Surrender to the Marquess

Surrender to the Marquess

Paperback - 2017
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"A battle of wills! When Lady Sara Herriard's husband dies in a duel, she turns her back on the vagaries of the ton. From now on, she will live as she pleases. She won't change for anyone--certainly not for the infuriating Lucian Avery, Marquess of Cannock! Lucian must help his sister recover from a disastrous elopement and reluctantly enlists Lady Sara's help. She couldn't be further from the conventional, obedient wife he's expected to marry, but soon all he craves is for her to surrender--and join him in his bed!"-- Page [4] of cover.
Published: Don Mills, Ontario :, Harlequin Enterprises Limited,, [2017]
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780373299201
0373299206
Branch Call Number: F HAR ALL
Characteristics: 279 pages ;,17 cm.

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FindingJane Mar 10, 2017

Oh, this is one of the good ones. No, this is one of the terrific ones! I had my qualms after seeing the title. “Surrender” suggests an unwilling compliance of a defeated foe to a conqueror. With romantic couples, it implies a woman who knuckles under to a high-handed male. But Mrs. Sara Harcourt, aka Lady Sara Herriford, is no wild lady who needs to be tamed and her lover definitely learns a thing or two at her skillful hands.

Here we have a heroine, brave, cool, shrewd, collected and certain of what she wants. I knew she was going to be something special in the first few opening pages and not once did she disappoint me. She’s no virgin or flustered, annoyed miss such as is often trotted out in these stories. She’s from a foreign country and has been reared to be probing and forthright in her opinions. Having fallen for a man below her social standing but decent, kind, loving and respectful of her mind, she was allowed to marry him with her parents’s blessings.

This is romance in a different vein, one in which the heroine has decidedly unconventional notions on how men and women should relate to each other. She’s been taught to defend herself, with steel if necessary, and has no compunction in showing one opinionated marquess just how capable she is. Having been widowed, she’s also honest about her own sexual desires. When the aforementioned marquess apologizes for exchanging a fiery kiss with her, her baffled response is “Why?”

This isn’t a tale about a willful but silly lass who constantly finds herself in bad situations and needs to be rescued. Lady Sara Herriford is a redoubtable woman, having weathered lavish balls, quiet marriage to a scholar and possesses a keen head for business. (Have I mentioned that the lady is of royal lineage and as beautiful as she is intelligent?) Her would-be paramour is also worth reading, as he slowly and painfully comes to grips with the idea that women aren’t necessarily frail, simpering fools in need of a man’s coddling and strong right arm.

The story is gripping, too, and the novel surprises in various ways. The main story actually revolves around the stubborn, lovelorn and grieving Marguerite, Lucian’s sister. She is certain her missing lover is true and her angry, rage-filled older brother is equally certain that the man is a blackguard and deserves to be killed in a duel. Is the young man an adventurer or not? The man seduced Lucian’s sister and abandoned her…or is something else at work? Men should defend women’s honors—or is it their own honor they’re defending?

Scandal is skirted, tragedy is narrowly averted and, through it all, Sara fiercely holds on to her self-imposed notions of a better world, one in which men shouldn’t kill or hurt each other needlessly over rigid and foolish notions of honor. This idea plays strongly throughout the novel and is a pivotal point in the plotline, actually causing a hitch in the path towards marital bliss.

The course of true love ne’er did run smooth but this novel blazes a trail that is worth every bump in the road. Thank you, Miss Allen.

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