The Wild Marquis, by Miranda Neville

>> Sunday, April 29, 2012

TITLE: The Wild Marquis
AUTHOR: Miranda Neville

PAGES: 384

SETTING: Early 19th century England
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: First in the Burgundy Club series

The Marquis of Chase is not a reputable man. He is notorious for his wretched morals and is never received in respectable houses. The ladies of the ton would never allow him in their drawing rooms... though they were more than willing to welcome him into their bedchambers. Ejected from his father's house at the age of sixteen, he now lives a life of wanton pleasure. So what could the Marquis of Chase possibly want with Juliana Merton, a lovely, perfectly upstanding shopkeeper with a mysterious past?

A moment's indiscretion?

A night's passion?

Or a lifetime of love?

Even the wildest rakes have their weaknesses...
I've heard really great things about the later books in Miranda Neville's Burgundy Club quartet. Advice on twitter about whether I needed to read it in order was mixed, so I decided to play it safe and start right at the beginning.

Cain, the Marquis of Chase, is not the type of man Juliana Merton often meets. He's got a scandalous reputation and has never been known to be interested in books. So it's a surprise when he shows up in the Juliana's bookshop, which she has been running since the death of her husband.

A reknowned book collector has died recently, and his entire, massive collection is going under the hammer to pay off his debts (book collecting is an expensive, addictive past-time, something Neville shows beautifully here). Cain wants a particular volume, which used to belong to his father, and ends up hiring Juliana to advise him. Juliana is doubtful at first, but the opportunity to get her foot in the door and become someone in the very male-dominated field of book collecting, is too good to pass up.

This was, I'm afraid, distinctly average. Not the book stuff, that was great. Neville clearly knows what's she's talking about when she writes about book collecting, and I loved the glimpse into that world. But other than that, which lifted the grade a bit, it was nothing special.

The romance didn't particularly interest me. I never got the feeling that there was real chemistry there, and especially, didn't buy Cain's attraction to Juliana, who came off as quite tedious. I never got the feeling things were progressing organically, either. Time for a sex scene? They fall into bed, even though Juliana hasn't had the best experience of sex. Do we need conflict? Have Juliana say something really hurtful and completely out-of-character. That sort of thing.

There's a lot of stuff going on, as both Juliana and Cain have secrets and mysteries in their pasts which they have kept suppressed for years. Unfortunately, I wasn't intrigued by those, either. Cain's, especially, puzzled me, because it seemed like he'd just let stuff go that should not have been too difficult to defend himself against.

So, meh. I'll give Neville another chance, though, because I liked the writing well enough and the next books in the series look interesting.



msaggie,  30 April 2012 at 11:58  

Rosario, I read all the Miranda Neville books recently, and would have to say that The Wild Marquis is the weakest of them all. Luckily it was the last one I read of the quartet - I think if I had started with this one, I would not have given this author another try. My favourites are The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton and Confessions from an Arranged Marriage. You don't really need to read them in order!

Rosario 30 April 2012 at 20:32  

msaggie: I had conflicting recommendations about whether I should read in order or not, but all agreed the last 3 are better. I'll definitely be reading those!

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