Saturday, January 2, 2016

ARC Review: Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan

Once Upon a Marquess (The Worth Saga #1)
From the blurb:

The last man Judith Worth wants to see again is Christian Trent, the Marquess of Ashford—the man who spent summers at her family home, who kissed her one magical night…and then heartlessly ruined her father. But when a tricky business matter arises, he’s the only one she can ask for help. With any luck, he’ll engage a servant to take care of the matter, and she won’t even have to talk with him.

But Ashford has never forgotten Judith. He knows she will never forgive him for what he’s done, but when offered the chance to assist her, he arrives in person. His memory of Judith may have haunted him, but it pales in comparison to the reality of the vivacious, beautiful woman he rediscovers. Throughout his life, he has always done what is correct. But now, he finds himself doing something utterly wrong…falling in love with the one woman he can never have.

Heather's rating:

I'm a tough critic when it comes to historical romance, but Courtney Milan always delivers. I'm serious. Always. Her latest book begins a new series, The Worth Saga, which follows a family who have been ruined by a scandal. It is typical Courtney Milan stuff, and by that I mean a very high quality, slow-burn romance, an intelligent, independent female MC, and a host of multidimensional and interesting characters.

This is a second-chance romance, which sometimes is tricky for me. I tend to like my characters to meet each other during the course of the story, and when characters already know each other, sometimes I feel like the authors can get lazy and insinuate intimacy without having to write it into the plot-line. However, Courtney Milan cut no corners with this one. There is a lot of uncomfortable history between Judith and Christian, and they have to work their way into each other's trust again. I loved the dynamic between Judith and Christian. When their guards are down, they have a relationship built on humor and silly debates, and their banter was really enjoyable to read.

If I had to pick a favorite MC, Christian would easily win. I really loved the depth of his character. He would probably be diagnosed with mild OCD today, or social anxiety, but Christian was even more complex than what meets the eye. I liked everything about how Courtney Milan imagined him, and even more as the book went on.

Judith was a strong, resourceful character, even if I didn't connect with her quite as much. I loved how passionate she was about her family, and how she pulled herself up from nothing to try to take care of her eccentric siblings. I was a little confused at how easily she reached out to Christian for help, even with the animosity between them, and the separation between her and Camilla, but it mattered less and less as the book went on. Courtney Milan's awesome writing swept me away in the story, and the details became less important.

This book doesn't end on a cliffhanger (we get a HEA, folks), but it does end on a dramatic note that leads into the next story in the series. I, for one, can barely wait.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

 Catch ya later!

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