You Can't Always Get the Marquess You Want
Ah, the age old family feud! It’s such a great way to add drama to a romance, just look at Romeo and Juliet, or Pyramus and Thisbe. You Can’t Always Get the Marquess You Want takes the enemies-to-lovers trope to a new level. Unfortunately, while the “lovers” part was great, the “enemies” plot didn’t really work for me.
First we meet Mathias Rooke, also known as Chance, also known as Marquess of Fairlamb, in the middle of a brawl with Oliver Brant, Earl of Marcroft. Chance and Oliver despise one another, as is their duty to their families. The Rookes and the Brants not only take pains to avoid each other in society (forcing their peers to do so as well), but the feud, starting with their parents, doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. But then Chance meets Tempest Brant, Oliver’s sister, and all thoughts of the feud die. Chance and Tempest first try to avoid one another, but avoidance quickly turns to sly glances, which then morphs into slipping away, secret notes and rendezvous.
The thing is, the families have good reason to hate each other, and to keep the two apart. And even when Chance and Tempest do their best to stay together, and mend the rift, the past keeps intruding. But in the meantime, they do have some lovely stolen moments!
I feel like the secret seduction was the most interesting part of the book. The thing is, though, at first, I wasn’t sure of Chance’s motivations. I mean, yeah, he thought Tempest was gorgeous, but after he found out about her family, he basically made a 180, and was snarky and sarcastic with her. And even when he couldn’t stop thinking about her, and wanting to protect her, he still was pretty mean. And she wasn’t a heck of a lot better, honestly.
Once they actually started to really court, even if it was still in secret, their romance was really lovely. I totally buy the chemistry between them, and I definitely enjoyed their verbal sparring. They are both sweet and passionate together, and I was definitely rooting for them.
Unfortunately, I also felt like the story was a little slow to begin with. It picked up once I got a bit further in, but I wasn’t terribly interested in Chance’s brawling, or his visit with his friends to his parents’ estate. And then once he and Tempest meet, it still takes a while to actually get things moving. It isn’t until after Tempest is threatened by a strange man at the theater, where she and her sister have been abandoned by her brother in his quest to woo an actres whom Chance was originally trying to sleep with, that the story really picks up.
And a lot of the plot is like that – layered and complicated to the point where just thinking about it is tiring. A lot of the strands of story are so far apart that you forget about the original problem by the time you get to the answer. For example, Chance’s parents react strongly to Chance saying he was going to stay in their old townhouse, and set up his own household. We overhear a bit of conversation between the parents, and we know that the mother has terrible associations with the place, but it takes literally the rest of the book to sort out the answer. And it’s kinda roughly handled when we get to the end. Apparently, it’s an explanation of things that took place in the first book, but it definitely leaves the reader uncomfortable with the otherwise happy ending. The whole thing comes across as heavy-handed, and even with the epilogue of “look how happy they are together!” I was not okay with how the reason behind the feud was treated.
Overall, though, it was a fun enough read. It wasn’t perfect, but I’m not a huge Romeo/Juliet fan. Both Chance and Tempest read as very young to me, and they both tended to jump to conclusions about the other, about families, about the truth. At 22 years old, and both with younger siblings, I expected them to be more mature. I did really enjoy the chemistry between the two – the unresolved sexual tension is pretty awesome.