Her Wicked Marquess
by Stacy Reid
This book was powerful, emotional, intriguing and interesting novel with a historical setting. Maryann is a woman constrained by the societal expectations of her time. The endless rules of the aristocracy govern everything about her life. She wants nothing more than to break free of those bonds and live as she pleases, find love, and be able to explore the things and places of the world that interest her. She doesn’t fit in with the typical young women who are her upper-class peers, so she gets looked over as a wallflower. When she finds out that her parents are intending to force her into a marriage with a detestable man more than twice her age, she decides to do anything she can to take matters into her own hands.
Nicolas is a man on a mission to avenge the death of his friend from childhood, a girl who was cruelly assaulted by a group of young noblemen and then threw herself into a river because she couldn’t cope with the terrible trauma. He has cultivated in rakehell persona for himself, and spent years identifying the guilty parties and orchestrating their downfall. Upon his first meeting with Maryann, she fascinates him. As time passes she begins to unwittingly open his heart and mind to feelings and hopes he never had before.
The attack on his childhood friend is mentioned numerous times although it is not described in tremendous detail, so just be aware of that in case it could be a trigger issue for you. I liked both main characters, and his darker moments didn’t bother me because they were well justified. Maryann and Nicolas had excellent chemistry and the passion that develops between them heats up the pages. The ending was a nail-biter and a heartbreaker, but the author does a great job creating a beautiful HEA. The only negative for me was how frequently overheard conversations were used to explain things or move the plot along. But that was really a tiny issue in a very entertaining story.