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Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: More of Less a Marchioness by Anna Bradley

I just love Anna Bradley's books, they're always fun and terribly romantic.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Release Date: February 6, 2018

For the sake of propriety, and her younger sisters’ reputations, Iris Somerset has kept her rebellious streak locked away. But though she receives a proposal from Phineas Knight, Lord of Huntington, Iris can’t marry a man she knows isn’t truly enamored with her. In fact, Iris no longer wants to be chosen—she wants to choose. Under the clandestine tutelage of “wicked widow” Lady Annabel Tallant, she’ll learn how to steer her own marriage prospects—and discover her secret appetites . . .

What kind of debutante refuses a marquess? Finn is surprised, a little chastened—and thoroughly intrigued. This new, independent version of Iris is far more alluring than the polished socialite she used to be. Finn believed he needed a safe, quiet wife to curb his wilder impulses. But the more Iris surprises him, the more impossible it becomes to resist their deepest desires . . .

What’s it About? Rebellious Iris Somerset has locked away her real personality for the sake of her younger sisters’ reputations and as a result she becomes engaged to society’s most respectable man, Phineas Knight, Lord Huntington. At least on the surface, Finn is a respectable man which is why he is convinced he needs a safe, respectable wife. He thought he had found it in Iris until she suddenly breaks off their engagement because she refuses to marry a man who doesn’t love her. As Iris starts to reveal her real personality, Finn becomes intrigued and can’t help but want to know the real Iris, except she’s gone off to the country to stay with family. Since their broken engagement has yet to reach anyone else’s ears, Finn follows her, determined to figure out why the real Iris is much more interesting than the Iris he was engaged to.

Overall reaction to the story? More or Less a Marchioness was a lot of fun, not surprising since I’ve enjoyed all of Anna Bradley’s books thus far but Iris and Finn were special. Theirs wasn't an immediate connection but that's what made this book so much fun. I loved the way their romance played out and how they both had to change in order for it to be believable. It was fun and endearing from beginning to end, and I can't wait to see what is in store for the remaining Somerset sisters.

Describe the hero in five words: Stodgy. Respectable. Loyal. Protective. Caring.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Finn is so stuffy at the beginning, every inch the pompous aristocrat you’d expect him to be and at first I wasn’t so sure he was going to be anything else but after Iris ditches him it’s like he comes to life. He wasn’t pompous but reserved and a bit shy when it came to conversations with people he didn’t know very well. Sure, he had a more than healthy ego on him for most of the story; he honestly didn’t know why Iris would refuse to marry him, much less pass on the chance to become a marchioness! What I really liked about Finn though was the small part of him that was almost like a child. His childhood was so different from Iris and her sisters and as he got to know Iris more, it was like he became more vulnerable to his own feelings of neglect and emotional isolation. I was surprised at how much his vulnerability made him a character that a reader would want to protect, and of course, a great guy for Iris to fall for. After some self discovery of course.

Describe the heroine in five words: Stubborn. Vulnerable. Clever. Caring. Snarky.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Iris had me worried in the beginning because she was so compliant with what society wanted from her but then she broke off her engagement and became so much more interesting. Iris wasn't always 100% sure of what she was doing or what she wanted but she did know what she didn't want and that was more than enough to have her standing her ground. To me Iris was still discovering who she was as a young woman and I liked that she made mistakes while she grew as a character. Those imperfections made me like her even more. She didn't let Finn bully her but she wasn't cruel to him, just brutally honest sometimes which I liked a lot. She was a grown woman but still retained a bit of a child like enthusiasm for the simple things in life that was part of her appeal.

Let’s talk about the romance: There wasn't any kind of heat or attraction between Finn and Iris when they were engaged and that had me thinking that there was no way these two could be compatible but once again Anna Bradley proved me wrong. With Iris' change in demeanor she was suddenly a match for Finn but by the time he realized it she was telling him that she wasn't going to marry him after all. Finn's need to figure out where things went wrong lead him to follow Iris and that's really when the sparks started to fly. Since New Iris wasn't afraid to speak her mind, she would challenge him with her opinions and that interested Finn. I loved how the tension between them escalated into a very fiery attraction but also lead to some revealing and vulnerable moments between them. It wasn't just Iris that had a self revelation moment, Finn had his too and they both changed from the characters they were in the beginning to better versions of themselves at the end.

How about that supporting cast? The Somerset sisters are an interesting group, they each have distinctive personalities and I am super interested in Violet and Hyacinth. Violet seems to be even more direct than Iris and definitely more stubborn.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Finn and Iris' romance is a bumpy one but not only is it worth the journey, both characters grow a lot in the process.

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