Genre: historical romance.
After eight years of waiting for Piers Brandon, the wandering Marquess of Granville, to set a wedding date, Clio Whitmore has had enough. She’s inherited a castle, scraped together some pride, and made plans to break her engagement.
Not if Rafe Brandon can help it. A ruthless prizefighter and notorious rake, Rafe is determined that Clio will marry his brother—even if he has to plan the dratted wedding himself. (Goodreads)
My rating: 3.5/5.
Well, it feels like I’ve been reading nothing but romance lately. But so it is. Tessa Dare is one of my favourite historical romance authors and I liked Say Yes to the Marquess quite a lot, but it’s not my favourite Tessa Dare novel. That title still goes to A Week to be Wicked. I dare you to try that one if you’re new to Dare! *snort*
Say Yes to the Marquess begins with our heroine, Clio, trying to break off her engagement to Piers, the Marquess from the title, by trying to convince Rafe, Piers’s brother, to sign the dissolution papers, because Piers is absent from the country. Rafe – a boxing champion – declines and decides he will make her reconsider her decision and tries to plan her wedding.
But what seemed to be a good plan at the time turns out to be impossible once they are residing under one roof – in Clio’s new (er, old) castle, which was left to her by a late uncle. Clio has no intention of waiting another day for Piers to show up (they’ve been engaged for eight years and she’s become the joke of the ton) and marry her and intends to build a brewery on her estate instead. She also much prefers Rafe to his older brother – they were childhood friends and what used to be a crush quickly develops into a different kind of attraction.
Rafe has always been jealous of his brother, who got all of their father’s attention and the girl he wanted for himself. But he’s also very loyal and would rather eat nails than let his brother’s fiance cry off on his watch. Voila, one conflict.
I like that Tessa Dare writes heroines who are actually very modern for their era. That’s not always the case in historical romance (there are exceptions, of course). I like that she writes about problems that haven’t really changed in two hundred years – which is horrible, if you think about it: He was a man; he had no idea. Ladies were encouraged to produce all manner of things – beauty, dinner, and children, most commonly. But those productions must appear to be effortless. Drawn from feminine mystery and ether.
I also like that her characters go beyond the simple lust and idealized romantic love and rather fall for each other in a deeper way that sounds much more real, at least to me. It’s not always easy, but it’s always worth it: “I’ll tell you who you are, Rafe. Anytime you find yourself in doubt. And I won’t even leave you bleeding.” – He glanced at the horizon. “Not outwardly, perhaps. There are places inside me you’re beating to a pulp.” – “Good.” It was only fair. He was cutting her heart to ribbons, too.
I find it slightly distasteful, however, that Clio’s choice is one between two brothers. Couldn’t it have been distant cousins? Or old friends? Gah. But that’s a personal preference, so it might not bother anyone else.
Overall, my verdict is this: go read other books by Tessa Dare and when you feel like you want one more, this will be perfectly fine.
Have you read any books by Tessa Dare? Which are your favourites?
Does it bother you when family members are involved?