Summary from Amazon:
When James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, offered to help Elizabeth Hotchkiss find herself a husband, he never dreamed that the only candidate he could propose would be himself…
SHE’S TRYING TO FOLLOW THE RULES
When Elizabeth Hotchkiss stumbles upon a most intriguing book, How to Marry a Marquis, in her employer’s library, she’s convinced someone is playing a cruel joke. With three younger siblings to support, she knows she has to marry for money, but who might have guessed how desperate she’s become? A guidebook to seduction might be just the thing she needs—and what harm could there be in taking a little peek?
BUT HE’S MAKING HIS OWN
James Sidwell, the Marquis of Riverdale, has been summoned to rescue his aunt from a blackmailer, a task that requires him to pose as the new estate manager—and he immediately sheds suspicion on his aunt’s companion, Elizabeth. Intrigued by the deliciously alluring young woman with the curious little rulebook, he gallantly offers to help her find herself a husband…by practicing her wiles on him. But when practice becomes all too perfect, James decides there’s only one rule worth following—that Elizabeth marry her marquis.
I’ve have been spending quite a bit of time re-reading some of my favorite comfort reads due to stress. Anyway, one of the books that immediately popped into my mind when I was hunting for comfort reads was Julia Quinn’s How to Marry a Marquis. And it was exactly what I needed.
I’m a big fan of JQ. I’ve read all but two of her books, and loved all but one. This is one of JQ’s earlier novels, and it’s definitely not as polished as her books become. I’m thinking particularly of The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and, of course, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (who doesn’t have a special place in their heart for Penelope). But of all JQ’s books, this is the one I’ve read the most. Quite simply, there is something about How to Marry a Marquis that is the unequivocal comfort read.
The story begins with Elizabeth Hotchkiss, the main character, deciding that the only way she will be able to take care of her three younger siblings (she is their guardian) is to marry. The Hotchkiss family is very low on funds, and although Elizabeth has been trying to make ends meet by working as a companion to Lady Danbury, it’s not enough to support herself and her three siblings. Shortly after reaching this decision, while at Lady Danbury’s house, Elizabeth comes across a guide book titled “How to Marry a Marquis.” At the same time, James (a Marquis – can you guess where this is going?) has been asked by his aunt (Lady Danbury) to disguise himself as her new estate manager to investigate some shady things going on. And from there, things kind of spiral out of control.
One reason I adore this book is because I like Elizabeth and James immensely. You know how in some romances, a character is really annoying (for the conflict)? Well, that is not the case at all with How to Marry a Marquis. Both James and Elizabeth are honorable, responsible, and generally nice people. They are not perfect, and they make mistakes. However, it’s so clear why these two would make a wonderful couple. We aren’t just told by JQ that they belong together, we’re shown by JQ’s wonderful writing and character development.
As much as I adore James and Elizabeth, though, the secondary characters are a major asset to this book. I cannot review this book without talking about Lady Danbury. Such a well-developed, flesh-out secondary character I have ever seen. She loves to voice her opinion, and is comfortable with who she is. She’s actually quite snarky for an early-19th-century lady. I want to be her when I get to be her age. Seriously, I am not adequately describing how wonderful Lady Danbury is.
What I love most about this book is the humor. Julia Quinn excels at witty dialogue, and although she isn’t quite as polished here as she becomes later on in her writing, there is still much to admire about the witty conversations between not only James and Elizabeth, but also between many of the secondary characters. Even the passages from the guide book are hilarious, and so full of character. I don’t know of an author who can fill a book within a book with so much character as well as Julia Quinn.
If you are a fan of historical romance, and you haven’t read Julia Quinn, I’m questioning your sanity right now. You may have read JQ’s famous Bridgerton series (in which case you have met Lady Danbury before!), but I urge you to give How to Marry a Marquis a try. Again it isn’t as polished as her more recent titles, but it’s a perfect book when you are stressing and just want an escape.