Aug 2 2006
Dear Ms Bassett (aka Elizabeth and Julia Bass),
The opening of “My Favorite Marquess” reminded me a lot of Laura Kinsale’s “My Sweet Folly.” Thank God your book stayed pretty good while that one ended up as a bit of a mess. Violet and Sebastian are two fantastic characters and the rest of the crew in this Regency Historical aren’t far behind.
I just knew when Violet headed off into the wilds of Cornwall to inspect the property she had wrested from the hands of her haughty ex-inlaws, that it would turn out to be far worse than anything she had anticipated after she refused to sell it to the equally haughty Marquess St. Just. I also knew that he would end up making her life hell while he tried to 1) get his hands on the seaside property in order to operate his spy ring and 2) check her out to make sure *she* wasn’t a spy for France.
Violet is funny, intelligent and a little bit vulnerable as the daughter of a merchant who’s married up in the world. I like that she manages to hold her own in the world without turning into a 21st century woman aping Jane Austen. She also doesn’t fall into Sebastian’s arms once his marriage proposal crosses his lips but instead holds out for what she wants. I was a bit puzzled that she could have gone almost immediately from the clutches of a man trying to assault her straight into Sebastian’s arms for the only consummation scene of the book. And I was also disappointed that there weren’t more scenes of intimacy, sexual or not.
Sebastian was delightful in his glee at riling Violet and putting her nose out of joint. All done with perfect and excruciating correctness. His dismay when he realized he was his own rival was priceless. I also admire a man who’s smart enough to use vegetation to get what he wants. Another thing that I liked was that even though Sebastian initially has decided never to marry because of his parent’s bad marriage and the fact that he has plenty of cousins to inherit, he didn’t chuck the blame at any one parent or swear off all women because his mother was a cold ice bitch.
Where I had problems was the spy plot. It was fairly weak and seemed a bit lackluster. I also had a pretty good idea of the master spy’s identity early on. But as it seemed to only be an excuse for the rest of the story rather than a primary plot point, I wasn’t too upset.
Witty, snappy dialogue plus two engaging lead characters leads me to give this one a B.