Monday, December 28, 2020

Review: Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid

Her Wicked Marquess by Stacy Reid
Series: Sinful Wallflowers, Book 2
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Historical Romance 
Her Wicked Marquess cover
ISBN: 9781682815205
Release Date: December 29, 2020
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Entangled
Stacy Reid Reading Order

Miss Maryann Fitzwilliam is too witty and bookish for her own good. No gentleman of the ton will marry her, so her parents arrange for her to wed a man old enough to be her father. But Maryann is ready to use those wits to turn herself into a sinful wallflower.

When the scandal sheet reports a sighting of Nicolas St. Ives, the Marquess of Rothbury, climbing out the chamber windows of a house party, Maryann does the unthinkable. She anonymously claims that the bedchamber belonged to none other than Miss Fitzwilliam, tarnishing her own reputation—and chances of the dastardly union her family secured for her. Now she just needs to convince the marquess to keep his silence.

Turns out Nicolas allows for the scandal to perpetuate for his own reasons… But when Maryann’s parents hold fast to their arranged marriage plan, it’ll take a scandal of epic proportions for these two to get out of this together.

Nicholas St. Ives, Marquess of Rothbury, is a man on a mission. He plays the feckless rake, making his way into the inner circles of those who raped and caused the death of the girl he once loved so that he can exact his revenge. Nicholas has accounted for every contingency…except Maryann Fitzwilliam. The clever and outspoken wallflower seems to be using his name to start a scandal in order to avoid marriage to a horrible man. From the first Maryann and Nicholas are drawn together. But between her unwanted fianc√©’s determination to possess her and Nicholas’s quest for revenge, there’s no way the two of them can be together…is there?

Stacy Reid mixes the dark and the light beautifully in Her Wicked Marquess. Nicholas and Maryann charmed me from the start and that charm never faded. I loved the sparks that flew between them instantaneously. The (seeming) rake and the spirited wallflower? That kind of pairing is catnip to me. What I loved most about their relationship is that Reid gave it space to grow and develop. I adored watching them become friends before they fell in love. Nicholas would never be one to cage Maryann; he encourages her to be who she really is, even though society would turn their noses up at the pair of them if they could. Their secret nighttime encounters brought a smile to my face and I adored their teasing banter. The sexual tension that simmers underneath it all is delicious and I enjoyed watching them lose the battle to resist one another. Nicholas and Maryann see one another for who they really are and Reid crafts their love story so wonderfully that you can feel how good a match they are down to your bones.

There’s no false drama in Maryann and Nicholas’s relationship, which I really appreciated. The obstacles are in the form of Maryann’s detestable suitor and the revenge plot. I won’t say how either plotline plays out but the former made me shudder in parts and the latter broke my heart. Nicholas is caged to the past because he failed someone he loved. Reid makes his need for vengeance and the guilt he carries understandable, which is why him trying to hold himself back even as he falls in love with Maryann is a believable obstacle. Though no depictions of sexual assault are portrayed on the page, they are discussed so I want to provide a trigger warning in case it’s needed. It’s a hard balance to have heavy topics such as this mixed with humor and light, but Reid does both perfectly while giving the more serious storyline the respect it deserves.

Her Wicked Marquess is the second book in the Sinful Wallflowers series but it can easily be read as a standalone. I did enjoy the meetings between Maryann and her friends and found myself particularly intrigued by Ophelia, who I desperately hope is next in line for her happily ever after. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Maryann and Nicholas’s story. Stacy Reid’s love stories always sweep me away and Her Wicked Marquess is no exception.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.