The Marquis She's Been Waiting For
In The Marquis She’s Been Waiting For, Alexander, the new Marquis of Exeter, returns home from his Grand Tour to find his recently widowed mother has just run off with their land steward, leaving his younger sisters in London with their governess. Not only does Alex need to learn his new role, he now has to parent his sisters and prevent a scandal from developing. Of course, he is in need of a wife.
Lady Dorcus Calthrop, daughter of the Marquis of Huntingdon and neighbor of Alex, has been helping to run Alex’s household and guide his sisters’ governess in his absence. But now that he is home, she goes back to her business – finding a husband. To outsiders it appears that Dorie is Alex’s solution and Alex is Dorie’s answer but the lady protests:
Oh, no, no, no, no. I will not be wanted merely to take care of another woman’s children, no matter how sweet they are. Lord Exeter will have to find another lady to marry. Drat. Henrietta was right. I will have to involve myself.
Lady Dorie is also an excellent household and estate manager. She sees Alex struggling (he was taught nothing by his father) and offers to guide him through the process of learning how to manage his estate, all the while keeping her eyes open for a perfect match for Alex. It’s obvious to Alex that Dorie is perfect for him – he’s not looking for a love match, just a help-mate. But smart, practical Dorie, who was trained to be the perfect political hostess, is holding out for romance. She quickly starts throwing Alex in the path of eligible women, but the problem is that the more time Alex spends with Dorie, the more he becomes convinced that she is the right woman for him – and maybe one he could love.
Alex and Dorie are both likeable characters. I especially enjoyed how honorable and kind Alex is. But there are so many strange sub plots and inconsistencies in the novel that I could never just enjoy the story and get lost in the romance. Also all of Dorie’s friends agree that it will be hard to find someone who will want to marry Alex. What? Since when is a good-looking, wealthy young marquis not marriage material? The excuse offered is that no one would want to take on raising the younger sisters (who are clearly delightful), which made no sense to me. There are also a million secondary characters who I ended up not even trying to keep track of. I think I would have followed them better if I had read the other eight books in the series, but alas I have not. And, there are annoying discrepancies like Alex’s horse being called Titan in some chapters and Titus in others and Titian in the book’s acknowledgements. Dorie’s father’s title is even misspelled on the author’s website and once in the book. Editors, where art thou?
There is also a bizarre sub-plot about the governesses. The first was let go after having an affair with a delivery man and then making a speech in the street about women’s rights. The second was the long-lost love interest of a man introduced into the book at the final hour – someone Alex thought had died in Portugal during the war when Alex was there. (What? I thought Alex was in Europe on his Grand Tour.) After introducing a character at the last minute, it turns out that the governess/lost-love interest really wasn’t interested in the wounded soldier after all – there’s a one-sentence resolution to that twist. But the oddest twist of all happens near the end (so I won’t spoil it) and involves Alex’s possibly pregnant mother (we never find out for sure if she is or isn’t) and some gunslinging thugs. Too much last minute drama!
It’s a shame the author felt the need to pad this story with so much unnecessary busy-ness. Alex and Dorie are both well-written, but in the end it felt like they were innocent characters dropped into a stage farce – quick Alex, now you find out that your father was a bigamist and has another family – go. Yep, that happened too. Sadly, I cannot recommend The Marquis She’s Been Waiting For.