Rafe being Piers’ younger brother and acting marquess at present.
Rafe, who happens to have been…well, if not love, then certainly in lust with Clio for some time, has no intention of signing her papers. He already feels guilty for desiring his brother’s fiancée and for letting their father die on his watch—he does not intend to lose Piers his fiancée as well. While Rafe definitely doesn’t enjoy the burden of the marquessate (as a prizefighter he would much rather be in the ring than behind a desk), he feels he owes it to his brother to keep everything running smoothly. So when Clio runs off to her new castle, Rafe decides to follow her and persuade her to stay engaged. And what better way to this than to dazzle Clio with visions of a beautiful wedding? Piers is due home soon, and he is finally ready to man up and marry the girl. Rafe is certain that all the bride needs is a little time spent thinking about dresses, flowers, and cakes in order to bring her around.
Not so! Clio remains steadfast in her decision to end her engagement, and as she tries to convince Rafe, she starts to realize that there is another option, aside from being an old maid or marrying Piers. In other words, she starts to fall for Rafe.
There were quite a few things that I loved about this book. Clio and Rafe felt very natural together—they had a banter, they got to know each other very well, and most importantly, they stayed realistic throughout their relationship. It’s a strange an difficult situation that they’re in: on the one hand Rafe is stealing his brother’s fiancée, but on the other hand Clio has been neglected for so long that Piers’ claim is tenuous at best. Although Clio and Rafe are certainly tempted to simply run off together, they end up handling the whole issue rather well.
I also found the parade of wedding supplies (facilitated by Rafe’s trainer, Bruiser) rather funny. It reminded me very much of some of the shows on television now, such as Say Yes to the Dress, only Clio refused to be swayed by any of the fripperies. The secondary characters, too, such as Bruiser and Clio’s two sisters were well developed and definitely added something to the story.
Overall, I will say that I enjoyed Say Yes to the Marquess tremendously. While there were a few moments that bothered me, such as the return of Piers, on the whole I found it charming and rather funny. The only reason I cannot quite consider it a DIK is that I’m not ready to reread it, which is my general requirement for something to be given a mark in the A range. If there were such a grade as a B++ I would award it to this book, but as things stand I am happy to say that it has cemented my belief in Ms. Dare’s skill as an author.